'United Slurps of America'

United Slurps of America: road trip edition

After a hiatus of slurpin’ the states, We’re back on the task, tasting these five bottles We picked up while driving through the Midwest. Wish Us (and our palates) luck. Stay tuned for the He said / She said reviews next week.

Wait, Elderberry wine?

United Slurps of America: Colorado


Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? We’re doing just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. The next stop on Our tasting tour: Colorado.

We spent the weekend in Palm Springs celebrating Her something-th birthday with a bunch of Our friends. We packed up the puppy, swimming attire, minimal clothing, and maximal wine and headed to Our rented Mid-Century Modern house. Included in the wine suitcase were 2 Colorado bottles sent to Us from Boulder Creek Winery that we would sip between dips in the heated pool.

In addition to Our friends celebrating with Us in Palm Springs, We tasted with Kyle of Colorado Wine Press. We are grateful to Kyle for making all of the arrangements with Boulder Creek Winery and flattered that he contacted Us to be involved in the project. Kyle tastes and writes about wines from around the world on his blog, but there is a local slant that we appreciate as he covers the burgeoning Colorado wine industry. As Kyle puts it, “The Colorado wine industry is a rapidly growing teenager…with now nearly 100 wineries.”

100 wineries? Who knew? Colorado is, of course, known for beer with the world’s largest brewery in Golden… the “Silver Bullet” and all that. However, there are two AVA’s located in Colorado which produced a rather large variety of varietals. The Riesling and a Cabernet Sauvignon from we received are from the Front Range growing region.

Boulder Creek Winery is a family owned business run by Jackie, Mike, and Will Thompson. Jackie, the primary winemaker, holds a degree in Plant and Soil Science, and was a home winemaker for years. Likewise, her husband Mike, a former wine steward and life-time wine aficionado, has been an avid home brewer for decades. Their son Will acts as assistant winemaker and is responsible for the winery’s award-winning Riesling…one of the many awards and accolades the winery has earned since its inception in 2003.

Gen Y Riesling, Boulder Creek Winery, 2009 (sample, $16)

She said: When tasting I always start with the color, swirl the wine around a bunch, give it many sniffs, and then taste (yes…swirl, smell, slurp). This wine is rewarding on all fronts. A pretty, bright golden yellow and highly aromatic and perfumey with honey, ripe pear, pineapple, and other tropical notes. I would happily dab a few drops behind the ears, like a favorite perfume. The aromas continue onto the palate with the addition of the tell-tale Riesling flavors of petrol and minerals. There is enough acid to prevent the wine from being too cloying or sweet, but there is obvious residual sugar. Highly enjoyable and surprisingly refined for the price. The nose is simply gorgeous…I happily sniffed and sniffed before each sip.

He said: Not knowing what varietals We were receiving from Colorado, my thought when seeing the bottle of Riesling was, “Oh, that makes sense.” Not exactly from a cold Rocky Mountain stream, but a varietal I equate with colder regions. This wine is all about the nose, very aromatic. Honey, pineapple and pear, and I can smell it with my face 5 inches from the glass. In the mouth, the honey continues, and some minerality. A little too sweet for me to drink much of this, but all-in-all a very nice wine (and a great value for $16).

Colorado Wine Press Said: This wine was actually made by Will Thompson, Mike and Jackie’s 20-year old son. Will has been instrumental in winery operations since its inception in 2003. Last year, winemaker and mother, Jackie, decided to give Will a bit more authority in the winery’s operation and allowed him to choose one wine to make from start to finish by himself (with mom closely watching, of course). Will chose Riesling, the winemaking tradition was passed down to the next generation and the 2009 Gen Y was born. This pale yellow Riesling is very aromatic. Citrus, pineapple and ever-so-slight petrol aromas emanate from the glass. The Gen Y is medium sweet with honey and Asian pear on the forepalate. This sweetness is followed by good acidity of citrus and piña colada flavors briefly on the midpalate. Minerality and Riesling’s characteristic petrol rounds out the finish. This first wine by a first-time winemaker provides a good balance of sweetness and acidity. The nose is just fantastic. It is a touch too sweet for my preference, but overall it is a very good wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Boulder Creek Winery, 2007 (sample, $24)

She said: Very deep, dark garnet in color. Obvious oak on the nose, and I would guess its American as it has a burnt, pencil shaving smell. Also evidence of tobacco and brambly herbs. I was initially put off by the overly smokey nose, but let the wine sit in the glass for an hour and the flavors mellowed and reveled some subtle dark red fruit. The same is true on the palate, which is initially overwhelmed by tannin. But over time the wine reveals flavors of ripe plums, currants, pepper…and the smokiness remains. Some wine remained in the bottle and I tasted it again two days later…the sharp flavors had subsided and the wine was silky, herbaceous and rich…very pleasant. The wine could use more time in the bottle, but if drinking now decant! And pair it with a hearty steak or bbq. My score reflects the two-days-later slurps.

He said: Very dark, looks like cherry cola. Smokey and peppery with oak, oak, oak on the nose. Tannins overpowering the initial sips but mellow throughout the hour or so that We are drinking. Smokey and rich with flavors of dark fruit. I didn’t like this wine at all at first, but it’s totally growing on me as it opens up [edit: and as We finish the bottle 2 days later]. (At $24 it may be a little overpriced, but i’ll keep my rating 3/5 bottles)

Colorado Wine Press Said: This award winner is Colorado’s rebuttal to anyone who says good Cabernet Sauvignon cannot be made in the Centennial state. This wine is almost black throughout but with a dark red rim. It smells dark and brooding. The complex nose provides aromas of characteristic black currants, herbs, pencil shavings and black pepper. A hint of tobacco and smokiness is evidence of its time in oak barrels. After just smelling this wine for a few minutes, it fills my mouth with a good amount of smooth yet strong tannins that don’t dry out my mouth like so many over-extracted Cabernets and is balanced by a healthy amount of acidity. Currants and dark plums come to the front of the palate but are quickly replaced by a long finish of mesquite and pepper. Another aromatic wine by Boulder Creek, but I would like the fruit flavors to linger around for a while longer. This wine definitely deserves to be paired with a proper meal.

14 down, 36 to go.

