Friday, April 17, 2015

Upcoming Events & About Us

Welcome to TWITs - click here to read about us.

    List of Wines the TWITs have tried so far ---> TWITs Events
    Helpful Tasting & Pairing Aides ---> Help
Upcoming TWITs Events:  

April 16th, 2015 - Eastern European Red Wines - hosted by Ms. Abbie & Mr. Matt
May 2015 - Loire Valley Wines - hosted by Mr. Rheinallt and Ms. Valerie

Other fun news:

We once hosted a tasting for "I don't always drink white wine, but when I do I drink this one..." and every guest brought their fave white wine and had to explain why it was their fave. During that evening, Lynn and Brian brought us an infographic to look at, it showed 20 White Wines and the various qualities of each. You can see it here:

So I wrote the artist, Sean Seidell, directly and asked if he also had one for RED wine too. he actually replied to me today! he has an iPhone app coming out soon, and he will be doing the Red Wine Infographic for the holiday season. I am so excited. He does Infographics on more than just Wine items, which is also pretty darn cool. Follow his Facebook page here:

TWITs away from home:
We have a wonderful TWIT living the dream in Napa Valley California.  Ping us if you'd like more information.

We, unfortunately, no longer have a Sister Club based in Orlando, Florida called the TWOTS (The Winos Of The South). However, we do know several fantastic honorary TWITs who live there, ping us if you are traveling to the area and need a fellow wino contact.

Wines TWITs have tried so far:

January - ?
February - ?
March - ?
April - Malbec - hosted by Ms. Shannon
May - Grenache - hosted by Ms. Abbie
June - Pinot Grigio - hosted by Ms. Amanda
July - Chianti - hosted by Ms. Jane
August - Reisling - hosted by Ms. Mina
September - Monastrell - hosted by Ms. Sarah
October - Rioja - hosted by Ms. Abbie
November - Petite Sirah - hosted by Ms. Jennifer
December - no wine club this month

January - Champagne - hosted by Ms. Jane
February - Organic Red Wines with No Sulfites Added - hosted by Ms. Abbie
March - ISAW Wines - hosted by Ms. Mina
April - Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Oregon - hosted by Ms. Elizabeth K.
May - Sauvignon Blanc - hosted by Ms. Elizabeth
June - Nero D'Avola - hosted by Ms. Shannon
July - no wine club this month
August - Viognier - hosted by Ms. Deb & Ms. Jennifer
September - Tempranillo - hosted by Ms. Elizabeth K.
October - Barbera - hosted by Ms. Mina
November - Gamay/Beaujolais - hosted by Ms. Abbie
December - Holiday Sparkling Wines - hosted by Ms. Sarah
January - Wine & Cheese Pairings - hosted by Ms. Jane
February - ISAW Foundation Tasting at Emily Amy Gallery - hosted by ISAW, EAG, and the TWITS
March - no wine club this month
April - Chilean Wines - hosted by Ms. Abbie
May - Pinot Noir - hosted by Ms. Deborah & Ms. Jennifer
June - Pinot Grigio - hosted by Ms Marilyn
July - no wine club this month
August - Rose - hosted by Ms Abbie
September - cancelled

October - Prosecco - hosted by Ms Kat
November - no wine club this month
December - Sparkling Wines - hosted by Ms Abbie

January - no wine club this month
February - South African Wines - hosted by Ms Abbie
March - North Georgia Winery Tour
April - no wine club this month
May - no wine club this month
June - Le Caveau tasting 6/4/11
July - Le Caveau tasting 7/3/11
August - Spanish Wines - hosted by Ms. Abbie
September - no wine club this month
October - no wine club this month
November - French Red Wines - hosted by Ms. Abbie
December - Australian or South African Shiraz/Syrah - hosted by Ms. Marilyn

January - Tempranillo - hosted by Ms. Ardela
February - Tuscan Wines - hosted at Le Caveau
March - Garnacha - hosted by Ms. Leslie
April - Georgia Mountain Wineries Bus Tour - TWITs Event
May - Bottleshock Movie Night - hosted by Mr. Janssen
June - Arizona Wines & Blood Into Wine Documentary Viewing - hosted by Le Caveau & Prime Wine & Spirits
July -Rose - hosted by Mr. Janssen
August - Wine to Water Charity Event - hosted by Ms. Deb
September - Chianti - hosted by Ms. Susan
October - ISAW Foundation Wines - hosted by Ms Ardela
November - Gamay & Beaujolais Nouveau - hosted by Ms. Marilyn
December -Christmas Cabernet - hosted by Ms. Abbie & Mr. Matt

