30 Dec 2010
Folie à Deux, French for shared fantasies; I can think of a few shared fantasies I’d like to have, but they may be a little more than PG-13 for this blog. Folie à Deux is an Oakville California winery focused on creating wines that deliver a memorable shared experience. Many know Folie à Deux from their racier little sister label, Ménage à Trois (lower cost red and white blends). The Folie à Deux label offers varietal focused wines at a good price point.
- The Stuff: 100% Chardonnay from Napa Valley vineyards in Oak Knoll, Oakville, and Atlas Peak. 6 months on 65% new French and American oak. ½ the juice was fermented in stainless steel and ½ in small oak barrels. 14.2% ABV; 25,000 cases made.
- The Swirl: In the glass the wine presents a muted golden color.
- The Sniff: The Chardonnay features typical chardonnay characteristics of apple juice and buttered toast. Not a lot dynamic aromas here, but still very nice.
- The Sip: I really enjoyed the flavor profile on this wine. More is happening on the palate than on the nose. A soft apple flavor gives way to a gentle coconut and almond. There are also interwoven characteristics of citrus fruit. The finish provides a slightly disjointed burnt flavor and the acidity seems relatively mild.
- The Score: At $18 retail (typically $15 in stores), a lot of people will enjoy this wine. The flavor characteristics are typical of what chardonnay lovers enjoy. For me, I was mostly pleased with the structure but didn’t care for the finish of the wine. 3/5
Cellar Tracker score of 87 points with 2 reviews
- The Stuff: 86% Napa Valley Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7 months of barrel aging in a combination of American and French oak; 14.5% ABV, 7,750 cases made
- The Swirl: A thin plum color defines the center of the wine but the edges are slightly watery.
- The Sniff: Pleasantly surprised by the pop of aroma on this Merlot. Very easily distinguishable as a smooth cherry and cocoa merlot. A nice hint of spice rounds out the nose.
- The Sip: The Folie a Duex Merlot has a soft initial attach but then opens up to a touch of sweet cherry on the mid palate. Good layers of flavor that evolve from cocoa to coffee and then a hint of spice on the finish. This is an easy drinking flavorful wine. The high alcohol slightly burns on the finish. At just $18 retail this is a great buy! 3+/5
Cellar Tracker score of 85 points with 2 reviews
- The Stuff: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Syrah from Napa Valley vineyards. After fermentation the wine spent an additional 14 days on the skins (extended maceration) before being aged for 15 months in a combination of French and American oak; 14% ABV, 20,500 cases produced.
- The Swirl: In the glass the wine has an inky core with a cloudy plum color around the edges.
- The Sniff: Very muted nose with hints of dried plums and a very mellow cigar box aroma.
- The Sip: I expected more from this wine and maybe I am being too harsh on it but the aroma and flavor profile doesn’t seem overly complex. The wine offers a good initial flavor of plums but to me that’s all the wine has. The tannins are very well integrated making this a drink now, drink often wine.
- The Score: At $24 retail, I’m not too hot on this wine. Give it a go at the tasting room or sample a glass before committing to several bottles. For the money there are more interesting options for affordable Cabernet Sauvignon. 3/5
28 Dec 2010
Have you ever used Groupon? Today is the day you should start! If you are a wine lover and live in the Spokane / Coeur d’Alene area, skipping today’s sipping treat means a whole year of lost savings, or should I say lost sipping!
Here is How It Works
A Club Nectar membership is an entire year of wine savings. The more you and your friends love wine, the more your membership keeps giving. Club Nectar members receive the following:
$1 Off All Glass Pours
- Every time you come in you’ll receive $1 off your “by the glass” purchases. We don’t over inflate our prices either. You’re not paying $8 a glass for Sutter Homes White Zin. We have glass pours ranging from $4 – $14 (with most being $5-$7)
Complimentary Tasting Bar Flights
- Every weekend we select five wines to be featured at the tasting bar. Visitors can experience these wines for just $5. Club Nectar members take the flight for free. We don’t even charge for your baggage! Come in 52 weekends of the year and you could save over $250!