Summary:

We said: We began this project at the beginning of March with the intention of tasting a state a week. That didn’t quite pan out. However, We have now tasted 14 states; that’s an average of 1.75 states per month, a statistic We can live with. We got busy and it’s harder than Boardwalk Empire makes it seem to get booze across state borders. But thanks to people like Kyle and the family at Boulder Creek Winery we will finish this project. Meeting like-minded people and learning about wine regions We had absolutely no previous knowledge of is way too fulfilling to give up on. So, see you with another United Slurps of America in 0.875 months. We hope. Cheers!


Previously on USA: Georgia, llinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington

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United Slurps of America: South Dakota

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? We’re doing just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. The next stop on Our tasting tour: South Dakota.

What’s in a number? We feel compelled immediately to apologize to our tasting partner, Rachel of the delightful food blog, Tramplingrose, and to the kind folks at Prairie Berry Winery. The 13th state in our Slurpin’ USA tasting trip took about 13 weeks to get published. We don’t consider ourselves superstitious people, but geez-la-weez, it’s been a doozy getting this post up. The summer months have been cruel for the blog (oh malware, how we despise you).

As soon as We conceived USA, She contacted Her blogging buddy Rachel in South Dakota: “You’ve got to be our Mount Rushmore State corespondent…” Rachel was game and jumped right in, doing the leg work for Us contacting SD wineries (yes, there are wineries…plural in the state). Frustration ensued: first by unresponsive wineries and then by bizzaro shipping laws…but then along came Prairie Berry. Here’s Rachel’s account:

I then contacted Prairie Berry, out in Hill City. Within 2 days, I received an email from the very nice Michele, as well an email from Karen, as well as 2 phone calls regarding their willingness to not only ship me 4 bottles of wine to try, but they would send the same to Sacha. South Dakota has goofy-assed laws about alcohol shipments, meaning while Prairie Berry had no trouble sending wine to California, they couldn’t ship it to me, an 8-hour drive across the same state. So they worked with the local liquor store, and had a box sent to me, care of Brookings Municipal Liquor Store.

In no time the wine arrived in Hollywood and Brookings. Rachel took the opportunity to do what she loves: cook a great meal, and have some friends over (an impulse We fully endorse).

After a long, lucky 13 delay, here are our collective notes, with a preface by Ms. Tramplingrose:

I know virtually NOTHING about the proper way of tasting wine, although I know a little. Hal [an invited guest] asked me if I was planning on having spit buckets placed around my living room, but I told him that even though the booze was free, we were NOT wasting it, so no spitting (and he didn’t end up coming over anyway, so it didn’t matter).

Frontenac Gris, Prairie Berry, 2008 (sample, $21)

She said: The color is a rather unattractive  orangey beige like a 1960′s monochromatic living room. On the nose: petrol, pine needles, burnt oak–similar to some intense Rieslings. Syrupy in texture, with pleasant flavors of peaches, apricots, and honey initially on the palate, but the wine hollows out and finishes with chemical-like notes. Strange and out of balance. Lacks acid and finesse.

He said: Looks like a German beer. Peach, apricot and honey on the nose… and it looks like honey in the glass; a German beer with honey. Too woody in the finish. It’s way too light in the mouth, totally lacking acid. The 3rd sip tastes better than the first, but that uncomfortable aftertaste kills it for me.

Tramplingrose said: This, I liked. A lot. I don’t usually care for white wines, as I find a lot of them too sweet (but that could just be that I’ve never had a good white wine). It was rather rosy-gold colored, kind of like Black Hills Gold (and we all wondered if that was done on purpose, since that’s where Prairie Berry is located). Jay and Melissa both also agreed that the color was a little off-putting, and both thought it looked more like a cognac or brandy (my thought was scotch). This actually smelled like wine–Crisp, and clean. I thought the taste was fruity, but slightly acidic. I don’t remember much of an aftertaste.

“red ass rhubarb,” Rhubarb and Raspberry, Prairie Berry NV (sample, $19.50)

She said: In color it is a pretty, bright, translucent red, like Oceanspray Cranberry Juice Cocktail. Smells sweet and tart, like a Jolly Rancher or fruity Sno-Cone. Immediately thought it would be great on the rocks with a splash of vodka or sparkling wine. In the mouth there is no hint of alcohol and a very dry finish. Refreshing, quenching, and with its bright, cheery color, very festive.

He said: Weird nose… I guess this is what rhubarb smells like, I haven’t had it since I was a kid. Whoa, it’s good. Like real good. It tastes like the tri-colored sno-cone you get from an ice cream truck when it’s melted and all of the three colorflavors have mixed together, coconut and strawberry and a third mystery colorflavor. This would be a great mixer. This is strange and/but wonderful.

Tramplingrose said: This seems like more of a novelty wine than anything else…Kind of like the Klingon Blood Wine that’s permanently holding a spot on my wine rack because I refuse to open it. Or one of those wines that people who grow up in South Dakota then move away buy whenever they return home for a visit. According to the label, it’s 90% rhubarb & 10% raspberry. I should also qualify this by saying that I’m a weirdo who has never had rhubarb before in my life. No strawberry-rhubarb pie, no rhubarb cake, nada. So I might not have the best frame of reference here. After I first sniffed it, I commented that it smelled like a Bath & Body Works lotion–Very fruity and floral. My first sip was slightly medicinal and coconutty. After that, sadly, it was downhill. Jay thought it looked like Kool-Aid, and thought it tasted like an instant wine (if such a thing existed). Melissa did not like it at all, and the more I drank, the less I liked it. For a semi-sweet wine, it was more sour than anything. Out of the 3 wines we tasted that night, this was the least popular.

“Lawerence Elk,” Black Currant, Prairie Berry Winery NV (sample, $20)

She said: Deep cranberry juice in color. Smells like what it is: currants and with a hint of green bell peppers. Bursting with fruit in the mouth, and because We served it chilled immediately brought to mind black currant sorbet. Simple and sweet, but not cloying or syrupy. Very cassis-like with a touch of white pepper and a pleasant tartness in the finish. Tastes like the perfect kir. Later friends came over and We made a spritzer by pouring the wine over ice and adding splash of soda water. We all agreed it was a delicious and festive concoction.

He said: Smells like a sweet cabernet with, umm, a lot of black currant. Feels like cranberry juice in the mouth– juicy but dries your mouth. It’s really refreshing. Can We mix some vodka with this, a South Dakotan Cape Codder? No hint of alcohol even though it’s 12%. I want a bunch of this and the rhubarb for next summer.

