Cliffs Wine Picks – Nov 17, 2014 to Dec 13, 2014

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2007 Saxum Broken Stones

2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige

2009 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una

 

 

Due to unpacking from a move from Wisconsin to South Carolina, some of these notes are short with very little background information.

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $35.00

Villa Creek is one of my favorite wineries.  This wine along with their Avenger wine are my favorites they produce.  The winery produces several very nice red wines, most of them being innovative blends from the big name vineyards in the Paso Robles area.  Besides the reds, they also produce a very nice white Rhone styled wine and a good Rosé.  The winery is worth the effort of tracking down a few bottles either locally or through their website.

 

This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and is closed with a Stelvin LUX+ stopper.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best.  The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars.  Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage.  The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water.  In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache.  They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very alluring nose has cherries, black raspberries, cola, warm baking spices, white pepper, violets, stony minerals, touch of pine needles, and some earthiness.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy, peppery cherries grab hold first, slowly allowing some minerals and earthiness to slip into focus.  The finish has very nice length with a nice blend of fruit and savory elements.  This has exceptional balance and should drink well for at least another 3 or 4 years.  (93 pts)

2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard – $33.00

This is another of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced.  Thus far, every one has been outstanding.  This one is a Grenache from the Russell Family Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

This has 14.9% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

 

I’d made about 3 trips around the booths at the tasting without finding a single good Pinot Noir.  So, being the open minded person that I am (remember I passed him up 3 times), I stopped at the Cottonwood booth.  I was BLOWN away by Norm’s 1990 Santa Maria Pinot Noir.  After a few years of attending every Cottonwood event and asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking, he offered to let come learn the process during the ’97 crush.  I checked sugar levels, picked, crushed, punched down, pressed, filled barrels, and generally moved a bunch of stuff around with fork lifts and pallet jacks!  It was the time of my life… I was totally hooked.  And even though I hadn’t planned it, I ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir.  That was the start of the Loring Wine Company.  What had started out as a dream 15 years earlier was now a reality – I was a winemaker!

 

My Tasting Note

Bright red color with a slight ruby tint.  The comforting nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, raspberries, roasted leafy herbs, licorice, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate this is rich and lush with juicy cherries, berries and spice up front with raspberries and white pepper kicking in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with roasted herbs adding some complexity.  This is fairly ripe and juicy but with nice acidity holding everything together.  I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar for too long, but it should drink nicely for at least the next few years.  (91 pts)

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Saxum Broken Stones – $45.00

We shared this bottle with some friends so I did not have an opportunity for a good tasting note.  Suffice it to say, this was an absolutely stunning bottle of wine and a steal at the (at that time) price of only $45.  If you have this wine in your cellar, enjoy it now or over the next several years.

2007 Saxum Broken Stones

2007 Saxum Broken Stones

 

 

 

2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige – $15.99

This wine is a custom cuvee produced by Château Puech-Haut, Philippe Cambie and Eric Soloman, exclusively for the United States.  This is a blend of 55% Grenache from 60 to 75 year old vines and 45% Syrah from 40 year old vines.  After fermentation, the wine was aged in concrete vats.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The very open and giving nose is full of black raspberries, chalky minerals, potpourri, cherries, earthy underbrush, pencil shavings and dried herbs.  This has a fairly full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  Chalky minerals and berries immediately coat the palate, slowly allowing dried herbs, pencil shavings and dried herbs to slip in.  The long finish adds a nice dried floral note.  This does show just a touch of alcohol on the finish but that is a minor quibble.  (91 pts)

2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige

2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige

 

 

 

2009 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una – $40.84

The local store brought time in and put it on the shelf at a great price.  On Cellar Tracker, the average cost for this wine was close to $55.  Not one to question great values, I grabbed a few bottles.

 

This has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The very approachable nose has cherry, raspberry, baking spices, licorice, violets, minerals and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  This offers up nice juicy red fruit and spice up front with  minerals and some subtle earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with tart cherries seeming to last forever.  (93 pts)

2009 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una

2009 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Nov 10, 2014 to Nov 16, 2014

 

 

2012 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County Pinot Noir

2012 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah

2011 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Hess Select

2009 Tait The Ball Buster

2009 Copain Syrah Tous Ensemble

2009 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard

2003 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard

 

 

Due to a fast approaching move from Wisconsin to South Carolina, some of the wines have minimal information other than my tasting note.