January - Le Caveau and Joe Herrig - New Wines for 2013
February - Vino Venue - Try the Enomatic Wine Tasting System
March - Bordeaux Wines - hosted by Ms. Val and Mr. Rheinallt
April - Pinot Noir - hosted by Ms. Kathy and Mr. Jamie
May - Italian Wines - hosted by Ms. Deb and Mr. Jaffett
June - I Don't Always Drink White Wine, but When I Do, I Drink This - hosted by Ms Abbie and Mr Matt
July - Le Caveau Blind Tasting of Natural Wines - hosted by Ms Melissa and Mr Les
August - Argentine Wines - hosted by Ms Abbie and Mr Matt
September - Holiday Dinner Wine Pairings - hosted by Ms. Kim and Mr. Alan
October - TWITs GA Winery Tour - TWITs event
November - Cabernet Franc - hosted by Ms Marilyn
December - Languedoc Wines - hosted by Mr Matt and Ms Abbie

January - Syrah - hosted by Ms Jacki & Mr Santi
February - A Red Wine You Love - hosted by Ms Abbie & Mr Matt
March - we ended up postponing February's tasting into March, so we covered both months already.
April - Tomfoolery Tasting - hosted by Ms Jackie & Mr Santiago
May - Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or Sonoma & Pool Party - hosted by Ms Lynn & Mr Brian
June - La Dolce Vita!  Favorite Italian Wines hosted by Ms Kathy & Mr Jamie
July - German & Austrian Wines - hosted at Le Caveau 
August - Chardonnay - hosted by Ms. Ardella
September - TWITs Takeover Southbound - hosted by Southbound Restaurant
October - Spanish Red Wines - hosted by Ms. Abbie & Mr. Matt
November - Rhone Wines - hosted by Ms. Valerie and Mr. Rheinallt
December - Sparkling Wines- hosted by Ms. Marilyn

January -Winter White Wines - hosted by Ms Abbie & Mr Matt
February - we skipped February
March - Volcanic Wines - hosted by Ms. Karin & Mr. Joshua
April - Eastern European Red Wines - hosted by Mr Matt and Ms Abbie
May -
June - 
July - 
August - 
September -
October - 
November -

December - 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Eastern European Red Wines - April 16th, 2015 - hosted by Mr Matt and Ms Abbie

Eastern European Red Wines - April 16th, 2015 - hosted by Mr Matt and Ms Abbie

Theme:  Eastern European Red Wines - We will do our usual blind tasting method.

Bring:  TWITs should bring a bottle of Eastern European Red Wine.  It can be a single varietal or a blend, but within the specified price range (Up to $20/bottle for Singles, between $20 - $40/bottle for Couples).

Tasting Notes:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Volcanic Wines - March 19th, 2015 - hosted by Ms. Karin & Mr. Joshua

Volcanic Wines - Thursday March 19th, 2015 - hosted by Ms. Karin & Mr. Joshua

Theme:  Volcanic Wines - We will do our usual blind tasting method.

Bring:  TWITs should bring a bottle of volcanic wine.  It can be a white or a red wine, but within the specified price range (Up to $20/bottle for Singles, between $20 - $40/bottle for Couples)

More information on Volcanic Wines.
"Volcanic soils are rich in calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as other elements, which can contribute to a wine’s minerality. These soils also allow water to be delivered to the roots of vines very slowly, which can be a lifesaver during a dry growing season when vines must rely on groundwater to survive. Oh, and they look cool, too: black never goes out of style."

Why did Josh & Karin pick "Volcanic Wines" as the theme?
Josh explained that they had first tried a volcanic wine in Portland, Williamette Valley, and they were told "you either love it, or you hate it", and they decided they loved it.  Karin said it was also a nice geography lesson, learning about the different volcanic areas in the world.  Some volcanic areas include: New Zealand, Chile, Italy, Portland Oregon, Calistoga/Napa area, etc.