Tramplingrose said: I should point out that I am a huge cornball, so the name of the wine and the label cracked me up. It’s a black currant wine, and fairly sweet. It looked, smelled and tasted basically like cranberry juice to myself, Melissa, and Jay (I forgot to get Jen’s thoughts on it, and Jessica wasn’t drinking because she’s expecting). I did think something about it smelled like the produce section of the grocery store–Very green; Jay described it as leafy-smelling. It went down easy, and was very berry-centric. Overall, we liked it.

13 down, 37 to go.

Summary:

We said: Remember when We thought We would taste a state a week? Ha! Life has gotten busy for both of Us, but We are still committed to our initial goal of tasting wine from every state– it’s just going to take a little bit longer. But it’s worth it. We would never have tasted so many wines and would not have known that rhubarb wine even existed. Thanks to Tramplingrose for taking the reins on this one and making it happen. And thanks to Prairie Berry for the wine. We really enjoyed it. Cheers.

Tramplingrose said: Prairie Berry has been making wine in South Dakota since 1876. According to the pamphlet that came with the wine samples, the winery was started by Anna Voltja, a Moravian immigrant, who made wine from the “prairie berries” she found. They still focus on using native South Dakota ingredients. While I have yet to visit the Black Hills, the area looks beautiful, and when I make it out there, I am going to make a point of visiting the winery, just because the ladies with whom I spoke and emailed were so nice and helpful.

(All photographs from Prairie Berry Winery’s Facebook page…go “like” them.)


Previously on USA: Georgia, llinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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United Slurps of America: Illinois

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? We’re doing just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. The next stop on Our tasting tour: Illinois

For nearly four months now We’ve been tasting the states, making friends along the way. A true delight of our Slurpin’ America project has been our collaboration with regional wineries and wine-lovers. For each state We’ve tasted (twelve so far, whew) We’ve teamed up with local bloggers to get their take on their state’s wine. It’s been refreshing (and insightful) for Us to add new voices to our He said/She said blog.

While the collaboration has been a delight, the logistics for coordinating USA has taken a lot more work and time than We initially anticipated. We naively thought We would taste a different state each week. Hmm…No.

Just when We were in a panic about which state would be next, We were contacted by Mike and Evelyn of He Sipped/She Sipped, a blog hosted by ChicagoNow, a division of the Chicago Tribune. Their blog is just a few weeks old, but already they’ve posted dozens of reviews of local shops and restaurants, wines from all over the world, books, and more. As they say “anything wine-related from the Loire to the Loop.”  So We had our co-bloggers, We just needed a winery. Lynfred was an easy candidate, being the state’s oldest, having produced wines since the 1970′s. We contacted the winery and they graciously offered to send samples across the nation to Us in California and to their neighbors Mike and Evelyn, 30 miles away.

This past Sunday, just as We were about to pop open the bottles, He got a call for a last-moment trip to Atlanta to supervise the construction of a skate park He designed. Ah, skateboarding: another one of His favorite things. Or maybe His very favorite thing. After Her, of course. Because He is working away in Hotlanta, there will be no “He said,” just a “She said” in this USA post, making it even more fortuitous that Mike and Evelyn are offering their opinions. (Or…at least He says He is working. His Swirl Smell Slurp Facebook update paints a different story. Hmm.) And here are the reviews:

Seyval Blanc, Correl Vineyards, Lynfred Winery 2009 (sample, $25)

She said: Clear, light yellow. Aromatic and perfumey nose with aromas of tropical fruit and ripe apples. On the palate the wine is floral but with an underlying acidity. Minerals, aromatic herbs, and limes in the finish, reminding me of a limey gin and tonic. I enjoy the arc of richness in the nose to the austerity of the finish. Zingy, refreshing–a nice summertime sipping wine. If it was half the price I’d stock up (and give it a higher rating). 

Sipped: I don’t think I’ve ever had a French-American hybrid before, so I really didn’t know what to think going into this. This wine definitely exceeded my expectations – even if those expectations were pretty low. The Seyval Blanc ia a light to medium yellow color in the glass. The nose is pretty light and perfumy with a hint of apple and banana in the background. On the palate, this wine is smooth and enjoyable. It has flavors of sweet ripe fruit, but the wine was actually pretty dry. Lynfred lists it as a semi-dry wine, but at only 0.7% residual sugar; it’s not very sweet – and that’s a good thing.

Sipped: On the nose I get fruit, mostly bananas. In my mouth, it’s light and smooth but subtle. This wine is easy to drink; I’d call it a picnic white. I can imagine it with cheese and bread and a warm day. It’s good but not great, and I’m not sure I’d pay $25 for it.

rating: Have a glass

12 down, 38 to go…

Summary:
Sipped: As Chicago bloggers, Lynfred winery and its wines took us by surprise. We have to admit we didn’t have high expectations. Most wine in the area is fruit wine and over-the-top sweet, which is not our thing; however, these wines were drinkable and then some. We’ve never been to Lynfred, but we’re making a phone call this week—and we’ll be there soon. The samples proved that it’s worth a trip out there—to Roselle, IL, which is 30 miles outside of our home in Chicago. Chicagoans typically think of that area, just south of Schaumburg, as suburban hell, and nothing but a needed-trip-to-IEKA can get us city folk out there. (Kind of like Burbank, for you LA folk; She Sips used to live in Sherman Oaks.) But we’re going to check out Lynfred, because we deem the wine surprisingly worth it.

She said: A big “cheers” to Lynfred Winery and their Marketing Director, Christina Anderson-Heller. These are good, generous people. And they like to interact with fellow wine-lovers: friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, you’ll enjoy it. Although Lynfred sent both Us and He Sipped/She Sipped several bottles of wine, just one was made from grapes grown in Illinois. We wanted to stay to true to the “tasting local” concept of the project, so We are going to reserve the other bottles for a future post.

Also, thanks to our USA: Iowa co-blogger Dan, The Iowa Wino, for the picture of the 2008 Seyval Blanc accompanying the review. (See, We’re making friends all across the nation.)

And finally, a clink of our glasses to Evelyn and Mike. It’s been great to virtually “meet” another wine blogging couple. We love Chicago and know We’ll be visiting. We look forward to tasting the town with you. In the meantime, We’ll be following your adventures on the blog.

Previously on USA: Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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United Slurps of America: Ohio

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? We’re doing just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. It’s our 11th stop on the tasting tour: Hello, Ohio.

