Category Archives: Reviews

Friday night in BWI (Baltimore Airport) – Vino Volo

Just rolling off of a three day teach of Web Design with CSS here in Rockville, Maryland.

I find myself at Vino Volo. A chain of airport wine bars.
I decide to order the Gerwurztraminer to start because when I asked if it was dry, the waiter said “Yes”. I was surprised, I cant really find dry Gerwurz, but it’s a nice surprise when I do. Something about my brain thinking, “I smell sweet”  – when in reality it just smells Gerwurztraminer – and the result is a nice bone dry crisp sensation to mess with my head.

I order, then ask if my things would be safe while I go to the restroom. I believe them when they say it will, in this artificial outdoor patio – it’s not bad, it is an airport afterall. I like the plants, at least they are real.

After washing my hands in the bathroom, I am heading back and my pinky feels like it is feeling the air for the first time in a while. Crap – my ring.  I head back to the bathroom, and actually root around in the garbage.  You must understand, I want this ring.  I got it while touring Western Australia wine regions, in St Margaret River valley with my friend Trina. It is silver and has butterflies and grape leaves on it.

My rooting doesn’t help. I only find discarded dental floss and paper towels.

I wash my hands again, and just hope it is at the hotel, or with my luggage. I return to find my Gewurztraminer and small greens salad.

I like their offerings of small plates here. The salad has a nice variety of greens, goat cheese, cranberries. Better than airport fast food, but…not exactly stunning. I take a sip of the Gerwurtz to ease my pain.

Crap. I am not consoled. This is not a dry G. It is not bad, it is just like nectar of the gods. Its mango and pears, and rich honey – with spice. Double damn. My ring and not the wine I expected. Two disappointments in a short amount of time.

I tell the waiter when he returns and explain this is not dry. He explains that it is “fruit forward” not realizing I have been around the block. Come on servers, can you please learn a little bit more and try not to make shit up? So a bit of a ding to Vino Volo for not training your staff. (by the way – I will be training the staff for a restaurant in Pittsburgh soon – very stoked and will update you on this)

Although I am moody, I am not a bitch, so I just explain to the guy that its pretty rare to find a dry G while out and about and I should have realized. He offers to refund my money but I think to myself, I should have taken a bigger gulp. I tell him nevermind,
it is an okay wine just not what I has asked for.   (Plus its my favorite number – $11)

Called hotel. Hopefully they will call me tomorrow with my ring. (hoping it is in my bag)

Distracted by woman behind me speaking a mixture of Spanish and English. Loudly. I find myself trying to practice my Spanish by listening in. Crap. Headphones. Girl Talk. Ozzy and Jay-Z…..nice.

Okay – a few minutes later and I’m much better. Wine and tunes.

I ordered the flight of reds.

The Chilean wine has a great nose. Here is my take: berries, chocolate, green pepper.
I take it in before looking…it IS a Cab Franc!, along with Carmenere.
Very tasty.  Oveja Negra…Maule Valley 2010 $21  Hmmm…prices have risen.
Really like, but price to excitement ratio is a bit off for me

The Spanish wine is not quite as aromatic, but still nice. Cherries and berries. Nice and DRY. I guess tempranillo and look – yippee! But a touch of Cabernet makes this one a bit more approachable for me. Soft oak, just a touch. Really well rounded.
Bodegas Victorianas, Tempranillo, Santana 2009 – $19
Would totally buy this, if I were allowed to bring wine into PA.

Liking the tacos side dish they have with this. I miss my husband. He is a chef. His favorite dish is tacos.

Okay – Im guessing the Argentinian wine is Malbec based on what they have done so far.  I peek, it is. I’m a cheater sometimes. But not at Words With Friends. I swear Joe and Amanda!!! But man, the aroma is throwing me off. It reminds me of the pool when I was younger. Not super strong chlorine, but a slight whiff of it. WTF is that? I swirl and jam my nose in there. Concrete. Okay – the pool in my town, I recall the concrete – have a scar on my knee from jumping out and away from the local pervert. Let’s call this “chalky” and sound a bit more like a wine professional.

Luckily a swig of this does NOT remind me of being in a pool. Very very plummy as I’d expect from a Malbec, with nice oak, not harsh. With the tacos the fruit is SUPER nice.
Argentina,  Bodega San Polo, Malbec, Piuquenes, 2010 $23 I pass back again the Spanish Tempranillo has turned carmel-ly as I finish off my taco. YUMMY.  The Argentina wine doesn’t quite go with the creamy coleslaw, but hey it okay.