 

 

2012 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County – $13.99

 

The wine has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red to ruby color.  The attractive nose has raspberries, baking spices, cherries, hazelnuts, vanilla and subtle earthiness.  This has medium body with soft tannins and very nice acidity.  Tart berries and spice hit first on the palate with vanilla and a nice earthy streak coming in later.  The finish has nice length with tart fruit and spice carrying the load.  This is a very nice Pinot Noir to dress up a week night dinner table.  (89 pts)

2012 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County Pinot Noir

2012 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County

 

 

 

2012 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah – $9.99

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume, the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, black pepper, dried herbs and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries and black pepper jump out first with dark chocolate and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note entering the picture.  This is a nice, everyday Petite Sirah to enjoy with a weeknight dinner.  (88 pts)

2012 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah

2012 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah

 

 

 

2011 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Hess Select – $16.99

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a synthetic Nomacorc.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The straight forward nose has cassis, cedar, cherries, dusty minerals, licorice and a slight green herbal note.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the cassis, cedar and minerals jump out first with some green leafy herbs coming in later.  The finish is a touch short with a noticeable green note.  (85 pts)

2011 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Hess Select

2011 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Hess Select

 

 

 

2009 Tait The Ball Buster – $13.59

 

This is a blend of 73% Shiraz, 15% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s Barossa Valley.

 

This wine has 15.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cedar, cherries, vanilla, road tar, dark chocolate and dried wild flowers.  The wine has a full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate, tart berries and cherries jump out first with vanilla and cedar coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note entering the picture.  (89 pts)

2009 Tait The Ball Buster

2009 Tait The Ball Buster

 

 

 

2009 Copain Syrah Tous Ensemble – $20.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, melted licorice, smoked meat, stony minerals, black pepper, violets and dried herbs.  This medium bodied wine has moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Rich berries, minerals and smoked meat jump out first on the palate with pepper and dried herbs coming through later.  The finish has nice length with a nice violet element coming into the picture.  This is in a prime drinking window but should hold for a few years.  An outstanding value.  (91 pts)

2009 Copain Syrah Tous Ensemble

2009 Copain Syrah Tous Ensemble

 

 

 

2009 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard – $30.40

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The nose is full of crushed blackberries, dark chocolate, freshly ground espresso, black pepper, dried violets, vanilla and chalky minerals.  This has a full body with moderate, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Ripe berries, espresso and dark chocolate coat the palate slowly allowing black pepper and minerals to slip into the picture.  The finish has nice length with vanilla and dried violets coming into play.  Not an every day wine, but you can pull out the beast once in a while for a wild ride.  (92 pts)

2009 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard

2009 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard

 

 

 

2003 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard – $35.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a brilliant ruby red color.  The spellbinding nose has cassis, melted licorice, dried herbs, dusty minerals, cedar, warm baking spices, white pepper and violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Rich cassis, minerals and dried herbs grab hold of your palate immediately, slowly allowing spicy oak and baking spices to slip into the picture.  The finish has very nice length with white pepper and a nice floral note emerging.  This has superb balance and is in a great drinking window.  (94 pts)

2003 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard

2003 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Nov 3, 2014 to Nov 9, 2014

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys’ Vineyard

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard

 

 

Due to a fast approaching move from Wisconsin to South Carolina, some of the wines have minimal information other than my tasting note.

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and this uses a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge.  He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892.  This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility.  At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard.”

 

In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s.  From these vines — now the “middle vineyard”— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of “estate” cabernet.  That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California’s finest wines of the era.  Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and ’61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage.

 

The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge.  This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel.  The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres.  Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity.  By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership.  A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist.  His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward “hands off” approach pioneered at Ridge.  Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established.  Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage.  Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.

 

Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This is in a very nice drinking window and should hold for at least a few more years.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $12.99

In my ongoing quest to build up a stash of under $15 Pinot Noirs for week night dinners, this is my next candidate.  It looks like I got a great deal on a couple bottles since the average price on Cellar Tracker is almost $10 a bottle higher.  The more I drink Oregon Pinot Noir wines, the more I like them.  They are nice alternatives to the riper, rounder California versions that populate my wine cellar.