Social networking has become key to the coordination of this project (and, surprisingly, it takes a lot of coordination). One state leads to another via recommendations and insights from Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and reactions to previous posts on the Swirl blog. Beyond tasting local wine and in some cases grapes We’ve never heard of (Chambourcin? St Croix? La Crscent?) We’ve also “virtually” become friends with an enthusiastic bunch of fellow wine adventurers.

After slurping Kentucky with Kevin Keith (of the terrific Under the Grape Tree blog) he suggested we contact Michelle of wine-girl.net in his neighboring state Ohio. We looked up Michelle’s blog “My Wine Education,” and were delighted with its insights into local wineries, tasty cocktail recipes, and reviews of all things liquor: bottles, books, and shops. We quickly sent her an email: Want to slurp Ohio with us?

Michelle jumped on board the project and came with a list of recommended wineries: Harmony Hills Vineyards, Kinkead Ridge, Firelands Winery, and St Joseph’s Winery. Next step: contacting the wineries. Nancy Bentley of Kinkead Ridge promptly replied to our inquiry: “What a fun idea! There are people in Ohio that will tell you we are making the best wine (vinifera) in the state…Sadly, all our wine is currently sold out!” Too bad. But great for them…it’s wonderful to hear that small, regional wineries are thriving.

We received no response from Firelands or St. Joseph’s and were getting nervous, but then word came from Bill Skvarla of Harmony Hill. Bill was equally enthusiastic about USA and offered to ship Us some wine. The timing was also propitious as the winery was reopening for the season over Memorial Day weekend and he was pretty sure Michelle and her partner Kevin were going to come by. The timing delayed our post a couple of weeks, but the wait was worth it. (We have come to realize that Our original tagline of “Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? For 50 weeks We’ll do just that…” has become unrealistic. We’re still going to taste every state, but it’s going to take longer than 50 weeks.)

Here are our collective reviews:


Photograph of Harmony Hill Vineyards, taken from a hot air balloon showing vineyard, winery, and entrance to their cave.

“Aria,” Seyval Blanc, Ohio River Valley, Harmony Hill Vineyards 2009 (sample, $12)

She said: Very pale and translucent salmon pink. On the nose: some wood, ripe pear, fruit punch-like. The flavor reminds me of old fashioned fruit salad–the kind that comes in a can with heavy syrup that my hippie mother would never let me eat. It is not as cloying as the canned fruit and has a nice acidity to keep the cloying factor in check. Honey dew melon, tropical. Serve ice cold on a hot day.

He said: Pinkish / Salmon colored. The nose is a cross between a rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc with subtle oak hints of Chardonnay. Not overly sweet (which I suppose is the reason it’s called semi-sweet). Nice acid to counterbalance the sweetness. Maybe a little cloying, but totally nice. Super chilled in the backyard on a hot, sunny afternoon; that’s when I imagine this wine to be perfect.

wine-girl said: First off, this wine is best served very chilled. Harmony Hill is great at making wines that should be enjoyed on their patio or yours on a hot summer day. Once this is chilled down, this is an overall enjoyable wine. There’s a little too much oak for me, but at the same time, if I even see an oak tree, that’s too much oak. I’m probably a poor judge. That said, I sipped it during a party on my patio and it was a huge hit.

“Concerto,” Vidal Blanc, Ohio River Valley, Harmony Hill Vineyards 2008 (sample, $11)

She said: Very pale, almost clear yellow. The nose is not appealing: vegetal, funky, over-cooked green beans. It’s hard to get past. But in the mouth the wine is really lovely: crisp, light, slightly effervescent. It’s a semi-sweet wine, but like the “Aria,” is not cloying. Candy-like fruit flavors, Juicy Fruit gum, and applesauce. Too bad about the funk on the nose, but a delightful wine. I’m will to stop myself from sniffing before I slurp. Which I want to do a lot of.

He said: Gold-yellow corn silk in color. Ugh, weird nose. Vegetal, green beans, funky and gross. It makes me not want to taste this (and We discussed if perhaps the bottle was bad). But, wow, no hint of the nose in the mouth. In the mouth it’s bright and lively. Sweet with just-right acidity. Apples. The only problem is when I smell it while sipping. If the nose wasn’t so strange, this would be my favorite of the bunch.

wine-girl said: Without a doubt, this is currently my favorite HH wine. I know we left with this as a sample, but we also left with a bottle we paid for. We love this. It’s sweet, but not that candy-sweet that a lot of French-American hybrids can have. This is, in our opinion, perhaps the perfect hot-day-patio-wine.  It’s full of peaches and pears, and tends to bring on a relaxed happy feeling no matter how hot the afternoon.

“Rubato,” Chambourcin, Ohio River Valley, Harmony Hill Vineyards 2008 (sample, $14)

She said: Very purpley red and opaque. On the nose reminds me of Cabernet Franc–has a hint of vegetables. Also some oak, but more than anything else: cherries. The wine is tart, like unripe plums, some earthiness, baking spices. But mostly tart, dark cherries. The acid is nice and I imagine it would be a great food wine.

He said: Purpley. Nice nose. I could smell it as soon as it was poured. Black cherry and dark fruit abound. It’s a little light in the mouth. Some spice, all black cherry. Long smooth finish. I’ve never had this grape. I just read that Karen mentioned duck (or Kevin did roundaboutly as to not offend) and now I want duck confit with this. Maybe we should go to Canelé tonight. I like this wine.
wine-girl said: Ah, chambourciraminette and vidal. This sets them apart, surprisingly, from many of the local wineries that are focusing (and in some cases struggling) with growing vinifera. If you like French-American hybrids, you’ll enjoy Harmony Hill. I admit we’re partial to this wine – we helped harvest the grapes. It’s got nice spice and black pepper on the mid-palate with a lot of black cherry. The Rubato has a light finish but that seems pretty typical for the chambourcins in the Kentucky / Ohio/ Indiana tri-state region. Kevin thinks this wine would be nice with grilled dark poultry. (I think he’s trying to say “duck” without offending me.)

“Rhapsody,” Cabernet Franc, Ohio River Valley, Harmony Hill Vineyards 2006 (sample, $14)

She said: Ruby, garnet color. On the nose: some mild wood, spices. Tart in the mouth, clean finish. Not a lot of fruit anywhere; the wine seems to be mostly about structure. Maybe elderberry? Can’t quite place it. That said, very enjoyable in its texture and acidity. Another good food wine.