10% Off All Bottle Purchases
- We all could save a little coin now and then. Most places make you buy 6 or more to start saving on wine. Buy today’s GROUPON and you’ll be saving on every bottle you purchase whether you stay and enjoy it or take it home. Buy more wine, save more $$.
15% Off All Case Purchases
- Find a wine you love or maybe you just have a big weekend planned? Buy in bulk of 12 bottles or more and save a total of 15%. Cha-ching!
½ Price Entry to “The Final Sip”
- Every Saturday night you can join our after-hours sample party for just $5 (regularly $10). The wine we opened over the weekend won’t keep till the next time we’re open, so you’re invited to save it from being dumped down the drain. Visitors will get access to all the bottles that are still open, with a sample of between 6-8 wines. This is a great way to wrap up the weekend and experience some new juice.
Invitation to Special Events and Release Parties
- Everyone wants to be cool. Now, you can be part of the club. Receive exclusive invitations to preview new wines, have dinner with the wine makers, or get invited to the party.
Regular price for Club Nectar is $75 per year. YOU can enjoy a year of ‘wine-ing’ at Spokane’s newest wine spot for just $35. What are you waiting for?
We Need Your Help
If you haven’t already clicked over to the GROUPON page to scoop up this amazing deal, we could use your help with two things!
- Join the club! We would love to see you all year long
- Spread the word! Share this post on Facebook and Twitter to let all your wine loving friends in on this great deal
For those having trouble with the math, let me give you an example of how quickly you can save…
|Regular Winos||Cool Club Nectar Cats|
|Visit 5 times and enjoy a glass of wine||$25||$20|
|Visit 5 times for a tasting bar flight||$25||Complimentary|
|Buy wine for Mother’s day dinner (2 bottles)||$50||$45|
|Big party, buy a case of wine||$240||$210|
|Stop by for the final sip a few times in a year||$30||$15|
|Buy wine on the way home for romantic evening||$30||$27|
Total Savings of $83
As you can see, it didn’t take long to save with Club Nectar. All this person bought was 15 bottles of wine and they stopped by a few times during the year to enjoy life with friends!
27 Dec 2010
Several stories dominated the 2010 wine news wire. The themes ranged from economic struggle and contraction to the emancipation of grape distribution. 2010 also marked the tipping point of wine blogging and wineries began to embrace new technology and social marketing strategies. The Wine Blogger’s Conference came of age in Walla Walla and the Hosemaster of Wine went into retirement. James Suckling left Wine Spectator to pursue an online site and the original wine blogger, Robert Parker began tweeting.
What news stories will dominate the 2011 landscape? Will the economy continue to impact the wine industry? Will the grapes finally be free to travel to any state they choose, or will the shackles of HR5034 keep them trapped at the borders?
Below are my predictions for 2011. Vote at the end of the article for your top news story of 2011.
- HR5034 goes down in defeat and the American Wine Consumer Coalition rallies to push for the freedom of wine shipment across the US.
- The wine economy continues to contract with several large wine conglomerates selling or closing poor performing brands. Small wineries struggle with building dept and close their doors.
- Social media goes mainstream as wineries large and small hire social media gurus as part of their marketing teams.
- The Hosemaster of Wine misses the glow of the spotlight and returns to his post of average satire and pre-pubescent roasting.
- Wine bloggers who started to “crush it” in fall of 2009 will begin to drop off the radar as the romance of their passion starts to become hard work to keep it going.
- WBC11 in Charlottesville, VA causes an international incident as wine bloggers get lost at Monticello and discover some ancient US artifacts.
- @bparkerchuk identity is revealed causing a disruption in the twittersphere for 3 days.
What are your predictions? Vote and share in the comments.
