Week 2 Virtual Tasting for Charity 11/30-12/9 USMC League & ME Campaign for Equal Justice

Happy Holidays folks! My wife & I decided we’d like to sponsor a grouping for this year’s donations. We couldn’t decide on just one organization so there are a few different ways that you can give to two great causes.

For her, it will be Maine Campaign for Justice. This is a program that helps low-income individuals with civil legal problems in Maine. They focus on:
***Reducing homelessness and saving homes.
*Providing food security.
*Keeping people employed.
*Protecting the educational rights of children.
*Representing families experiencing domestic violence.
*Defending the elderly against fraud.
*Securing essential health care.
*Helping families, students, and workers navigate immigration laws.
Advocating for those with low income in the shaping of laws and policies affecting them.
Upholding the rights and duties fundamental to the health of our democracy.

For mine will be for the Bangor, Maine USMC League. This is a community based organization that helps those that have served with immediate support (often in less than 24 hours). My wife & I have donated to them in the past because we know that 100% of our donation goes directly to Veterans & their family members. The Bangor USMC League focuses on helping low-income Veterans with:
*** Heating fuel

  • Gas cards to attend medical appointments
  • Emergency food
  • Cold-weather clothing
  • Hotel stays when houses catch fire**

Whenever community providers are working with a Veteran & family in need, Jerry is quick to act to ensure that the Veteran and their family do not wait. To ensure that these funds are going to those that served, DD214s are verified in advance. In the decade+ that I’ve worked with Veterans I’ve never known someone that served that wanted a hand-out, but they do appreciate a hand getting back onto their feet again. The USMC League supports Veterans from all branches of service. Erica & I know that the support provided by the USMC league is invaluable to Veterans that are trying to get back onto their feet and move forward in life. That’s why my wife make giving to them a priority each year.

DISCLAIMER: To be as clear as possible, because I am a Federal Employee and need to make sure I’m following the law, I’m not asking anyone to donate to these organizations, I’m asking you to participate by sharing your wine tasting notes (and/or photos of you with your bottle of wine), which will increase the amount of money that I will donate to the Bangor, Maine USMC League. Anyone that takes a part in this can contact them to verify that I donated to them, their address is: USMC League, PO Box 1323, Bangor, ME, 04401. POC for this organization to verify that I donated appropriately is Jerry Barrett (207) 356-1544.

If people want to donate to Maine Campaign for Justice - Full bodied whites under $50.


If people want to donate to the USMC League - Let’s branch out a bit, wines from lessor known grapes or regions: Trousseau, Mencía, Corvina, Scheurebe, Timorasso, and so-on. Anything not made in thousands of cases qualifies.

Tasting note only is $5 to the charity you designate (between our two chosen…for you lawyers in here).

Tasting note & photo of you with your open bottle increases our donation to $10.

The Double Whammy: If you have a wine that fits both categories (see my response to Jay Hack below) we will donate $10 for the note ($5 to each) & $20 ($10 to each) if there is a photo of you with your open bottle.

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I love the cause Kirk. But I don’t have any wines that fit the category! [cry.gif]

Scheurebe! Yay!

Full bodied whites that are not Chardonnay under $35…hmm…older Grüner Veltliner?

I give you permission to go to the store and buy a Spanish Mencia or Italian valpolicella/amerone for the cause.

I’ve expanded this to anything obscure. However, you can probably pick up an affordable Mencia for about $15-$18. If you want to go high-end it will cost you about $40/bottle. My hope was to get people outside of the “typical” wines.

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I’ve amended this as well.

Excellent! Now I can easily fit into one of either category without buying yet more wine that I don’t need. Some might actually fit into both categories.

I need to know the rules. Rules, in a knife fight!

(1) Can we get a double whammy if we choose something that qualifies for both? I’m thinking 2011 Donnachiara Ostinato (100% Greco)
(2) May we use CT values for wines we bought but have no records of what we paid?
(3) Does it have to be a 750 under $50. I have some 2005 Suduiraut 375s?
(4) Can you define full-bodied?

Yes, yes, yes…and I can try.

Full bodied, I tend to think of these as wines that “feel fuller in the mouth”. What does that mean? To describe body I like this comparison
Water = light bodied
Skim milk = medium bodied
Whole milk = full bodied
Half & half = desert wine mouthfeel

Does this help how I think about these things? In the end this is for charity, so I’m more inclined to be inclusive than not. I love the idea of a double whammy! Any double whammy with photos of you & your open bottle splits $20 between the charities!

Okay, I’m ready starting tomorrow. Good reason to dig through the cellar. Err… Closet.

BTW - shout out to a great Mencia I shared blind with FMIII, Todd F, Seiber and others a few weeks ago so it doesn’t count but they all loved it and took pictures of the label to remember.

Analemma from Oregon. For real, great wine. Who says “Mencia in Oregon sounds like a winning combination”. Kick ass wine

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  • 2019 Müller-Catoir Haardter Scheurebe trocken - Germany, Pfalz (11/30/2021)
    About six month since my last bottle, and I think this is showing more cut and definitely more complexity. There’s still a ripe peach core, but the sage and grapefruit notes are just blasting through, bringing freshness and classic Scheurebe typicity. Dry, long, and still showing some finishing bitterness, this is a wine that is built to go with food. I need to reload before it all disappears.

Posted from CellarTracker


Can’t say I understand the theme details…but here goes.