 

This has 13.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The mysterious nose has black cherries, smoke, minerals, earthy underbrush, warm baking spices, dried flowers and just a touch of nice funk.  This is barely medium body with silky tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spices and cherries jump out first with minerals, smoke and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with cherries and spice carrying the load.  This isn’t the most complex Pinot out there but is a winner for under $15.  (89 pts)

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese – $10.44

 

This wine has 8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a synthetic nomacorc.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very satisfying nose has apples, honey, petrol, orange blossoms, orange zest and crushed stone minerals.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and good residual sweetness.  On the palate honey dipped apples jump out immediately with orange zest and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish have good length and shows great balance between the acidity and sweetness.  There’s no hurry to drink this one, it can last in the cellar for a decade, maybe longer.  (91 pts)

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

 

 

 

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – $24.92

 

This wine has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The appealing nose has black cherries, raspberries, dusty minerals, baking spices, vanilla, wildflowers and subtle underbrush.  This has medium to full body with soft tannins and good acidity.  Rich, spicy fruit engulfs the palate with minerals and a nice floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a bit of earthiness and vanilla joining the sweet fruit.  This is very easy to drink.  (89 pts)

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon – $40.00

This is a blend of 57% Santa Cruz County Syrah and 43% Monterey County Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

This wine has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 7 barrels of this wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, cassis, vanilla, dried herbs, stony minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, cracked black peppercorns and dried violets.  The wine has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and nice acidity.  Big fruit and minerals jump out first on the palate with dried herbs and vanilla coming in later.  The full flavored finish adds some dark chocolate and black pepper.  This is a beast but the tannins and acidity keep it in check, at least for now.  (93 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

 

 

 

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys’ Vineyard – $29.99

This was a very easy wine to buy in bulk, one of my favorite wineries, one of my favorite grapes and one of my favorite vineyards.

 

This wine has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Our winemaking goal is to produce wines that best capture the distinct flavor and character of a given vineyard site.  To that end, we focus on sites that provide us with exceptional fruit.  We are fanatical in our protection of the vineyard flavor and are determined not to let any overt winemaking components mute the personality of an individual site.

 

In the cellar, we vinifiy each wine separately by block, clone and barrel type in order to maximize the individual components and provide greater complexity to the final blend.  This approach also provides us with much more flexibility in crafting a wine using only the best and most harmonious lots.

 

Given that the majority of our wines are single vineyard offerings, it is critical for us to maintain the site’s individual character in order to provide you with a truly diverse offering of wines.  To that end:

 

  • We believe in minimal intervention, “gentle” winemaking.  In other words, we let the wine make itself.  We do not want to do anything to the wine that isn’t absolutely necessary.
  • We believe in bottling our wines unfiltered and unfined whenever possible, convinced as we are that fining and filtering strip wines of flavor and character.
  • We believe that the best wines express their origins.  Our goal is not to produce the world’s best Syrah or Zinfandel but rather to produce the very best wine from a given site.

 

Much more information on Novy and the wines they produce is available on their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberries, licorice, smoked meat, pepper, baking spices, blueberry, dried herbs, minerals and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Spicy fruit with a nice meaty presence grabs hold of your palate with pepper and some earthiness coming in later.  This has a nice lingering finish which again highlights the meaty elements with chocolate and fruit in the background providing nice sweetness.  This is very nice with impressive balance.  (93 pts)

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys' Vineyard

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys’ Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard – $34.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The alluring nose has brambly berries, black cherries, crushed stones, vanilla, dried herbs, black pepper, dark chocolate and dried flowers.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate berries, cherries, spice and dark chocolate jump out first with pepper and vanilla coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dried herbs and a dried floral note entering the picture.  This is drinking very nicely today but should hold for a couple more years.  (91 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

 

Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.

 

 

carlisle_title

 

Overview

I generally refrain from selecting a wine as my Wine of the Week that is not generally available.  This is a wine that is generally only available to those of us fortunate enough to be on the winery’s mailing list.  Add to that, the wine is several vintages old, making it even harder to buy.  That said, even though this wine has sold out long ago through the winery and didn’t make it onto your local wine store’s shelf, it’s still available.  The wine makes rather frequent appearances on winebid.com.  This bottle was purchased via Wine Bid to supplement the bottles I was able to get via the winery’s mailing list.  A quick check this morning shows a bottle on the Wine Bid site with no current bids.  You may be able to snag the bottle for the starting bid price of $35.

