Bordeaux-style Whites & Rhône-style Reds from Nottingham Cellars & Vasco Urbano Wine Company

Hi everyone, and Happy #WineWednesday!  IThis week, I’m sharing my May 2018 Nottingham Cellars and Vasco Urbano Wine Company wine club shipments as well as tasting the 2017 Nottingham Cellars Chardonnay from the Karl Wente Vineyard.  Cheers!


The Nottingham Cellars & Vasco Urbano Wine Company wine clubs send shipments 4 times a year — February, May, August, November – and there are 12, 6, and 3-bottle membership options.  The monthly cost depends on the wines included in the shipment, but usually it ranges from $95-$130.

The wines mentioned were:

Question of the Day: Do you tend to prefer the Bordeaux varieties, like those from Nottingham Cellars, or the Rhône varieties, like those from Vasco Urbano Wine Company?

Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09: 4 and 3.5 Cork Wines

As I mentioned in Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09, the Wine Bloggers’ Conference attendees had a chance to taste 11 different wines, each within a 5 minute timeframe—a speeding date with wine, if you will. Thank you to all of the wineries that participated. We may not have had a chance to spend a lot of time with your wine, but we all certainly enjoyed the time we had.

Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of every bottle; however, these wines are ones that I would definitely like to spend more time getting to know.

4 Corks

For some reason, I felt particularly rushed when tasting both of these wines. I wish I had a few more minutes to really play with them, but my first impressions left me wanting more.

2006 Clif Bar Gary’s Improv Syrah (winery)
It had nice, strong black fruit flavors, good spiciness, and strong tannins.

2007 Cline Ancient Vines Mourvèdre (winery)
This wine was dominated by spice flavors, mostly cloves, that mixed with black cherries and plums. There were good tannins, and the wine had a nice finish.

3.5 Corks

2005 Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Rockaway Pinot Noir (vineyard)
The 2005 is the first vintage of this wine, and although it wasn’t quite there for me at this stage, it has potential. There were nice raspberry and cherry flavors, but the wine was a little too “hot” and a little too young to be worth $75. If you see it at a lower price point, though, don’t hesitate to grab it.

2005 Snows Lake Two (vineyard)
The Snows Lake Two is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 28% Cabernet Franc grapes. The wine was a deep purple, with big legs, and it tasted of dark berries and cedar, with a touch of plums. The tannins were soft and balanced well with the acidity and the body. Honestly, it felt more Cab Franc dominated than it actually was. Overall, this wine would be a good choice, particularly paired with food.

2007 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (vineyard)
The wine rep explained that this Cab was trying to be approachable but complex, and I definitely thought it put forward a good effort. The wine was very purple with a nice, creamy berry flavor and a touch of smoke. The body was surprisingly light, and at $13, it seemed like a good wine for a glass after work.

2007 Foggy Bridge Chardonnay (winery)
$18 suggested retail
According to the wine rep, this Chardonnay tries to bridge the gap between oaked and unoaked Chards. 50% of the grapes are barrel fermented, while the rest are put in stainless steel. Additionally, while they don’t have the certification yet, the vineyard hopes to be organically certified by next year. The wine itself had butter, grapefruit, lime, and mineral notes. The woman sitting next to me also mentioned the taste of toasted marshmallow, which I noticed once she pointed it out. Overall, I expected the wine to have stronger flavor characteristics because it underwent malolactic fermentation, but it actually was surprisingly light and crisp. At $18, this is an enjoyable wine that is definitely worth a glass (or two).

Speedy Wine Tasting at the WBC09

Someone at WBC09 described the Live Blogging Wine Tasting event as “speed dating” with wine. For each wine, we had 5 minutes to talk with the representative (usually the winemaker), ask questions, taste the wine, and take notes before the next representative was at our table to start the process all over again. I tasted 11 wines total during the speed tasting. The comparison to speed dating was perfect because 5 minutes was enough time for a quick introduction, a little flirting, and a decision as to whether or not there was enough interest for a follow-up, but definitely not enough time to learn everything there was to offer or to really get a detailed impression. For me, though, there were a couple of differences, mainly that I tried to take pictures and to tweet during the event. I would never do (or at least openly do) either of those things during speed dating. That said, although I took a number of pictures, most of them didn’t turn out, and anyone who follows me on Twitter (@Alleigh) knows that I quickly abandoned my attempt to Tweet in order to spend a little more quality time with the wine.

With that in mind, here is a quick overview of how I rated each wine in this post. In an effort to keep this organized and make my notes more searchable in the future, I’m going to put my tasting notes in separate posts that are organized by rating level.

5 Corks
2005 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (

4.5 Corks
2007 Benovia Winery Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir (vineyard)—$55

4 Corks
2006 Clif Bar Gary’s Improv Syrah (winery)—$35
2007 Cline Ancient Vines Mouvedre (

3.5 Corks
2005 Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Rockaway Pinot Noir (vineyard)—$75
2005 Snows Lake Two (
2007 Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (
2007 Foggy Bridge Chardonnay (

3 Corks
2007 Lion’s Pride Pinot Noir (website)—$35
2007 Tandem Chardonnay (

2.5 Corks
2007 Line 39 Petite Sirah (website)—$10
NV Pinot Evil Pinot Noir (