A Look Back at Last Year as we look towards a New Year!

 Ok, with the holidays out of the way and resolutions intack, we make a commitment to be more fervent in our posting efforts.  God knows that we have been just that in our consumption of wine!

With a move into the New Year, instead of doing a full blown post, we wanted to do a quick look back on some of the wines that we consumed that didn’t make into a post. 

Scheduling note before we begin, with the big cabin weekend coming up for January 13-16, we would like for the Allen’s to do a post this coming up weekend and the Croft’s will do a post the weekend of the cabin so that James and Sara are not too overwelmed.  I know Sara and James to a less extent have a lot going on as we move full force in 2012, but I will let them tell you! Is that ok?

On to the photos…

This is a Syrah wine from the South African winery The Wolftrap.  We bought this wine in November looking for an inexpensive red that we were somewhat familiar with.  We had tried the Pinotage from Wolftrap before and been satisfied with it as with the price.  Pinotage is a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsant (also known as Hermitage – french grape similar to Syrah) grapes and is almost exclusive to the South African wine region. 

Syrah wines originated from the Rhone Valley of France and have been made popular over the past number of years by both Australian and South African growers.  This is due to the syrah grapes affinity to hot climates.  In both the Australian and South African regions the syrah grapes are also know as Shiraz.

This bottle was around $10 or $11 a bottle, and wasn’t one to write home about.  The pinotage maybe something to think about trying.  I believe The Wolftrap Pinotage, depending on the vintage will run from $13 to $20 a bottle.

One of our mainstays and go to bottles of wine.  Despite the enormity and its place on the mainstream (sometimes too big for their britches) the Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is always a solid bottle of wine that can be enjoyed by itself or with a nice piece of steak or other grilled meats.  This was paired and consumed with a number of large reds over the summer at my parents house.  At $20 – $25 a bottle (you will pay to much at a Publix) it is a wine that can hold its own.

This is their standard bearer Napa Valley Cabernet.  The Cabernets only go up from there both in price, taste and complexity when you start looking at their reserve wines and their single vineyard wines.  I definitely recommend taking the opportunity to trying both the standard bearer as well as some of the reserve bottles.  Even their “private select” which is the Mondavi entry level wine is not bad for those on a tight budget.

This picture represents how we consume most of our wines…in front of the TV with dinner.  We set a grand example for our 2 year old (almost 3) daughter.

This was another Cabernet from Smoking Loon.  Beleive it our not, we actually enjoyed this bottle of wine.  We would have no trouble drinking again.  We purchased the wine at a premium from our local market just 2 minutes from our house.  I guess you have to pay a premium for such convenience (the market certainly thinks so).  We paid about $11 or so for the wine. It can probably be found reasonably for about $8 to $10 a bottle.

In mid-November Amy and I went to Costa Rica for a little vacation.  We stayed on the pacific coast about an 1-1/2 drive southwest of the capital of Costa Rica –  San Jose.  We stayed at the Los Suenos Marriott Resort and Spa.  Before our trip we decided to get in the mood, by drinking some relavent wine.  The only relavent wine we could think of was from Spain.

Oour wine of choice was from the Las Rocas winery which is located in the Spanish province of Zaragoza.  This province is home to the Calatayud wine region, which is famous for the red wines, of which 85% is the Grenache grape.  Grenache grape is one of the most widely planted red wine grapes varieties in the world.  It too grows well in hot, dry climates and is similar to the Syrah grape.  It is common for Syrah and Grenache grapes to be blended.  Grenache is also commonly found in the Southern Rhone region of France.

This was an average bottle of Spanish Red wine, that left a lot to be desired.  We found it at the local Piggly Wiggly for about $11 a bottle.

With our arrival back from Costa Rica we were greeted with a large family contigency, not necessarily for our arrival back in the states, but probably becuase it was Thanksgiving.  One of our guests at Thanksgiving was my jet-set Aunt who is a travel agent by trade, but does almost as much travelling as she does selling travel.

Her favorite spot – Tuscany. She travels there at least once a year and has friends abound in the region.  Here last visit to Tuscany found her in Val d’Orcia a region within Tuscany south of Sienna and Florence.  Val d’Orcia is home to a small family winery by the name of Capitoni (visit the website…http://www.capitoni.eu/EN/vini.php). 

My Aunt Mary was gracious enough to bring this wine back with her and share it with us a appetizer to Thanksgiving dinner.  This was a Sangiovese wine with a small percentage of merlot to round out the wine.  It reminded me of the Andrew Will Sangiovese we had over the summer that I spoke of back in August.  As has been disucssed, we have found Sangiovese, particularly Chianti, uninviting; however, my recent experiences, mostly with American wineries which add a little from Bordeaux grapes have been very pleaseing.

The Capitoni did not disappoint.  Sadly, good luck getting this wine right now with out asking you local wine guy to buy you at least a case.  In the long run, it might be a good investment.  Do I have any takers?

Another wine at Thanksgiving.  A wine that needs no introduction with this crowd.  We have reviewed the entry level and we have reviewed the next step up (in Charleston).  We had the opportunity to drink again the top notch of the Cain winery – the Cain Five.  I do not need to wax poetically about this wine. It stands alone and continues to bring us back to what was my favorite winery to visit and wine to taste.  To think that lady thought she was punishing us by banishing us to the barrel room.  A word of advice, should she stumble upon this blog….do more wine tasting in the barrel room!

It is tough to consume this wine on a routine basis, which is why it is nice to have a father that has a larger budget and the afinity towards California Bordeauxs!  Thanks again, dad!


This was a christmas present from my in-laws in Ohio.  Thus the Ohio wine.  This is a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Ohio River Valley.  It wasn’t bad for a Bordeaux from Ohio.

Well, that’s it folks for now.  Here’s to a successful and “fertile” 2012 – with the hopes of many more bottles of wine, shared with good food and friends!


1 Comment

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One response to “A Look Back at Last Year as we look towards a New Year!

  1. Sara

    I love the recap of the unreviewed but definitely enjoyed wines!

    Smoking Loon is such a good go-to wine! It never lets me down.

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