 

I wanted to check in on this wine again.  I had a bottle a couple years ago and felt it needed some cellar time.  What’s a better time to open a big red then a cold November day in Wisconsin and to pair it with a thick rib-eye hot and juicy off the grill?

 

 

The Winery

In the winery’s words – We are a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.

 

Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.

 

In my words – This is the one mailing list you have to join.  Mike Officer makes some of the best wines coming out of California and sells them at incredibly reasonable prices.  I was lucky to be an early fan of the winery and was able to join the mailing list immediately.  For the unlucky people who were not able to jump on early, the mailing list is full.  The winery actually has a waiting list to get on the mailing list.  No one can accurately say how long it will actually take to move from the waiting list to the mailing list for one very good reason…no one, or probably more accurately, very few people drop off the list.  These are usually outstanding wines and with their pricing, these are some of the best QPR wines out there.

 

Much more information on the winery, their wines and access to their mailing list is available by clicking here.

 

Yorkville Highlands

 

Here is a picture of the Yorkville Highlands

courtesy of the Yorkville Highlands Growers & Vintners Association.

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands – $34.50

This wine is 100% Petite Sirah.  The wine was aged in French oak barrels, 28% of which were new.  The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.  The wine was released in November 2009 and the winery is sold out of this wine.  Like I noted above, this wine makes fairly frequent appearances on the Wine Bid site.

 

The wine has 14.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  The total production of this wine was only 152 cases.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, midnight purple color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, cracked black peppercorns, road tar, blueberries, camphor, minerals, licorice, dried flowers, dark chocolate and some earthiness.  The wine is full bodied with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate is full of rich fruit and peppery spices on the front end with minerals, dark chocolate and flowers coming in later.  The finish is long and full of sweet fruit and spice.  This is drinking very nicely and should hold and potentially improve for several years.  This is not a big, massively extracted Petite Sirah, this would make a very civilized and well-mannered guest on your dinner table.  (93 pts)

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Oct 27, 2014 to Nov 2, 2014

 

 

2012 Schug Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi

2009 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Dead Letter Office

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

 

 

 

2012 Schug Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $19.79

I decided to take a shot on this one when I was it on a local wine store’s shelf.  Early reviews called 2012 a great, can’t miss vintage.  Unfortunately I have tried more than a few misses over the last several months.  That said, a 2012 Pinot Noir with the Sonoma Coast appellation on the label for under $20 is worthy of a tryout.

 

This 100% Pinot Noir uses grapes from the following vineyards, 43% Ricci; 20% Stage Gulch; 13% Sangiacomo; 12% Schug Estate, 8% Iund and 4% La Prenda.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a synthetic Nomacorc.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red to ruby color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spice, earthy underbrush, dusty minerals and dried flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  Tart cherries, spice and minerals hit the palate first with earthy underbrush dominating the back end.  The finish has decent length but gets a bit muddled.  Not bad for under $20 but there are better Pinots out there for the same price.  (86 pts)

2012 Schug Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2012 Schug Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

 

 

 

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi – $26.59

This was another Long Shadows wine I was able to grab for about half off from an e-mail closeout offer from a local wine store.  This is a top notch winery and I have loved every wine of theirs I was fortunate enough to drink.

 

This wine is a blend of 45% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah.  The winemakers for this wine are Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari from one of Tuscany’s oldest and most prestigious wine families.

 

The wine has 14.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The intoxicating nose has black cherries, blackberries, licorice, dried violets, minerals, dried herbs, earthy underbrush, cedar and baking spices.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, spicy oak and spice hit on the front with minerals, dried herbs and some underbrush coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with a dried violet note entering the picture.  This has very nice balance and is built to age.  This could be even better in a few years.  (93 pts)

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi

 

 

 

2009 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Dead Letter Office – $14.88

This is another wine I was able to buy as an e-mail offer from the local wine store at a great price.  The suggested retail price for the wine is $27, so I was able to grab my bottles for close to half off.  Like I always say, it pays to support your local wine stores, besides great advice on wines you may not know, they can be the source for great values when an importer or distributor is overstocked and looks to unload some inventory.