He said: Red-maroon, totally different looking from the Chambourcin. Berries on the nose. This one is also light in the mouth. Nice, totally drinkable but hard for me to decipher. Cherries and berries. The bottle lists “black currant” and I realize that is another flavor I can’t really recall. An enjoyable bottle.

wine-girl said: This is a cabernet franc that really surprised me. I’m not really a fan of cab franc, but I enjoy this one. It’s got a lot of big fruit up front, almost assaulting you. The finish has a lot of sour (maybe bitter?) cherry. Happily, there is very little greenness, which makes this an approachable cab franc. It has light tannins and is really drinkable right now. We tend to take out time getting to wines, and I wouldn’t worry about the drinkability of this wine if it took us a year to get to it.

11 down, 39 to go…

Summary:
wine-girl said: HH is great because the winery itself is all about atmosphere. Kid-friendly, picnic-friendly, and dog-friendly, a great weekend evening can be spent hanging out at the vineyard listening to amazing acoustic music, chatting with other wine & music lovers, and enjoying wine by the glass.

We said: A clink of our glasses to Michelle for tasting along with Us in our slurpin’ tour. Her Memorial Day weekend winery crawl sounds like a terrific way to relax and enjoy what Ohio River Valley has to offer.

Also, a thank you to Nancy Bentley of Kinkead Ridge. We’re sorry to not have been able to sample Kinkead’s wines, but our palates have been piqued. United Slurps of America: Ohio, part deux?

Finally, a big cheers to Bill and Patti Skvarla and their staff at Harmony Hill Vineyards. These are good folks. We poked around the internet and were delighted to discover that in addition to producing award winning wine (Harmony Hill’s 2008 Rubato took home a Gold medal and the 2007 Refrain took home a Bronze in the 25th Hilton Head International Wine Festival) the Skvarla’s are dedicated to protecting the bucolic countryside of the Ohio River Valley. The National Wildlife Federation has certified a significant portion of their 70 acre property as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat site, protecting the diverse and abundant wildlife that live live and nest on the property. When our virtual tasting tour becomes an actual one, We’re making it a destination.

(All photos from Harmony Hill’s website…check it out for more sweet shots.)

Previously on USA: Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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United Slurps of America: North Carolina

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? For 50 weeks We will do just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. Week ten: It’s North Carolina.

Well, actually it’s week eleven. Last week We took a bye. This week’s edition of our Slurpin’ America had a couple of hiccups (namely that our original co-blogger, who will remain unnamed, went MIA), but We’re back into the project with our palates fresh and eager to taste the states.

Thank you, Twitter friends and Facebook fans (or “likes” as FB now refers to you–weird) for hooking Us up with our (new, improved, and non-flakey) North Carolina co-blogger, Joshua Sweeney of Wine(Explored). He’s a cool dude with a fun and informative blog to add to your wine-related reads. When We were scrambling to find a new friend he stepped up with enthusiasm. But really, who wouldn’t want to try McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks?

After hearing such positive (downright effusive) reviews of McRitichie’s wine and cider we cold-emailed them in hopes of getting some wine shipped to Us in California. Patricia McRitchie replied within a few days,”We did our due diligence and read excerpts from your blog.  We were highly entertained and would enjoy reading your thoughts on NC wines.” Awesome. Our big thanks to Patricia and her family for playing along with Us.

Check out McRitchie’s jealousy-inducing website to find out more about this family run business in the bucolic hills of Yadkin Valley. Not just grapevines. Chickens! Bees! Horses! Cute kids! And We knew We were going to especially enjoy this tasting when We saw this picture of the father/son wine-making team. Here are our collective reviews.

Dry Hard Cider, McRitchie 2008 (sample, $14)

She said: The bubbles are very fine, even scarce–looks like a Moscato d’Asti in the glass. Very pale green yellow in color. Very subtle on the nose as well–barely a hint of apples with some yeasty, bready scents. After months (well, years really) of paying very close attention to wine scents and flavors, the cider is a refreshing change, but I can’t help but compare it to wine: it reminds me of a Txakolina. Super dry and refreshing with very quiet and elegant apple notes (but completely dry–more like a Granny Smith than a Fuji). I imagine the cider would be excellent with food and also an aperitif. Makes me want to be outside and cook on the grill. Love it.

He said: In Her notebook she wrote, “He is going to love this.” She’s right. The cider is a shiny gold-green (reminder: I’m colorblind, could always be wrong on this) with tiny little bubbles. Yeast and bread initially on the nose giving way to green apple…a green apple Jolly Rancher™. In the mouth it is very dry with more sour apple. It tastes like an apple Jolly Rancher™ too. I love it. So, good. I want a case(s) of this. It would be such a great thing to take to daytime summer parties. I will seek this out again.

Wine(Explored) said: It’s much, much lighter than most hard ciders I’ve seen. I cheered inwardly a bit when I noticed the carbonation in the glass. It’s very fine, frizzante, not aggressive like the more common hard ciders. It has a musty, Champagne-like nose with a very subdued apple scent. I honestly don’t know what to expect just from the smell. The flavor is very subtle, and, as the name states, very dry. The apple flavor is pure, but not sweet, like apple juice. If it weren’t for the warming sensation in my throat and stomach, I wouldn’t even be sure there was alcohol here. It barely comes through on the finish, but there’s just enough there to give it a bite. Its got a great balance. 7/10

Fallingwater, Yadkin Valley, McRitchie 2009 (sample, $16)

She said: Very pale yellow. The nose has a funky chemical smell mixed in with honeysuckle, tangerine, and other tropical notes. There is a citrus peel bitterness on the finish and a strong acidity, yet the wine is also very full and rich, almost overly luxurious in the mid-palate. Seems out of balance. Not for me, but very interesting to taste and ponder.

He said: Slightly cloudy and pale yellow-gold in the glass. The nose is weird; citrus, tropical and scents that I can’t really describe. I actually wrote “indescribable” in my notebook. Strong acidity with very light fruit. There is something woody about it to me, or like carbonated water. I don’t really like it. 