Tasting Notes:
Welcome Wine:  2013 Azienda Agricola Inama Vin Soave Classico, Verona Italy ~ $20 @ Sherlocks
100% Gargenega, 12% alcohol
white wine, light, sweetish, off-dry, grassy, rain, acidity, tart, 3 day old campfire, ash,

1) 2010 Assemblage Barken Reichan Galilee - $29 @ Costco
67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 13% Shiraz 13.5% alcohol
red wine, smoky head, tar, subtle smoke, bbq, not quite opaque, spice, white pepper, Val guesses California fine wine, fruit forward, gorgeous wood, citrus, tangerine, cherry, subtle charcoal nose, carmelly, charred barrel, berry cherry, spice like a pinot but not, you can almost taste the burnt ash in the back of your throat, high clarity, could be a pinot, why not? cloves, doesn't linger, like a good cigar at the end, a very sexy clove cigarette, black fruit, chocolate, nougat, promises even more pleasure with age.

2) 2011 Vestini Campagnano Kajanero Terre del Volturno IGT, Campania Italy - $15.99 @ Brookhaven Wines
Blend of Casavecchia, Pallagrello Nero, 13.5% alcohol
crunk on the nose, tar, LODI, resurfaced road, asphalt, tar bubble, burning oil, cheese, so intense, not subtle at all, Whew! powerful! Holy I-285, sulphur, mackerel, shell fish, inside of volcano or oil-well, sea air, full bodied, dark chocolate, blackberry, palate has fruit, then a dip of olive/brine, then spice, needs food, rustic meats, licorice, anise, molasses

3) 2009 Aglianico Mastroberardino Campania Italy - $20 @ Broohaven Wines
100% Aglianico, 13% alcohol
gumballs, dark deep brown/brick color, funky, compost, meringue, smoky cocktail, Matt says Tuscan Sangiovese, flowers in manure, foxglove, burnt twig, gardenia, perfumey, the palate doesn't hold up to the aromas, palate is not that intense, great foreplay but terribly quick finish, quaffable, lighter, "the young inexperienced pool boy"

4) 2012 Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso DOC - $17-18 @ Brookhaven Wines, 100% Piedirosso, 12.5% alchol
subtle smoke & chocolate, milky way, soft, silky, smoky vanilla, overly burnt bbq, but in a good way, caramel, burnt tires, briny, pickles, smooth with spice, pepper, pickles and pepper, salt, a lot of minerals, honey, 1 dimensional, hyacinth, oysters, fleshy, coppery, would not order a 2nd glass, ashy aftertaste, not a good kisser, honey vanilla caramel,

5) 2012 I Vigneri, Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy - $45 @ Le Caveau Fine Wines
Blend of Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese, 14% alcohol
tar, stinky, leather, humidor, stallion, manly, burly wine, alpha male, animal sweat in a good way, Burgundy-esque, flowers & manure, grass, healthy countryside, green grass, brushy dried green, earthy, wildflowers, sweet banana, hot nose, pepper, this wine treats a woman right, rustic, balanced, lingers, huge body, "I would take this wine home with me"

6) 2011 J Bookwalter Sub-Plot #27 Columbia Washington - $20 at Brookhaven Wines
41% Syrah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 14.2% alcohol
asphalt, skunk-o-rama, good weed (you know what we mean), fresh rubber, latex, grapefruit peel, bitter pith, oily garage, honeybees & flowers in the garage, chewing burnt rubber, chocolatey, apple cider palate, could be Hobbit Wine (aka New Zealand), dry, rubbermaid dishwashing gloves, ashy

7) 2013 Frank Cornelissen MunJebel no. 10 Rosso - $39.99 @ Le Caveau Fine Wines
100% Nerello Mascalese, 15% alcohol
apricots, baby food, peaches, astringent, rubbing alcohol, citrus, lemongrass, dishwashing soap, grassy, mineral, sulphur, sodium, chocolate apricot, peach leaves, fresh cut grass, sweet rosy, liver, iron-y, black pudding, effervescent, fluffy, like sucking on a nail as you do, special k breakfast with added iron, crazy palate, aroma of grandma's bonnet, orangey, odd, so crazy, complex, magma, liquid hot earth, tricky, the Loki wine

Special notes: This is a RARE wine, hard to get.  There were only 24 cases made, and only 10 cases imported into the United States.  Le Caveau received 1 case. ONE!  and we got 1 bottle to share with our beloved TWITs.  Some trivia, about the label, Frank has a penchant for Japanese women, but he lives in Sicily so it was hard to get one to stay.  Eventually he did find one, and married her.  :)