 

This wine uses fruit from Padthaway and McLaren Vale.

 

This wine has an ABV of 14.5% and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very open and inviting nose has plums, currants, freshly ground espresso beans, vanilla, dark bittersweet chocolate, road tar, dried sage, crushed stones and dried wildflowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate, fruit and espresso jump out first with vanilla, sage and minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with some dark chocolate adds nice depth.  This is on the young side and would benefit from some time in the cellar.  (91 pts)

2009 Henry's Drive Shiraz Dead Letter Office

2009 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Dead Letter Office

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – $25.00

In my opinion, the Loring appellation wines are some of the best bargains out there when it comes to quality California Pinot Noir.  The Loring appellation wines are, at least to me, dialed down a notch compared to their single vineyard siblings.  This and the lower prices, under $25 make them a nice way to kick up a week night dinner several notches without breaking the bank.

 

This has 14.7% alcohol and is closed via a Stelvin+ screw cap.

 

Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

 

For more information, to buy wine, or to join the mailing list, visit their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color.  The alluring nose has raspberries, warm baring spices, cola, cherries, wild flowers, plums, eucalyptus, and some earthiness.  This has medium body, soft tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the baking spices and fruit jump out and take hold slowly allowing a touch of eucalyptus and earthiness to break through on the back end.  The finish has good length and adds some minerality to the fruit and spice.  (91 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.

 

 

Boudreaux Logo

 

Overview

This wine was a totally blind purchase.  This wine was offered on Garagiste Wine simply as Mystery Wine #80.  I generally avoid these “mystery” wines because I prefer to know what I’m buying.  That said, a Cabernet blend, directly from the winery of their current release (at the time of the offer), which normally sells in the $55 to $60 range for a touch under $30, was too hard to pass up.

 

The Winery (in their words)

Boudreaux Cellars is located on the Icicle River just outside of Leavenworth, Washington, four miles off the power grid (The only winery in Washington State completely self-powered). Rob relies heavily on nature in many ways to aide his winemaking. The 200 barrel cellar is completely underground, providing very constant temperatures for the somewhat extended two- and three-year barrel aging. Above ground, thick insulated walls, and propane heat when necessary, provide good wine making conditions for blending, bottling, labeling, waxing, and shipping. Gravity provides transport for wines from the press to the barrel. Blending is done in a series of tanks ranging from 225 gallon poly to 2000 gallon French oak. The site is not well-suited for grape farming although Rob is experimenting with Pinot Noir, Lemberger, and Reisling in our estate vineyard.

 

The winery is faced with local granite stone, blending it into the majestic Stuart Range setting. The drive from Leavenworth along the Icicle River is worth the trip. The spectacular wines are a bonus!

 

The site is well-suited for living deep in the Cascade Mountains in majestic surroundings and the views from the winery’s tasting room windows are spectacular. The Newsom’s log home, located next to the winery, was used extensively as a location by Warner Brothers for the Steven Segal movie, “On Deadly Ground.” as well as numerous magazine and catalogue photo shoots.

 

Much more information on the winery including some very nice photos are available on their website by clicking here.

 

 

1385423_10202322010790240_523525612_n

 

2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – $29.80 (SRP $60)

This wine is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot.  The grapes for this wine come from some of the oldest vines in these vineyards, Bacchus 23%, Champoux 4%, Dutchman 2%, Gamache 5%, Klipsun 6%, Loess 4%, Pepper Bridge 2%, Seven Hills 20%, Wallula 28% and Weinbau 6%.

 

The grapes get an cold soak and extended maceration before a cool ferment.  The wine is moved through the process in the winery’s gravity fed system.  The wine is aged for 32 months in high quality French oak before being blended in a 2000 gallon Radoux oak tank.

 

The wine has 13.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were a total of 1,050 cases of this wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  I can just sit back and keep enjoying the nose on this wine, it is full of cassis, crushed stones, cedar, mint, dried herbs, dried flowers and fresh ground espresso beans.  This has medium body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Sweet fruit and layers of savory elements roll over the palate in waves with no off notes or overpowering elements poking through or trying to steal the show.  The wine has impressive balance and equally impressive depth.  This is a winner to follow over the next decade, maybe longer.  (94 pts)

2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Two Blends from Murrieta’s Well

 

This is based on samples supplied by the winery or another organization on their behalf.