Wine(Explored) said: The Fallingwater has a very light yellow color, with just a tinge of green, and it has a lower viscosity than I would have expected. The nose consists of overly ripe tropical notes, apricot and a sweetness like honey, and a bit of vinyl. Rather dry, with a detectable alcohol flavor and a hot scent. Flavor of apricot preserves, pineapple, and there is that slight vinyl flavor. It’s got a very luxurious, tropical medley on the finish that’s hard to pin down but still very enjoyable.  Has a very strong acidity that becomes prominent on the finish. Balance isn’t quite there for me. 6/10

Ring of Fire, Yadkin Valley, McRitchie 2008 (sample, $18)

She said: Very deep purpley ruby color. Oak on the nose, but also chocolate, coffee, dark berries. The wine is lush on the palate–almost syrupy. Medium tannin and alcohol is in balance with the fruit–the structure is strong but doesn’t overwhelm the flavors. Rich and creamy finish, like chocolate milk. With a fresh blueberry garnish. Very enjoyable and easy drinking wine. Tried it again later with a turkey meatball sandwich (from Locali–love that place) and it paired wonderfully.

He said: Actually drinking it as I type this post. I had it last night and my notes are fairly negative, but I am enjoying it right now. Light nose with coffee and dark fruit. Maybe a little licorice too. Nice weight and very rich in the mouth, but maybe a little too much oak for me. Some heat in mid-palate and finish. Not great, but a nice, drinkable wine.

Wine(Explored) said: Color’s a very deep, almost opaque reddish purple. Rich scent of redcurrant and coffee. It has a very smooth, very full texture, evidence of a very good amount of time in oak. Flavor is a very rich mocha with a bit of cherry. Tannins are chalky, not quite chewy, and the sensation lingers on the finish. Good balance on the alcohol here; it contributes to the structure without coming forward. Though simple, this one is my favorite of their wines. 7/10

Merlot, Yadkin Valley, McRitchie 2008 (sample, $18)

She said: A very dark/opaque garnet with a translucent purple rim. There is obvious oak on the nose, but more than anything else: chocolate. Pleasant, soft and chalky tannin and more coca on the palate. Also sense dried herbs (lavender?), coffee, and stewed tart cherries. The wine finishes a bit harshly with high acid and an almost burnt, bitter flavor (in this way it is similar to the white we tasted). Another interesting wine to taste; it challenged my palate.

He said: Deep Purple. Chocolate, anise, and more chocolate on the nose. I wrote “Really nice smelling wine” in my notebook. A little light in the mouth but very tasty. Coffee, chocolate, a little bit of heat and licorice in the finish. The flavors are great in this wine, but the composition seems a little “funny”. Good not great.

Wine(Explored) said: Before I even get to the color, I can smell the chocolate. My exact words: “mmmm, chocolatey.” Anyway, the color is a wonderful, deep, rich red with a very, very light purple tint that becomes noticeable on the swirl.  In addition to the chocolate on the nose, there’s a jammy cherry scent. I also, and I think I’m a bit crazy, get a hint of both burlap and maple syrup. Was this aged in French oak? I can definitely detect the oak influence in the flavor, contributing a powdery vanilla-sugar flavor. I also get a tart cherry and coffee and a bit of chocolate on the finish, which is long and clean. There’s also a certain sort of baking spice flavor like cloves or cinnamon. Mouthfeel is a bit stringy and the alcohol/acidity balance is a bit harsh, but the overall experience is a clean, medium-bodied, classic Merlot flavor. 6/10

10 down, 40 to go…

Summary:

We said: This was a real treat and We give a big, glass clinking “Cheers!” to the McRitichie family and Wine(Explored) for expanding and tantalizing our national palate. Also, love, love, love the little diagrams on the back labels.

Yesterday afternoon We stepped out onto Her usually lovely porch to enjoy our last few sips of McRitichie’s delicious cider and were greeted with this not-so-lovely view:

A big hole, an even bigger tractor, and a construction worker’s butt. And the noise. Suddenly big-city life felt a lot less glamorous. We took our glasses back inside, turned up the music, and daydreamed about being elsewhere…the lush, quiet splendor of North Carolina, sipping McRitchie cider.

Previously on USA: Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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Vive la mode

While I’m bundled up inside, staring out at gray skies on this surprisingly gloomy day in Hollywood, He is in hot and humid Atlanta on a quick, last minute trip involving skateboarding and architecting (a couple of His other favorite things).

My frig and wine rack are stocked with some very tempting bottles and I am doing my best not to pop open too many before He returns to town.

After our international wine marathon on Wednesday (see previous post–whew that was a day), We took a couple of days off from wine. But We did enjoy free cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon at our friend Redda’s book release party. Yes, Pabst. And: Yes, it was in Echo Park. And: Yes Shepard Fairey was the dj. And: Yes there were some famous people there. And: Yes, sometimes We are hipsters. (And: Yes, you should buy Reda’s book.)

There’s nothing like cheap beer (even if it is free) that makes you appreciate wine even more. Here’s what We have coming up this week:

  • United Slurps of America is back after a bye week, featuring North Carolina with the wines (and one cider) of McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks. We’re excited to be co-blogging the post with Josh Sweeney of Wine(Explored).
  • All this talk about box wine has peaked our interest…and wouldn’t you know it, We got sent some samples. We’ll be adding our two cents worth about this not-so-new trend (I remember siphoning off sips from a box of white in my mother’s refrigerator when I was like eleven).
  • We’ve also received some really interesting sounding wine from Santorini. And I wish We were in Santorini to slurp it, but We’ll probably end up tasting it in my backyard. Which is kind of like paradise in its own right. As a preview, check out Benito’s review and very tasting looking meal he paired it with. It will be interesting to see how our own notes compare.

In the meantime, here are some terrific sort-of-wine-related photographs by one of my fave fashion photogs Jurgen Teller in W magazine. I came across them today while working on an art project; I’ve loved these images since I first saw them– in 2002. And: Yes, I have stacks and stacks of magazines in my studio that are that old. And: Yes, I decided to leave out the semi-nude. But trust me, it’s a fantastic photograph.

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United Slurps of America: A Bye Week

So, this project is significantly more difficult than We expected. Alas, We must take a break for a week. While fun and exciting, the coordination behind getting wine from every state has become almost a second job for Us. We were planning to take a break after, like, maybe 15 states. The first nine were relatively painless, but We both recently had an “uh-oh” moment as We saw the wine on the shelf slowly depleting and no deliverymen knocking on the door.

Want some more excuses? Wine shipping laws are a bitch. We both have had an onslaught of “real life” things to take care of. He has been bedridden with back / shoulder pain. And, really, how can We be expected to get anything done when there are like 3 NBA playoff games on every day.

But don’t fret, We do have a few states on the radar:

Fingers crossed, USA will return next Monday. We are determined to finish this damn project if it means quitting Our jobs and driving to a winery in every state of this country of ours. Cheers.

