Que Syrah, Syrah.

Whatever worries you have in this world, you will forget them with the first taste of this wine, Barrique Cellar’s 2009 Syrah from Sonoma County.


But if I were to remember those worries, it would be about my tendencies  as of late to buy French wine, but this bottle (and yes, foreshadowing to the final review, it was the entire bottle) made me believe in America again and all that is good.

I know I should start with the fruit flavors (they were there–ripe, jammy plums, baked currants, softened blackberries), but I won’t.  This wine was was silk.  Smooth, medium bodied fruit intertwined like Italian lace with smoky leather and soft cedar, licorice and a dusting of pepper flavors.  The alcohol–at 13.5%–was there, but seemingly hid in a shadowed corner, like Boo Radley taking on a protective gaze over Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

This wine was also comfortable and familiar. The body, tannin, flavor and lingering notes invited me into a leather-book lined library at dusk where a soft wool rug awaited me before an unlit fireplace as Van Morrison melted a ballad out of the nearby speaker.

I am lucky, this bottle was a gift (I have great friends), but the little bird on the bottle told me it was from Schneiders in DC on Capitol Hill.   I didn’t know it at the time, but I skipped straight to the workout to drink the bottle, and have no regrets.


Battling the Tuesday Blues: MollyDooker’s “The Boxer” Shiraz

Ever have those Tuesdays that feel like a Monday? Today was that day.

A full day of work sandwiched between three workouts–TRX, a bike, a run–and a whole lotta Tuesday blues in between.  After the bike helmet came off and the robe and slippers came on, I consciously said to myself as I went into the kitchen, “Don’t go for the wine.  You don’t need a glass every night. Think of the spandex.”

But as I passed by the fridge on the way to make the salad, the broccoli and the turkey, the ubiquitously screw-capped bottle of Australian Shiraz mocked my self-control.  Leave it to the Aussies to make it that much easier.  (Side note: This was also a bottle a friend brought over for dinner, so I have a little wine guilt about not opening it for the dinner.  Definitely a Ms. Manners faux pas I decided I could erase if the bottle went away).


As many are, I was a little leery of the cap and the painstakingly clever and designed label–the French would never stoop to the low of putting a cartoon on a clever-titled wine.  And to label it, The Boxer? “Pshaw” (huffed with a French accent).

But as soon as the first taste went past my lips, and my mouth hummed in recognition of the heat-filled berries of a McLaren Vale Shiraz, I felt the honor of our brethren to the way, way South redeemed.  Cooked, fruity and jammy, the plum flavors danced against some deeper spice notes of oak and chocolate.  Medium tannin, medium acid, the wine had a nice medium (sense a theme?) finish to it.  However, the alcohol, in tune with the heat from its origins, was slightly high (Translation: 15.5% alcohol).  Overall, the wine was balanced, on its toes, and ready to take on the night or any red-blooded protein, if even a little tipsy.

I’m glad I worked out before drinking “The Boxer” because I could easily lose myself in the bottle.  Ping that friend to call you in the morning to make sure you work out if you take home this bottle, because at Australian prices, this wine is definitely more lover than fighter — you might not want to get out of bed in the morning either way.


Did someone say “Working Class?” I’ll drink to that!

Petit Bourgeois 2011

I love Spring. A lot. As a Minnesota girl this season would start to sneak a peak sometime at the end of April, and while we waited for a few flurries to subside, there would always be that one morning you could hear the birds chirp before you actually opened your eyes. It is the untapped current of energy, joy, and happiness in the unfolding of new, unworn air, sky and sun.  It’s like Easter, but without the need to go to church or on a hunt to find your upcoming week’s leftover lunch that will be sans cake.

There are moments of excitement and exuberance when I find that same bright, crisp, clean taste in wine, and today was that day with the Petite Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc.  A direct translation from French doesn’t sound like this wine will be the winner it is, but unscrewing the bottle cap (yes, it’s a screw cap not a cork), the freshness of spring and happiness abounds in a simple 750 ml. You will want to embrace middle-classness if this is what that means.

A clear, pale gold color Monet would be proud of, the Petit Bourgeois gave off clean, crisp green apple, green grape, dewy slate and grass notes on the nose and palate. The acid was refreshingly medium-high with a long lasting, fruity-minerality flavor that was very well balanced. Light and refreshing, you won’t need to miss a workout if you drink this wine, but you might be having too much fun in the lingering light of the season to put it–and yourself away–too early in the evening. Have another glass–this wine will keep your heart rate up with glee! (I’m even giddy WRITING about the wine).

Found in my new favorite wine shop with great staff http://www.crystalcitywineshop.com/, this wine only set me back $14.99 before tax. Viva Crystal City! Viva le Bourgois!

Bullseye: Pinot & Pickles

Archery Summit Pinot

Some wines hit the mark, and some wines hit the bullseye. Archery Summit Previer Cuvee Pinot Noir is one that definitely hit the target dead center.

Mondays are difficult days, and even more so if the job feels like a job, and the limbs and spirit are tired from a weekend of workouts. With no special occasion except survival to celebrate, I held a small dinner gathering in my studio+ apartment, or what I like to call, The Lockerroom.

I perfect only a few dishes, and a pork slider with onions and apples thrown into the mix was one of these perfections. With lettuce as the wrap, and pickles, spicy mustard and mayo as the condiments, this wine seemed like it was going to be a little too big–and too expensive–to serve with the dish. But with a side of grease and stress, this Pinot Noir drinks like a robust red that can be calming like what I imagine a sunset over Kona to be;  yet has a refinement that speaks in a whisper rather than a guffaw. A beautiful clear ruby color that Dorothy herself would wear, the Archery Summit has spicy notes of rasberry and blueberry on the nose and palate. It was balanced with flavors of earth, light pepper, vanilla, oak and a touch of minerality, as if it was just dusted off of slate into the glass. The tannins were light but firm, the taste bright and lasting. I would double up the workouts to drink a few glasses of this–with or without food. We are nearing a zone 5, but no alarms of “stop” are going off in this wine workout.   If you are drinking this bottle, my guess is you need to be drinking it–the workout can wait.

I couldn’t find it in the store in DC, so I ordered it from the winery directly: http://store.archerysummit.com/. Without shipping, it will set you back around $50, but it’s cheaper than flying to Oregon!