23 Dec 2010
Three months ago I announced the biggest journey of my life. This little wine blog social media experiment has grown from a branding initiative to three businesses. On October 4, we agreed to lease 2000 square feet at 120 N. Stevens in downtown Spokane. After several construction delays and an ever ballooning budget we are finally gearing up to open. I plan to write a detailed post about the lessons I’ve learned along the way, but for today I wanted to provide you the final progress report on construction and announce the grand opening. The next video you see will hopefully be of the completed space just before we open.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. Your Facebook shares and re-tweets have been a marketing force that blows me away. Due to the nature of the upcoming few weeks, I’ll be continuing to lean on your support. This blog will always be a space for wine news, wine reviews, social media information, and wine fun but the next few weeks I hope you’ll bare with a Nectar Tasting Room focus
THE GRAND OPENING OF NECTAR TASTING ROOM
You are all invited to the grand opening of Nectar Tasting Room on Friday, January 7. Each of the wine makers from the five participating wineries will be on hand to meet you, talk about their wines, and help you share in their passions. Friday and Saturday come by from Noon – 9pm and enjoy live music, catered food from Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie, incredible art from Northwest artist Stacey Wells (Rock and Roll Reflections) and amazing wine specials. This is going to be a perfect way to kick off the new year and celebrate a great new addition to the downtown core.
Be on the lookout next Wednesday (12/29) for a very cool promotion and a killer deal on our annual membership plan, Club Nectar.
Thanks for being part of the journey, the fun is about to begin. Enjoy life with friends, drink happy!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NECTAR TASTING ROOM OPENS WITH 30 WINES 5 WINERIES IN 1 LOCATION
NectarWineBlog.com has grown from an online idea to a brick and mortar business. Nectar Tasting Room opens Friday, January 7 and showcases five wineries from across Washington State. Occupying the first floor of the 1889 Building on the corner of Main and Stevens, Nectar Tasting Room is the satellite location for Anelare Winery, Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards, Northwest Cellars, Skylite Cellars, and Terra Blanca Winery. Visitors can experience a weekly tasting bar flight, and wines are available in 2 or 5 ounce pours and by the bottle. Nectar Tasting Room is the first local businesses to incorporate the use of Apple iPads as their wine menu. “Our goal is to provide visitors with a unique tasting experience where they can learn about wine and about each of the five wineries at the space,” says owner Josh Wade. The iPad menu can remember the wines you tasted so on return visits you can easily recall what you liked and didn’t like.
Nectar Tasting Room is open Thursday, Noon – 7pm and Friday – Saturday, Noon – 9pm. A fun “after hours” party, Saturday from 9 – 10pm, called The Final Sip, gives guests the opportunity to taste through any of the wines that are open. “For $10 you can come by and enjoy 5-8 wines that are already open. We don’t want to dump it down the drain. It’s a great way to share the wine,” says Josh. With the opening of Nectar Tasting Room at 120 N. Stevens, 25 wineries now have a presence in Spokane.
22 Dec 2010
Choosing the best of the best can be a challenge. With wine being so subjective to taste, the food you’re eating, your mood and even lighting, calling something “tops” carries a certain degree of uncertainty. As I looked back at the 168 wines that qualified for this list I began to salivate at the memory of the wines. Thirty of the wines scored 4 and 4+ along the way. Prices ranged from $20 – $120. While I can’t taste all of the wine out there, I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to taste the wines on the list below. I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy them, as they are all very special.
I’m no Robert Parker, James Suckling or Steve Heimoff. I consider myself an average wine consumer who has the opportunity to explore hundreds of wines. 2010 has afforded me the privilege of tasting over 500+ wines. Enjoy the Top Ten Wines of 2010.
