An Evening with Wonderment Wine

Wonderment Wines

Wonderment Wines

Fun Sayings on the Wonderment Corks

Fun Sayings on the Wonderment Corks

I was so happy to get an invite from my friend Samuel of Redoux to try one of his new wineries that he just added to his portfolio and meet the winemaker: Stephanie Cook of Wonderment Wines.

The event was at the Jaspers in Richardson in the CityLine center. What impressed me was that Jaspers is trying to offer small wineries on their wine list that you don’t find in a lot of restaurants. Wonderment definitely qualifies.

Jaspers in Richardson

Jaspers in Richardson

Stephanie is such a delight to talk to. Her passion is single vineyard wines. I think that is fantastic! You know exactly where the grapes come from and you know who takes care of the vineyard. A lot of these vineyards are family owned.

Winemaking is not new to Stephanie. Her Dad used to make wine from Muscadine in the family laundry room when they lived in South Carolina. Luckily she left the laundry room and had the opportunity to work at Spottswoode in Napa and Spy Valley in New Zealand. In 2011, Stephanie made her first Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

I must say, that this is one of the few winery tastings that I had a hard time deciding which wine was my favorite.

Here was the line up:

2015 Las Trancas Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc, Oak Noll District, Napa Valley.

Taste: Asian pear, light peach, nectarine and lemon curd. Finish is bright grapefruit and stones. This would be my “to go” on a hot Texas day.

2013 Dr. Stan’s Pinot Noir. Just a bit about Dr. Stan’s Vineyard…It is considered a “gentleman’s vineyard”. It’s less than 1 acre and is planted with 30 + year old Pinot Noir and located in the Carneros Sonoma County American Viticultural Area.

Taste: cherry, cranberry, almonds with a spicy, earthy finish. I want a case of this!

2013 Dutton-Campbell Vineyard Pinot Noir, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma.

Taste: bramble, cranberry, dusty sour cherry with a finish of baking spices and strawberries. I love that this wine is from Green Valley. Green Valley is one of the smallest appellations in Sonoma.

2013 Bacigalupi Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma.

Taste: blueberry, blackberry, under brush with a bold finish of licorice and dark spices. A good text-book old vine Zin.

2012 Rockpile Zinfandel from the Pritchett Peaks Vineyard, Sonoma.

Taste: lush ripe black and blue fruit. The finish had a bit of eucalyptus and dark spices. It made me crave BBQ.

2013 Burton Ranch Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel, Lake County.

Taste: dark spices, rich dark fruits. Juicy mouth feel but very balanced and didn’t have that over the top alcohol burn that some Zinfandel wines get. Great!

2013 Bacigalupi Vineyard Petite Sirah, Russian River Valley, Sonoma.

Taste: stewed plums, tobacco, cocoa, blackberry. A bold wine with an elegant finish that was surprising. I don’t drink a lot of Petite Sirah because it fatigues my palate and I feel like I have bowl of overripe fruit weighing me down. This one was so delightful and kept its varietal integrity.

This was a fantastic evening and I’m so delighted that I made the acquaintance of a winemaker that has a focus on single vineyard wines.

Part of the mission statement of Wonderment Wines: “represent intelligent effort, value and balance which create a sense of “Wonder”….

Winemaker, Stephanie Cook of Wonderment Wines

Winemaker, Stephanie Cook of Wonderment Wines

Cheers to you, Stephanie!

Lori – Your Twisted Sommelier

P.S. all of the photos are courtesy of Asher Swan






The Chardonnay Experiment

A couple of weeks ago I decided to do a class on Chardonnay to teach people that it has a very versatile flavor profile depending on how it is treated, and if you are a man, you don’t have to “turn in your man card” if you drink it.

So some of the “Twisted Peeps” and I gathered for class. This actually happened on 2 separate occasions and not every class had the same wines. But I’m condensing it to one so this post won’t be so long…

The 1st Chardonnay was a 2010 Domaine L. Chatelain from Chablis. The alc level is 13%. I do not believe it was aged in oak barrels. Chablis is a small area in the Northern part of Burgundy in France. It is a very light wine with citrus and mineral elements. I found it to be very delightful for Summer and a couple of people thought it would be a good all around wine to serve at a party with light cheeses and seafood. A few Peeps thought it was sort of steely, or almost metallic, and some thought it so boring it needed food.

The 2nd was a 2010 Four Vines, Santa Barbara County called Naked. It is done in stainless steel tanks. You can find it in most restaurants. It is fruit forward with pineapple, pear, and cantaloupe elements. The alc level is 13.9%, which gives it body to handle different foods. The class really liked it and some said it had a “bubbly” feel. Even though it was popular with a lot of folks, some said it sort of became harsh as it warmed up.

The 3rd was a gamble. I took a store employee’s suggestion when I told him I needed a buttery Chardonnay. So I tried a 2010 River Road from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. The alc level is 13.7%.  At first I really liked it even though it was not as buttery as I wanted. Some people liked it immediately and said it was fruity and spicy. As it warmed up, I thought it was becoming forgettable because it was losing the butter aspect. When I looked it up, it said it was done 40% in barrel and 60% in stainless..that’s maybe why it was only faintly buttery to me.

The 4th was a 2008 Ukiah Cellars from Mendocino County. The alc level is 13.8%. It was done in stainless using the Sur Lies method. Which is where the juice is in contact with the grape particles and yeast for a period of time. It gives the wine a creaminess and brings out a more bread flavor. To me this wine had apple and melon elements. Only a few folks liked it, and one person actually had a mild allergic reaction to it. Her sinus’ started to bother her. She really liked the wine, but it didn’t like her.

The final wine was a 2010 Rodney Strong Chardonnay from Chalk Hill, which is a small American Viticulture Area in Sonoma. The alc level is 14.5%. It was a favorite with a lot of people. It is very toasty vanilla, apple, pear and butter with a high alcohol level that could handle a ribeye. It was also done “Sur Lie” and aged in oak barrels, which made this wine robust.

I hope after I did my “experiment”…I didn’t confuse you Twisted Peeps too much. I just know that there are a lot of choices when it comes to styles of Chardonnay and people who belong to the “ABC Club” (Anything But Chardonnay) are missing out on some good wine. Remember…”life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death”.

Drink up y’all!