8) 2008 Tenuta del Portale Aglianico del Vulture Reserva $20 @ Total Wine
100% Aglianico 13% alcohol
dust, sugar dust, caramel chocolate, sea dust, poorly kept old people, thyme, mature manure, crumbly manure, licorice, anise, dry, tart, dusty, ashy, woody, acetone, pine, effervescent on tongue, fresh vampire, canned tomato, its solid, not very interesting, this is #1, pretty darn good, tobacco, smelly socks on the floor for like a week, rubber hose, new flip flops

9) 2012 Fuedo Principi di Butera, Sicily, $20 @ Brookhaven Wines
100% Nero d'Avola 14% alcohol
a lot of tires, seductive, ink out of a calligraphy pen, toasted honey, caramel, sweet, skunk on edge softens and melts into caramel, smoky caramel, we smell past the skunk, seaspray on smoky soil, tire store, salted caramel, inky

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter White Wines - Thursday January 29th, 2015 - hosted byMs.Abbie &Mr. Matt

Winter White Wines - Thursday January 29th, 2015 - hosted by Ms.Abbie & Mr. Matt

Theme:  Winter White Wines & Rabbie Burns Supper
We will do our usual blind tasting method, but after unveiling, we want to hear the story behind the wine you brought to the tasting.

Bring:  TWITs should bring a bottle of white wine:
  • it should be a white wine which you like to drink in the winter
  • come prepared to tell us why it's a winter white wine
  • within the specified price range (Up to $20/bottle for Singles, between $20 - $40/bottle for Couples)
Tasting Notes:
Welcome Wine:  1996 Michel Schlumberger Chardonnay - was a gift from a friend, estimate price around $45/bottle from the winery. 100% Chardonnay,

1) 2013 L'Acino Chora Bianco, IGP, Calabria - $18.99 @ Le Caveau Fine Wines
12.5 % Alcohol
TWITs Tasting Notes:  effervescent, perfumey, pear and grapefruit on the palate, sweeter, viscous, a nice wine, latex, a little petrol, sulfur on the nose, soft tart not harsh tart,

Le Caveau Notes: "Mostly Mantonico a little Guarnaccia Bianca, Pecorello & Greco grown organically.
This white displays layered notes of dried apricots and tropical fruits with undertones of toasted almonds, bulgar wheat, and honey. This white is rich, flavorful, and mouth-filling with vibrant acidity, incredible depth, and a long finish.

About the Wine & Winemaker:  Founded in 2006 by Antonello Canonico, Dino Briglio and Emilio Di Ciann (all natives of the mountain town of San Marco Argentano), L'Acino is a communal effort to showcase the oft-forgotten terroir of Calabria. When the project began, the three friends were working full-time in unrelated fields: Antonello was a film director, Dino a historian and Emilio a lawyer. Though they had no prior viticultural or winemaking experience, their love of wine was enough to start the estate, and the trio's taste for "natural" wine meant focusing their attention on organic viticulture and minimal intervention winemaking.

As far as the grapes planted, the vineyard features the indigenous grapes Mantonico (white) and Magliocco (red), as well as a small percentage of other indigenous varieties.The vines here are young, planted by the L'Acino team 7 years ago from cuttings of older vines (sélection massage) on their own rootstock. The vineyard is being plowed every year following harvest and legumes, grains and other plants have been planted between the rows of vines to promote mineral richness and depth to the soils.

Never heard of Mantonico and Magliocco?...neither had we! Mantonico was once thought to be a color mutation of the common Calabrian red grape, Gaglioppo. Magliocco Canino is found in many of the oldest vineyards in the region, but was supplanted by the more productive Gaglioppo. The wines are fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel vats and aged on the lees. They are bottled unfiltered and lightly sulfured and released in the Spring following harvest. "

2) 2011 Vielles Vignes Pouilly-Fume, Loire - $22 @ Sherlocks Wine Merchant
13% alcohol
crisp, green notes, herbacious, wasn't impressed with the nose, perm solution, grassy-gassy, nose is what we don't like about white wine, astringent, cleaning solution, shy volatiles, acidic, bitter, guessing sauvignon blanc, chalkiness