2009 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Poulsard Vielles Vignes, Arbois, France
Cranberries, pomegranate, sour cherries, earth, juniper, basil, coal tar, and subtle baking spice. Lively, vibrant and quite sappy to start. It settles in to an attractive somewhat front loaded sipper. Pleasing acidity. There’s a mid palate surge flashing some layering. The back end fades while you’re hoping it’d hang around longer… Plenty of freshness for its age and no sign of moving past its drinking window. This particular bottling contains sulfites. Very quaffable.

1000s of cases? No idea.


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We’re off to a nice start!! Thanks for helping me empty my wallet folks!!

After two days of recovery from Frank III thread, I’m back on the job. And I know you are all dying to see more pictures of me. [crazy1.gif]

2015 Castello Conti Origini Vino Rosso

An “Off the beaten path” wine. This is made by the three Conti sisters in the Boca zone of Alto Piedmont and is a highly traditional vino rosso. The grapes come from a parcel of eighty year old vines planted with the old maggiorina trellising system in which four vines are planted in a tight bunch and then trained outward on eight chestnut poles in the shape of a goblet. It is composed of 50% Croatina, 30% Nebbiolo, and numerous other local grapes including Uva Rara and Dolcetto, and then harvested and fermented together as a true field blend.

I love this wine. Quite dark on color, Nebbiolo is clearly not the dominant grape here. It is rich, lush, and earthy with blackberry brambles and ripe plum skins; spicy with scents of allspice and coriander (not pepper). The palate shows notable, drying tannins (hello Nebbiolo) and that kicking Italian acidity that seems to permeate that country. This is such a great, versatile table wine. This wine gives significantly more than its $25 range would suggest. The structure of this wine tells me it could go ten years from vintage.

Le Piane makes a similar wine named “Maggiorina” which is also very good, but lighter, simpler, and an early drinker, in my opinion. Castello Conti’s Origini is more substantial, serious and ageworthy. Come to think of it, I hate this wine, it tastes awful, is terrible QPR, and you should never buy it. [wink.gif]


Not sure this counts as full bodied, but maybe?

2019 Bedrock Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard

Nose of lemon pledge (lemon peel + a touch of toasty oak), toasted nuts, and sunshine. Palate is brimming full of Sun-kissed California fruit which starts out in the lemon-tangerine-pomelo end of the spectrum, before finish on notes of golden raisin and apricot. Crackling acidity, with a bit of structure and citrus pith bitterness, and a nicely textured finish. Definitely more shapely than I was expecting for Bien Nacido but not close to being ponderous. Delightful with some vegan sushi. 92

Kirk - great causes, but some guidance would be appreciated. What about blends that include rare grapes? And i get that trousseau and Grillo might be considered off the beaten path, but where do you draw the line? Pinot blanc? Semillon? Melon de Bourgogne? Palomino Fini? Pretty small production in the grand scheme of things, but not exactly “rare”.


Corvina for the team!

  • 2018 Cecilia Beretta Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore (11/30/2021)
    Medium dark maroon. Nose show oak influence and dark fruit. Palate is sour cherry and Chambord. Lightly astringent from mid palate to finish. Bitter chocolate too. Good pizza wine.

Posted from CellarTracker


A Double Double Whammy. Or at least 1-1/2.
DonnaChiara Ostinato.jpg
2011 Donnachiara Ostinato, which is 100% Greco from Campania. Not Greco Blanco, which is a different grape. I bought 2 bottles of this about 7 years ago at Zachys. The first bottle, which I had soon after purchase, was at best uninspiring and I regretted buying two. It went to the back of the cellar but when Kirk said Oddball Grapes, and his wife said full bodied inexpensive whites, this jumped to the front of the line. It is MUCH better now and made a good pairing with shrimp and home made bacon lardon in brown butter and lemon. The color was beginning to show age and it was a bit maderized, but that was a positive added feature. A lot of orange flesh fruit - apricot and mango and guava. Their website says that there is a final burst of strong minerality, which seemed out of balance in the first bottle but has disappeared by now, which is a good thing.

Scholium Riquewihr.jpg
2010 Scholium Project Riquewihr Lost Slough Vineyards. I do not know if this qualifies as an oddball grape (a dry Gewurztraminer) but it is definitely a full bodied white wine. Another wine that really needed age. The last bottle I had - years ago - was bitter and out of balance, but at ten years, there is fruit emerging with the bitterness gone. White fruit - apples and pears - with a light floral component for complexity. As it took on air over 30 minutes, the fruit exploded outwards with honey and tropical fruits. The CT notes include lots of references to flaws, but I think it was simply a matter of lack of patience. IIRC, there is only a half barrel of this wine, so absent fits and starts in the bottling line, they should all be the same, and there ain’t no flaws here. The more I drink gewurztraminer, the more I am convinced that you must drink it either very young or wait a decade. This was good with the shrimp and lardons and was even better with the chicken and pork dumplings later.


Didn’t do a good job last week when I was out of town so I need to make up for it! I believe this should count for the double-dip!

2015 Domaine de L’Idylle Roussette de Savoie L’Altesse

Colour is medium gold. Aromas are rather muted, actually, although there’s a hint of grass and stone. Flavours are lemon curd, and maybe some mandarin and a hint of pineapple. Texture is creamy, surprisingly enough with this being from the Savoie. Finish is medium-short, but does have a nice tingle to it with some of the grassy and pepper notes coming out with it. This needed to warm up from fridge temperature to really show much.


Great work folks!! Keep them coming, I can see there are already multiple wines I’ll be needing to look for in 2022!

Jay…I’m calling it a double whammy! While I know Gewurztraminer is not really an “oddball” wine, Abe’s wines sure are. Great to see that a little patience really added to the wines. It’s a great reminder that sometimes, we just need to forget wines for a few years (or a decade).