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United Slurps of America: Massachusetts

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? For 50 weeks We will do just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. Week nine: It’s Massachusetts.

Marco Montez of Travessia Urban Winery was one of the first people We contacted when We began our Slurpin’ USA adventure. Jill of the lovely wine shop domaineLA here in our fine city recommended Travessia (and has blogged about the wine), as did several Twitter friends. Just one week into the project, We sent off an email and Marco quickly responded, “I can certainly ship samples to you.  No commitment, you can taste the wine and review them positively or negatively, or don’t review them at all – totally up to you – how’s that for a policy?” Um, that would be a policy We like.

Marco has a wonderful,  affable manner that has made him a delight to correspond with over the last couple of months. We asked Amanda Maynard of The Wine-ing Woman if she would be interested in co-blogging with Us. We’ve been following Amanda on Twitter for awhile and admire her great enthusiasm for wine (and the Bruins). She has a lovely, approachable writing style that charms. Lucky Amanda drove down to Travessia to taste the wines (and a barrel sample, a very cool bonus) and then passed on her notes to Us. Here are our collective reviews:

Vidal Blanc, Travessia 2008 (sample, winery sells for $13)

She said: Very pale, clear yellow with a hint of green. Green apple, grapefruit, and wet stones when swirling. In the mouth I initially tasted petrol, minerals, a slight chemical-like flavor, reminding me of a dry Riesling. This gives way to tangerine, white table grapes, ripe pear, honey. The wine is very lush and ripe, but not “sweet,” rather is very refreshing. Really delightful and interesting. Would be a great to accompaniment to a summer picnic on a hot day.

He said: Pale in color, but quite bold on the nose. A lot of Sauvignon Blanc characteristics on the nose, with some pretty strong apple. My first thought upon sipping was “juicy.” There is certainly evidence of residual sugar, but in no way is it overpoweringly sweet. Great acidity that lingers in the finish. This would be a great hot afternoon wine. My favorite of the three. It’s interesting how much Vidal Blanc We have had since we started this USA project. I definitely had not even heard of it, much less tasted it, and I don’t think I have had one I disliked yet.

The Wine-ing Woman said: Vidal Blanc is probably my favorite locally grown grape because of its ability to survive the colder weather along with the similar taste and wine structure to my beloved Riesling. I gotta say, this one does not disappoint. It looked very pale and clear in the glass, but on first whiff, it showed up big. I got a whole lot of everything, but apple and pear showed up to the party pretty early. I’m pretty good friends with them, so I was on board. It smelled really fresh and clean and I was pretty eager to dive in. Then the apple and pear party moved to my tongue. Oh boy. This has some serious structure and acidity which isn’t shy one bit. The fruit is extremely ripe, but not sweet (bonus points!). The finish was kind of like lingering apple juice. Out of the bunch, this was my favorite by far. I’ll take a few more bottles, please.

UnOaked Chardonnay, Travessia 2008 (sample, winery sells for $14)

She said: Golden yellow and bright. Would not have guessed the wine was unoaked if the label didn’t say so….on the nose is plenty of butter and caramel. Flavors of apple, lemon curd, and creme brulee with a mineral background. Fairly light bodied and with mild acidity. Easy drinking and fairly uncomplicated, which is reflected in the reasonable price. Would enjoy as an aperitif.

He said: Bright golden, it looks very much like a Chardonnay. Grassy on the nose, with buttery oak. It’s surprising to me that this is unoaked. Butterscotch-y in the mouth. A little light in the mouth and not much acid…the structure is a little weird, but the flavor is top-notch. If there was a little more weight and zing, this could be a really great wine.

The Wine-ing Woman said: On first look, it’s got a straw/golden color, which is kind of what I’d expect. It is slightly aromatically challenged in comparison to the perfumy Vidal, but I got some good green, planty thing going on. Even though this is unoaked, I did kind of get a buttery thing on the nose, so I don’t know if my brain was tricking me or if it was really there, but it’s absolutely not off-putting (and it’s not present on the palate). The palate was slightly less acidic up front than I had expected and a little thin, but not bad. Having had the previous vintage, that carried more of the acidity that I love so I was expecting something similar. However, it’s still really good. Not exactly my style, but it’s definitely appropriate in many situations. It would be great for beginners that are scared of wine but I think it would also pair wonderfully with some lighter fare (I’m eying a little baked Haddock…).

The Bastard Rosé, Travessia 2008 (sample, winery sells for $14)

She said: Deep salmon, orangey-pink. Fairly quiet on the nose, with some subtle soapy, powdery roses scents. The sweetness is subtle too, although the wine is off-dry. Initially tart in the mouth and then mellows out to a soft finish. The wine is confusing and hard to pin down. Seems out of balance. (And, yes, it’s not my mother’s rosé, as the label claims…she’s more of a Domaine Tempier woman, as am I.)

He said: Interesting color, it almost looks self-illuminated and kind of metallic. Hmm, the nose is difficult for me and it definitely doesn’t smell like any other wine I have ever smelled. Maybe hints of strawberry Jolly Rancher? It’s acidic and tart in the mouth. I had some when We opened the bottle last night and I actually like it much better today. The little bastard has settled down a little. This is a really tough wine for me to describe. I don’t love or hate it, but I prefer the Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc. 

The Wine-ing Woman said: I really love this bastard. He’s a little tricky and deceptive, but I’m into it. Let me explain. I popped the wine, poured, and noticed these slight bubbles in the bottom of the glass. None of the others had this, so I was pulled in. The color is kind of pink but more of an orange/copper shade, so right off the bat it’s getting interesting fast. Then, there’s the nose. Depending on what I focus on, I’m getting either bubble gum or a cinnamon and Christmas spice thing going on. Such an interesting side by side bunch of scents. The palate is filled with ripe strawberries and solid acid and structure, but the acid is different than that in the Vidal Blanc. This is like a secret, concealed acid. It didn’t strike me the whole way through, but on the finish, it showed up and left my mouth watering, craving another sip. This bastard, like I said, is deceptive but I’m pretty into how it’s done. It’s my runner up behind the Vidal Blanc.

9 down, 41 to go…

Summary

We said: Wow: nine states! Feels like an accomplishment, all this Slurpin’ We’ve done. Big thanks to Marco and Amanda for playing along with Us on this project We love so much…you both were kind and generous collaborators. The Vidal Blanc was delicious. We were marveling about how interesting it was to have a new favorite grape varietal that three months ago We had never even heard of.