3)  2013 Peter Jakob Kuhn Trocken Riesling - $18 @ Le Caveau Fine Wines
12% alcohol
white florals, geyser water, petrol, passion fruit palate, papaya or guava, lily-of-the-valley sprayed with gasoline, pinot grigio? sweet, jolly ranchers, a touch of acidity, ripe fruit, sweet-tart, pectin, granny smith, "granny smith's knickers", sour pears, a firm pair (ha ha), magnolias, long and thin, a late honeysuckle

4) 2010 Scholium Project Midan Al-Tahrir, California - $24 @ Le Caveau
15.71% alcohol, blend of Chardonnay Gewürztraminer Sauvignon Blanc Verdelho
cough medicine, cherry, jasmine, saturated sweetness, honey, golden yellow color, natural wine - unfiltered, sweet/bitter, menthol - throat hit, short-chained volatiles, too acidic, would go well with an almond brown butter cake.

5) 2007 Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris, Alsace - $38 @ Hintons Savvy Cellar
13.5% alcohol
chicken tenders, honey, toffee, butterscotch, olives, mushrooms, golden yummy, mint, herbal, fungi, funky cheese, guessing a Grecian white (slaps you in the face),

6) 2011 Domaine de la Tournelle, Jura, Terre de Gryphees - $34 @ Le Caveau
13% alcohol, 100% Chardonnay
all spice, OMG Goldschlager, red hots, candy cinnamon, tart, capsaicin, "gravel or something in my mouth", marine fossils, salty sea breeze

7)   2011 Red Mare Chardonnay, Dutton Ranch, Russian River Valley - $40 @ Total Wine
13.5% alcohol
doo doo locked in a cupboard, awful, dog poo on your shoe, straight up turd, oak bomb, California Cheek-Twitcher, newly poured asphalt, steaming turd, nasty, skanky weed, cannabis, smells like an old friend, guessing Lodi, CA?

8) 2011 Gobelsberger Riesling, Kamptal, Terry Theise Estate Collection - $18 from a friend
12.5% alcohol
petrol, gasoline, asphalt, hot highway, tickling my tongue, this is a NICE Riesling, expensive tasting, honey on the end, light, drinkable, quaffable,

9) 2013 Tenuta Sant Antonio Scaia, IGT - $10 @ Whole World Beverage
12.5% alcohol, Garganega 60%, Chardonnay, 40%
glass cork, licorice, grapefruit, cat piss, dirty dishrag, pear, unexpected gorgeous acidity, hydrangeas first bloom, stupidly good! FAVE WINE OF THE NIGHT!

10)1982 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes, 1er Cru Classe mute 1855 - $130 @ Sherlocks Wine Merchant
13.5% alcohol
thick nose of sherry, nose of SueEllen (someone's ex), pear, honey, caramel, rich, sweet, warm apricots, sharp honey, vanilla, pineapple, warm Christmas, minerality, Bordeaux, sweetness, fungus, YUM!
Special thank you to Lauren for sharing this rare treat with us!

Cranachan - Scottish Dessert made of Whipped Cream, Honey, Whisky, with Toasted Oats and Raspberries

Vegetarian Haggis, Neeps & Tatties

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday TWITs - Sparkling Wines - Friday December 5th, 2014 - Hosted byMs. Marilyn

The Holiday TWITs - Sparkling Wines - Friday December 5th, 2014 - 7pm ET - Hosted by Ms. Marilyn

Bring: TWITs should bring a bottle of sparkling wine
  • made in the champagne method or methode champenoise, 
  • from any country, any region, in the world, 
  • within the specified price range (Up to $20/bottle for Singles, between $20 - $40/bottle for Couples)

Blanc Elephant Gift Exchange:  Bring a homemade or small wrapped gift $5-10 (not expensive), for the gift exchange.

Tasting Notes:
Welcome Wine:  NV Gruet Blanc de Blanc, New Mexico - $15.99 @ Minx

1) NV Tattinger Brut Reserve Champagne, Reimes - $39 @ CostCo
12% alcohol,
(Reimes is pronounced Rhahmce, like it rhymes with France)
tastes French, very nice, crisp, dry, very dry, green, grapefruit, tart, slight sweetness, greenish tinge to the color

2) NV Gruet Blanc de Noir, New Mexico - $15.99 @ Minx
12% alcohol, Pinot Noir
white grape juice, sweeter, pleasant sweetness, palatable, golden color, more effervescent, tart, leaves me thirsty, chalky, minerality, bitterness at the end.