100% Washington Viognier with a slight touch of sweetness. Moderate aromas of tropical fruit and apricots. Beautiful and floral through and through. All aboard for a taste bud trip to the South Pacific. I love the layers and layers of tropical fruits that keep coming in waves like the ocean. Guava, melon, cantaloupe, papaya and more. A very well balanced acidity keeps everything in check. At $21 this is one of the better made Viognier’s that I’ve had. While you may be able to pick a good Viognier up for $15-$18, the extra few dollars here are worth it. 4+/5
This wine was tasted during a very impressive Chilean red blend twitter tasting that included 8 very impressive wines. The fact that this wine stood tall among the quality says a lot. The blend of 38% Syrah, 21% Cabernet, 21% Carmenere, 17% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Mourvedre exploded with massive aromas of fruit, flowers and spice. I loved the fragrant eucalyptus and violets juxtaposed with the spilled spice rack. The wine is also full of flavor in the mouth with a powerful, yet soft dark fruit and evergreen tree. The oak treatment is very well integrated and the 15% ABV does not come across as strikingly hot. The finish on the wine is thick without being chewy or tart. This Bordeaux style wine is top notch wine for just $29 suggested retail. 4+/5
A glass of sweet elegant gold is a good way to describe this opulent desert wine. The 2007 R.A. Harrison Nobility is an addiction waiting to happen. I’m not a lover of syrupy sweet wines. I tend to avoid dessert wine tastings. I kept waiting for the opportunity to get the Nobility on camera. Just sitting in its 375ml bottle, it boasted super star qualities. The casting call never came and the 78% Napa Sauv Blanc and 22% Sonoma Semillon ended up stealing the supporting role for the month. The 12.2% residual sugar may make you think simple sweet Taylor Swift but this wine has a dangerously sexy and seductive quality of the mature Heidi Klum. Amazing flavors of honey, almonds, peach syrup and gardenias fully envelop the entire palate. While I know to enjoy this wine in small quantities, the bottle kept beckoning me back for more. $75; 4+/5
100% Chardonnay from 30 year old vines in Napa, CA. 28% new French oak with 8% of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation. 14.3%ABV; 640 cases produced. In the glass the wine is a beautiful golden honey and coats the glass nicely. Subtle candy aromas with baking spices, vanilla and cedar. A great example of how Chardonnay should be made. The fruit comes before the oak but the oak treatment adds a great balance of flavor to the wine. Never-ending flavors of peach, honey, butterscotch, vanilla, pear, and pineapple grace the palate of this wine. A slight lemon zest finishes out the flavor on the back palate. The finish is incredibly long with a wonderfully matched acidity that prepares the palate for the next sip. At $40 this may be out of reach for the typical consumer. For those looking / needing that perfect Chardonnay to compliment a nice meal or special event or for those with discriminating palates and the wallet to afford it, this is a must try! 4+/5
86% Merlot from Dwelly Vineyards and 9% Cab Franc, 5% Cab Sauv; Elegant bright plum colors that are about 70% opaque. Spectacular color structure that suggests quality and high extraction. A Merlot worthy of putting Miles (from the movie Sideways) in his place. Fantastic aroma of smooth cocoa and berry – imagine cherry cocoa puffs with a hint of pipe tobacco smoke. The very front palate of this wine is a semi-sweet medium cherry flavor that presents hints of baking cocoa on the mid-palate. A bright hint of blueberry jumps out at the back end as you begin to swallow the wine. A surprisingly strong and well structured finish complete this well crafted Merlot. At $25 this Merlot can compete among the ranks of wines twice the price. I score this a 4+ (out of 5) and put it up there with the top 3 Merlot I’ve had in 2010.
The 2007 Barrister Winery Merlot is a showcase of what Merlot can be. With smooth elegant cherry and cocoa flavors the addition of Cab Franc and Cab Sauv bring to light a bright blueberry spark and a strong finish. This wine could be a casual sipping wine and would stand up well to grilled burgers, BBQ ribs, and a mild red pasta dish. I highly recommend this wine as one of the top Merlots of the year.
Single vineyard Wahluke Slope AVA, 80% Merlot 11% Cab 9% Syrah, aged 19 months in 77% new oak, 14.3%abv, 163 cases Dark plum with beautiful jewel tones toward the edges. Mostly opaque Overwhelming aromas of cherry, smoke, and hints of spicy bacon. Amazed at how aroma profile changes as it comes through the nose. A mouthful of joy! The black cherry fruit skips across your tongue and then transforms into undertones of smooth violet perfume, that then release themselves to cocoa flavors. The acidic finish brings a nice wash across the back of the mouth as the finish lingers for eternity. At $36, I score this wine a 4+ (out of 5) and would easily buy it again and again. The balance between complexity, flavor, and drinkability are impeccable.