 

 

2013 Murrieta’s Well the Whip (White Blend)

2011 Murrieta’s Well the Spur (Red Blend)

 

 

Logo

 

Overview

I tried the previous vintage of these wines and enjoyed them, I’m looking forward to trying the new vintages.  These are both blends that will be different from most of your everyday wines.  Sometimes thinking (or drinking) outside the box can be a rewarding experience.

 

 

Murrieta’s Well History

Murrieta’s Well was named after the legendary bandito Joaquin Murrieta.  Joaquin roamed California during the Gold Rush era rounding up wild cattle and horses.  He would then “drive” them down to Mexico to sell to the Mexican Army.  The bubbling artesian well on the site that now is the winery was one of his popular watering spots on his journeys.  More information on this historical location is available on the Historical Marker database.

 

With a deeply rooted history, unsurpassed terroir and rich winemaking heritage, Murrieta’s Well is one of California’s original treasures.  The 92-acre Estate was originally propagated by Louis Mel in 1883 with vineyard cuttings from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux.  During the same era, he built a gravity-flow winery into the hillside adjacent to the property’s artesian well.  In 1990, Philip Wente and Sergio Traverso realized a lifelong dream to revive the historic property, and since then, the two have been crafting Estate blends that highlight the best attributes of the terroir.

 

Murrieta’s Well is part of Wente Family Estates along with Wente Vineyards and Tamás Estates.  The winery produces approximately 12,000 cases a vintage.

 

Much more of the winery’s history and additional information on these wines and others are available on their website.   The winery also has a Wine Club with nice discounts and other benefits.  Additional information is available here.

 

 

Balzac logo

These bottles were provided by Balzac Communications & Marketing.

About Balzac

BALZAC is a marketing communications agency with a no-nonsense approach to combining the strategies and tactics of marketing, public relations, advertising and graphic design to achieve the marketing goals of our clients.

 

The experience, creativity and determination of our staff distinguish BALZAC from our competition. We use these assets to develop and execute cost-effective campaigns which have won international communications awards.

The results speak for themselves.

The agency is located in Napa, California, and provides services to national, regional, and local companies based in Northern California and throughout the world.

 

For more information on Balzac, please click here.

 

 

The lineup for this tasting:

Murrieta's Well lineup

 

 

 

2013 Murrieta’s Well the Whip (White Blend) – SRP $22

This wine is an unusual blend of 28% Semillon, 24%  Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Orange Muscat, 11% Viognier, 11% Gewurztraminer and 1% White Riesling from California’s Livermore Valley.

 

All the varieties were cold fermented to preserve the natural fruit character of the grapes.  A small percentage of the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier were aged in neutral oak barrels to round out the wines and add complexity, the rest of the components were aged in stainless steel tanks.

 

The wine has 13.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  There were 338 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very enticing nose has apples, orange blossoms, melon, cantaloupe, crushed stones, peach, lychee, cantaloupe, spice, and lemon zest.  The wine has medium to full body, a creamy texture and very nice acidity.  On the palate ripe fruit and nice spice hit first with tart citrus zest popping out on the back end.  This has a long finish with nice tangy citrus making you want to grab another sip.  This is an outstanding change of pace wine if you want to try something a bit outside your normal comfort zone.  (91 pts)

2013 Murrieta's Well the Whip

2013 Murrieta’s Well the Whip

 

 

 

2011 Murrieta’s Well the Spur (Red Blend) – SRP $25.00

This wine is a blend of 31% Petite Sirah, 29% Petit Verdot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Like the Whip, the Spur is closed with a screw cap.

 

Each varietal was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 14 months in a combination of American, French, Eastern European, and neutral oak barrels.

 

There were 425 barrels of the wine produced and the final alcohol level is 13.5%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The nose is big, dark, and serious with smoke, loamy earth, berries, black cherries, minerals, plums, black pepper, licorice, dried herbs, and some underbrush.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the berries, smoke, and earthy elements hit first with plums and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length and closes with a big dash of black pepper.  This wine screams for something hot and juicy right off the grill.  (89 pts)

2011 Murrieta's Well the Spur

2011 Murrieta’s Well the Spur

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

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