3) NV Laherte Freres Grand Brut 'Ultradition' Champagne - $49.99 @ Le Caveau
60% Pinot Meunier (rare to have so much), 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir
more clear gold color, acidity, sharper, peaches & apricot, tart, floral, elegant, yeasty, savory, Val guesses cremant, champagne, Gwen guesses Prosecco,
"92 points The new release of Ultradition is absolutely lovely, offering up a complex nose of lemon, apple, bread dough, stony minerality, citrus zest, and a top note of white flowers (from the Pino Meunier?), On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, crisp and complex, with lovely mid-palate depth, elegant mousse and superb length and grip on the crisp and focused finish.  This is one high class bottle of non-vintage Brut!  2013-2025.  - John Gilman, A View From the Cellar #46, Jul/Aug 2013."

4) 2012 Peter Jakob Kuhn, Spatburgunder Rose Sekt Brut - $35-39 @ Le Caveau
13% alcohol, German Rose from Rheingau
pinky/orange hue, funky nose, Kathy guesses Blanc de Noir, apple juice, Matt says "awful", peachy, Rh says cider-ish, obscure, "better as a spritzer", we also tried this wine mixed with Anasazi Vineyards Choke Cherry wine.

5) 2010 Ironhorse Wedding Cuvee - $38 @ Toco Giant
13.5% alcohol, 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, aged 3 years
Rose-ish, softer, effervescent, berry, yeasty nose, not so elegant, dry, tart, honey, tight on the palate, not as satisfying, very forward, flabby/flat, might be a cava, sparkling wine begs for food

6) NV Mumm Napa Brut Rose - $15.99 @ Candler Park Market
12.5% alcohol
sparkly, rose, dry, very mainstream, very drinkable, "what you think of when you think of champagne but fruitier", this is a burpy wine!, french wine making technique, bing cherry, dark plums

7) NV Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley California - $22.99 @ World Market
12% alcohol
yeasty honey nose, CA wine, asparagus pee, bready, tastes like Californian, toasted nuts, smells good, this is awesome, tastes like asparagus pee, I could drink all day, Rh guessed French

8) NV Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano -Valdobbiadene, Superiore, DOCG, Brut - $20-29 @ Dunwoody Kroger
11.5% alcohol
clear color, perfumey, pear, swedish au pair (joke), totally different nose, light green, Marilyn guesses 2013 ?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rhone Wines - Friday November 21st, 2014 - Hosted by Ms. Val and Mr.Rheinallt

Rhone Wines - Friday November 21st, 2014 - Hosted by Ms. Val and Mr. Rheinallt

Theme: Rhone Wines
Bring:  TWITs should bring $20 / person to cover the cost of the wines.  Our host and hostess will be hand-selecting the wines for us.
Information: The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône river valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC.  All things being equal, Rhone Valley offers far better value, but equal quality to Burgundy and Bordeaux wines.

The Rhone Valley terroir and varietals can be split by Northern Rhone vs. Southern Rhone.

The Northern Rhone Valley terroir is described as a Continental climate, gorge, steep limestone and shale terraced vineyards, all grapes harvested by hand.  Red varietal is Syrah (90-95%), White varietals are Rousanne, Viognier, Marsanne, (5-10%).  A lot of the winemakers use 95% Syrah and perhaps 5% Viognier in their wines.  The winemakers in the appellation Condrieu use Viognier.

The winemakers from the appellation Cornas have to use 100% Syrah.  We think this is because Cornas wasn't making very good wine until about 10 yrs ago, so they are sort of on "Syrah probation".  Cornas is a hanging valley.

Hermitage is considered the "spiritual home" of the Syrah grape, which is why wines from that appellation may cost more than wines from Crozes Hermitage (nearby appellation).  Cote-Rotie, Rotie means Roasted.  The welcome wine and the first 3 wines we tasted, were from Northern Rhone.