What is this? I think, I think i have a smile on my face!
Thank you wine! You and Girl Talk have improved my mood.

Thank you loud yapping Spanish speaking girl behind me, for inspiring the World Value Reds from Spain, Argentina, and Chile. Not a bad deal for $7.

Chile wins on aroma,  Spain wins on finish!

They have a flourless chocolate cake. Hmm? I ask if they have a Port. No, but a French “port-style”. I guess I have to since I’m finally writing a review…




Aroma? Not much. Swirl. Um…like a fresh first aid kit. Yikes!

But like many dessert wines, the aroma has nothing to do with the the sugary sweetness which coats my tongue, much better than licking swabs. A bit drying though.
France, M. Chapoutier, Grenache, Banyuls, 2009

Ooooh. some Hoover? Im either getting drunk or just everything is coming together.

Lovely lovely flourless chocolate cake – and that sauce, a nice soury sweet raspberry sauce. Man, this sweety Grenache just totally sets it all off.

Im thinking of our V-Day dinner and dessert choices. YUM.



Grape Thoughts in London!

Ah, the economy of wine in Europe!

Read on and you might find yourself a new wine to try – that is AFFORDABLE – and ready to drink now!

I just bought a bottle of Negroamaro Zinfadel from Puglia at the grocery store. Cost was 3 bottles for £12 or currently, $18.74 – So, about $6.25 for this bottle.

Dont let the price fool you. It was VERY YUMMY. How’s that for snobby description?

I was curious about this varietal. I had never had it, and it reminds me of an industry wine tasting that I attended last week in San Francisco, Uexpected Grapes from Unexpected Places. More to come on that fantastic affair of interesting grapes from all over California. Spoiler alert – I found a US grown Grüner Veltliner!

So, the first thing I did with this Negroamaro Zinfadel was – open the bottle! A screwcap, and if that bothers you – GROW UP. Plenty of good wines come with screw capped bottles these days. And this was no exception.

This is my first blend that includes Negroamaro and I am impressed!
As the name implies, it is definitely black and inky. So much so that it reminds me of a Petit Syrah I had in Napa. (Can’t wait to tell you about that trip, can you tell?)

I would love to show you this color, but my camera is broken!  But isn’t it pretty?

Broken camera – psychedelic wine
Side note – the psychedellic colors made this 15Meg! Its compressed here.

Luckily – or not – my cameraphone does have a second mode, facing towards me and the bottle. It is reversed, funny to see myself reversed horizontally.

Me, and a yummy bottle of Negromaro Zinfadel

I found it had the nice jamminess of Zin, yet the Negromaro gave it a nice spicy balance. I tasted a 2009, and the tannins were soft and it was VERY drinkable. Dark plummy fruits, and lots of berries. I sensed some chocolate, and was so sad I ate my only London chocolate! (its so different here!). The wine  did not change too much after opening. Recommended cellaring is maxed at 2-3 years, but I would not push it.

So, then I researched the wine.  When I learned that Negroamaro is more commonly used in blends with Malvasia Nera, Sangiovese or Montepulciano I was doubly excited. How often would I find this in Pennsylvania? Never! Although there ARE Negroamaros there, that are INEXPENSIVE! Check it! Hmmm…might have to add this to a September tasting in the works…

If you are able to come across this wine, DEFINITELY give it a try. It is an extremely good value.

Negroamaro is pretty much exclusive to the Puglia region of Italy, specifically Salento, which you KNOW where it is. Its the “heel” of Itlay!

Some say the “Maro” portion means “bitter” but others think the translation is from ancient Greek ‘maru’ also meaning black. This wine may have been brought to Italy 7th century BC!

Another thing this wine taught me, is about the “EU vine pull scheme”.
Apparently, the vineyard area for Negroamaro fell from 31000 hectares in 1990 to just under 17000 in 2000.
This was done to reduce the glut of wine and increase the demand.

How rude!

Or maybe it was a good thing. As inexpensive as this very drinkable wine is, it might lead to binge drinking!

If anyone has any favorite places to get wine in London, or Sweden (next week’s trip), please LET ME KNOW! 🙂