As with all the MD Shiraz this wine is pure purple passion. Very thick and pure like liquid glass. The Enchanted love is one of the darker wines I can recall seeing. Beautiful scents of violets, sweet sugar, bright blueberries, rich plums and spice. I think about 10 minutes went by before I quit smelling this wine. An enjoyable experience even before the sip. A wonderful evolution of flavor happens on this wine. Tasting the wine gives you an understanding of what “fruit weight” is. The flavor seems to wrap every square inch of your mouth. Not a single taste bud is left out of this experience. Great presentations of fruit, spice, and even some dried tomato and coffee components. The Carnival of Love is a sensory experience not to be missed. This is truly a wine event, if ever I’ve had one. A huge step above in balance over the previous vintage and crafted with subtle intricacies that keep you wanting another sip. Keep in mind this is not a subtle experience of strolling through a park enjoying the serene waterfalls and flowers, this is a high octane double loop roller coaster at 70MPH! At $90, a challenge for most but if you want to really impress a wine lover (especially one who enjoys Aussie Shiraz), you’ll score big points here! 4+/5
94% McClellan Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 % Seven Hills Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot; 50 cases produced, 14.9%abv. The wine is elegant dark black purple with hints of leathery brown in the glass. Edges are subdued tan. Color is about 90% opaque. Ominous aromas of fresh pepper, big cherries, dark fruit and earthy soil and a hot alcohol smell when taking a deep breath erupt from the bowl. Velvet blackberry and plums on the initial attack with a strong pepper mid-palate. Subtle hints of toasted cocoa add intrigue. Very bold tannin without being chalky. The acid is big and makes your mouth water. There is a slight high alcohol heat on the swallow. A beautifully elegant representation of Cabernet without being over worked by the oak. At $45, it may out of the price range for some consumers but rest assured I can score this wine a 4+ out of 5, being one of the five best wines I’ve had thus far in 2010.
At $60, the 2007 Merlot is full of amazing berry flavor and aroma. You can smell the wine before you even put it to your nose. Subtle hints of cinnamon are intermingled with the bright fruit. In the mouth you get a sense for the careful attention given to this wine. The fruit was fermented in 3 different methods to achieve the desired balance and character. About 20% of the wine spent 26 months in French oak. The flavors are full and big without being obnoxious. A velvety texture covers the entire palate and layers of fruit, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla erupt from front to back. The finish is lingering and brings good structure with the perfect amount of tannins. There is a slight heat coming off the 15.2%ABV.
For most, this is not your daily drinking affordable wine, but the Bolen Family Estates 2007 Merlot is worth the price for your special occasion or if you just want to impress the hell out of someone to prove how good merlot can be. If the 2007 vintage is any indication of the future, merlot has made a comeback and Bolen Family Estates is establishing the legacy they intended. 4+/5
UPDATE: Visit http://www.shop.bolenlegacy.com/ and use the coupon code WINESOFTHEYEAR through December 31 to receive 30% off the 2007 Merlot AND free shipping!
100% Pinot Noir from Las Alturas; Aged 9 months in 60% new French oak; 14.8%ABV Medium dark plum and crimson colors that borderline Merlot. Close your eyes and picture yourself in the kitchen. Your grandma just baked her world famous cherry pie. The room is filled with aroma of bright ripe cherry, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and that slight burnt aroma from the pie filling that spilled on the rack. That is this wine! The aroma comes across very well on the palate as well bringing supple fruit flavors that showcase the amazing winemaking and extraction achieved by Joe Wagner. This Pinot Noir is without a doubt the best Pinot Noir I’ve had to date and is an established baseline for me. $44; a wine to remember, long for and diligently seek out. 4+/5
40% Cab, 38% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec; 20 months in new French oak, 14.8%abv. Dark purple with softer tones. Edges move toward jewel tone garnet. About 90% opaque. A wonderful representation of each of the five Bordeaux grapes. The bright cherry fruit is softened by black cherries and cocoa. A whiff of blueberries graces the nose as well. A smooth mouth feel from front to back. The fruit that presents itself on the nose is also present on the palate with lively flavor all across the mouth. The tannin is less pronounced than on the Penche Cab, but still provides enough structure to pair with food. At $40 I score this wine a 4+ out of 5. It is a large wine that is graceful like an offensive lineman in ballet class. It’s bold, smooth and elegant without losing the strength of the Cabernet grape.
The 2006 Penche Argent is a river of bold flavorful black cherry, cocoa, and well integrated spices. Expect an elegant flavor with strength to pair with food. Argent positions itself well as a sipping wine or to impress at dinner. $40, 4+/5