The Southern Rhone Valley terroir is more of a Mediterranean climate, similar to Languedoc and Provence.  Red varietals (13 allowed) Grenache (main grape 50-70%), and then the supplementary red grapes, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan, and 8 others (30-50%).  White varietals are Rousanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanche, etc.  The appellation of Lirac is known for it's briny tasting wines (like sucking on an olive).  Tavel is known for it's Rose' wines.  Wines 4 through 8 were from Southern Rhone.  Cotes = slope, Coteaux = slopes (plural).

(CDP) Chateauneuf-du-Pape = The Pope's New Castle.  Not many people may know but in 1308 Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon.  A total of 7 popes reigned at Avignon, all French.  They increasingly fell under the influence of the French Crown.  In 1377 Gregory XI moved his court to Rome.  This conflict gave rise to the Western Schism in catholic church, and France had a few "anti popes".  The popes in Rome wore white, and the anti-popes in France wore black. There are two different types of terroir in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  One is flat soil, the other is rocky, stony, galetes, which warms and cools quicker, and provides better irrigation also.

Cotes du Rhone AOC has 3 designations.
1) Cotes du Rhone - generic level, 100 miles, highly variable quality
2) Cotes du Rhone Villages (no name) 95 communes, better quality, rules about % of Grenache and Syrah planted.
3) Cotes du Rhone Villages (with a named village), 18 of the appellations are authorized to include their village name on the label, one of which is Sablet  (we tried one), and they have even more strict rules about % of Grenache and Syrah planted.

Garrigue - low, soft-leaved scrubland on limestone, kermes oak, lavender, thyme, white cistus, blows on the grapes.

Tasting Notes:
Welcome Wine:  2011 Crozes Hermitage les Champs Libres Blanc (13% alcohol) - $31
Marsanne varietal

1) 2012 Collines Rhodaniennes, GAEC Jamet (12.5% alcohol) - $22
butter, I can't believe it's not butter, rich, shortbread, nice nose, ground white pepper, lighter red fruits, dried fruit, silky, lighter, easy-drinking wine, subtle milk chocolate, creamy, clove spiced, pepper bomb.
good to pair with a meat that has no pepper.

2) 2009 Cote-Rotie Cuvee Classique 'Ampodium', Domaine Rene Rostaing (13% alcohol) $80
(he had this opened to breathe from 4:30p-8:30p)
fennel, tar, asphalt nose, cassis, well balanced, lingering finish, floral, chewy, delicate edges, but big! more rounded, you can roll off it.  big full flavor with delicate edges like frosting, is it worth the extra $?  TWITs say yes!

3) 2008 Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot, Rhone (13% alcohol) $50
herbs, pickles, dill, briny, peppery, tickles the nose, it's more bold of a wine, dry wine, like you can taste the skin of the grapes, this one you can kind of escond yourself into the cracks, it stays with you longer, torrid.

4) 2010 Domaine Saint Gayan Cotes du Rhone (14% alcohol) $15
GSM blend, traditional classic Cotes du Rhone style blend,
apples, caramel, easy drinking wine, medium fruit, bit of stinkiness

5) 2012 Domaine Les Genestas Cotes du Rhone (14.5% alcohol) $19.99
fresh soap nose, cloudy colon turbidity, viscous, thicker, toasty, olive oil, tart, bitter, marshmallow toasted, most interesting palate, heterogeneity (lots of variation), citrusy, lemony bouquet, garni, crazy different, black licorice

6) 2010 Chateau Du Trignon, Sablet, Cotes du Rhone Villages (14% alcohol) $19.99
*Rh thought this one was corked, but we tried it anyway.  you can see the photo of the cork compared to a non-breached cork below.
cake nose, nursing home hallway, wet, medicinal funk, tart, oxidized
Replacement: # 6) 2010 Domaine de L'Espigouette Bernard Latour, Plan de Dieu (14.5% alcohol) $18
Plan de Dieu means God's Plan.
garrigue, herbal, changing gear oil, black licorice, gasoline, tar, petrol, savoriness, earthy, raking dried leaves, crunchy, bitter after-palate, berry, herbaceous nose, good acidity

7) 2012 Domaine Bertrand Stehelin Gigondas (14% alcohol) $36.99
dry, musty, cloisters, leather bouquet, saddle sway, barnyard, chickens, she was a good cow, jammy mouth,

8) 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mas de Boislauzon (13% alcohol) $49.99
(castle of new pope)
rich nose, thicker, this you can latch on to, chewy, elegant, bold leathery