So what’s in store for week ten? Yikes, We don’t know yet. It’s easy to get behind on the long distance coordinating, corresponding, and wine buying/sampling. Whew. We’re in talks with some great people in North Carolina, Ohio, Connecticut, Arizona, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Virgina. There is a lot of enthusiasm out there about the project, which has been really gratifying for Us. Thanks for joining Us and, please: join Us! If you live in any of those states that aren’t filled in on the map above and are interested co-blogging, send Us an email, Tweet, or comment your info. It’s fun.

Previously on USA: Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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United Slurps of America: New Mexico

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? For 50 weeks We will do just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. Week eight: it’s the land of enchantment, New Mexico.

Our search for a local co-blogger was more difficult than We anticipated. We put the word out on Twitter and Facebook:

We got a response from our Facebook “fan” Peg Lawrence. (Although the powers that be at Facebook just changed fans to “like”…well, We liked it better when they were fans–but happy to have people follow Us on Facebook either way.Thank you!) Peg lives in Texas, not New Mexico, but went to high school there. Close enough. Tex-Mex, err, Tex-NewMex. New Texican. Either way, we are very happy to have Peg along:

“I have a lot of fine memories in the “Land of Enchantment” having gone to high school there, my mother, stepdad, and grandmother moved back there, and also visiting frequently as it is my sales territory. My brother also lived there on 2 different stints so I thought since we share a food and wine blog, and that history, who better to do this with me than him. So to prepare for the tasting we talked about all things New Mexico as we knew or remembered them…I think now after all this reminiscing we are ready to open our sparklers.”

Note to New Mexicans who like wine: Start a wine blog, there’s a hole in the market.

Brut Methode Champenoise, Gruet NV ($14.99)

She said: On the nose the wine smells like fresh baked bread and mild yeast, similar to a light beer or pear cider. The bubbles are not obtrusively large, but not fine either. Citrus flavors, vanilla, mellow allspice, baked apple. Wish the sparkler was fresher and had more finesse, but enjoy the pear cider, pineapple elements. Also sense lychee syrup–there is a definite sweetness, reminiscent of Prosecco. A fine, casual wine to enjoy with friends as an aperitif to dinner or by the pool on a beautiful spring day.

He said: Even though I feel like I have tasted plenty of Champagne/sparkling Wine, it’s difficult for me to articulate. This one is so crisp that it’s hard for me to say much more than that. There is apple fritter in both the nose and mouth along with bread. Smells and tastes like a French Bakery, a boulangerie up in my domepiece. How do you like that? Getting both French and hip-hop languages in a wine review. I’m a highly cultured gentleman. Umm, yeasty, dry, hints of tropical fruit. I really dig it.

Peg said: Brilliant tiny, fine little bubbles, aromas of citrus and green apple bloom up on the nose. There is a faint mild buttery crust/toast, creamy taste with an extended pleasurable finish of citrus and apple that wraps around the mouth, very nice. This would be a great one to have on hand for the every event! Dale said: This one had a nice balanced flavor, and although I do not normally like Champagnes or sparkling wines, this had an enjoyable taste. The taste was balanced with hints of a citrus and green apple taste, but not overwhelming. The flavors swirled around the entire mouth and was filled with tiny bubbles.

Brut Rosé Methode Champenoise, Gruet NV ($14.99)

She said: The color is deep strawberry and smoked salmon pink with largish bubbles. The nose is much more mild and restrained than the Brut. Thinking We probably should have tasted this one first. On the nose: citrus, strawberry, green pear. The wine is fresh and lively with a nice crisp, Granny Smith apple finish. Prefer this one over the Brut for its zest and zing. Imagine it would go quite well with a variety of foods, given the acid and crispness. Very nice.

He said: In my memory, which does seem to scale inversely with age, I have never had a sparkling rosé. Consistently bubbling beautiful pink color with strawberry and apple on the nose. In the mouth it is crisp with quite a bit and flavors of sour apple. The next afternoon garden party We host I will recommend We serve this. Very, very nice. I am not likely to forget this one. 

Peg said: Great color with a bright nose, blooming with a strawberry and cream and wildflowers scent. In the mouth it is dry with crisp cherry, strawberry and green apple. Starts out fruity and finishes tart, but still very good and zesty. Would suggest this one would be more suitable for drinking with cheese and possibly a smoked salmon. Dale said: Nice strawberry color with a fruity aroma. Initially, it hit the palate with hints of green apple and cherry like flavors, then becomes like a tart cranberry like finish. I tested it with a few medium to sharp cheeses and it blended well.

8 down, 42 to go…

Summary

Peg said: I had done a show at the Gruet tasting room in Albuquerque years ago but did not get to partake of the wines, so I thank Swirl Smell Slurp for giving us the opportunity. You can find further musings from my brother and I at Foodie Fitness. New Mexico is a beautiful state, if you haven’t driven around in it you should. The places I would suggest you try and see to name a few would be Santa Fe, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Ruidoso, Sandia Mountains. While in Albuquerque I have had some great meals at Garduno’s, Dion’s, Blake’s and if you’re flying through the best chicken and green chile soup and breakfast burritos bigger than your head are at Comida Buena at Albuquerque International airport. You just can’t be in New Mexico without trying the green chile, it’s a food staple! And the last place I have yet to mention is Roswell, UFO Mecca. I never saw a UFO there but having driven at night across the state is a little eerie what with the ghosts of Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, and countless other native lore said to be roaming in various towns and in the desert.

We said: Like Peg, We too, had a great time driving through the state of New Mexico. On Our month-long trip through the Southwest earlier this year, We had the delight of driving both the northern and southern routes of the state. We stopped at Gruet Winery, though we only used their restroom and didn’t taste any wine. Later, in the incredible city of Santa Fe We enjoyed a Gruet chardonnay with dinner at Cafe Pasqual’s. We visited Billy the Kid’s grave. We soaked, nakedly (and maybe even had sex, shh!) in the mineral waters in the very strange town of Truth or Consequences. We even took a 5 hour detour to drive through the snow-capped mountains. We loved every minute of it.

A big thanks to Peg and Dale for joining us in our New Mexico tasting, and to Facebook for facilitating this collaboration. Feel free to sell our profile information to anyone you please, you cute little corporate giant, you.

Previously on USA: Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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