Wine of the Week – 2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Rutherford

 

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.

 

 

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Name

 

 

 

This bottle of wine was a “house warming” gift from the winery.  As gifts go, this one was one of the best I have ever received.  I know the wine will be better down the road but I wanted to try the wine so I could decide how many to buy.  With the miniscule production, I didn’t want to miss out and be kicking myself in the years to come.

 

I’ve had many wines over the years from the George III Vineyard and they are usually some of my favorites.

 

 

The Winery

New Jersey natives John and Karen Troisi are the owner/vintners of Jean Edwards Cellars.  If you’re scratching your head wondering how John and Karen arrived at Jean Edwards for the name of their winery, the answer is simple, they used their middle names.  The third member of the Jean Edwards team is Kian Tavakoli, their consulting winemaker.

 

Karen and John started producing wines commercially in 2004.  The first wine they released was a 2004 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.  A few months after the wine was released, Wine Spectator asked them to supply their magazine with a sample.  A little while later, they awarded the wine 92 points.  A couple months later, Wine Spectator included them in an article titled, “Twenty new cabernet producers to watch” in their annual Cabernet issue.

 

The winery focuses their production on Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon but they added a petite sirah (also top notch) in 2012 and will introduce their first white wine with the 2014 vintage – a sauvignon blanc from Rutherford.  Yes, you read that right, a white wine!

 

Right before the earthquake the winery moved from the Michael Mondavi Winery in Carneros (it was sold) to a new state-of-the-art winery in Napa.

 

Much more information on the winery is available on their website by clicking here.  The winery is also very active on Facebook and Twitter.

 

I highly recommend joining the winery’s mailing list by clicking here.  Members of the mailing list are never under any obligation to buy a specific amount of wine to stay on the mailing list.  Members of the mailing list get a very nice “Friends and Family” discount.

 

 

The Wine (from the winery)

Our 2012 Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon comes from an historic vineyard in the heart of the Rutherford Bench.  Originally planted by BV and now owned by Beckstoffer, George III vineyard produces some of the Napa Valley’s most cherished cabernet sauvignon wines.

 

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The Vineyard (in the owner’s words)

Historical records show that a portion of this vineyard was planted in 1895 by Mrs. Thomas Rutherford.  This 300-acre parcel first purchased by Beaulieu founder Georges de Latour in 1928 and called Beaulieu Vineyard Number 3, was the home to BV’s Rutherford Cabernets made by the renowned winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff.  These wines achieved wide acclaim in the 1960’s and 70’s, establishing BV’s pre-eminence in the making of fine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Purchased by Beckstoffer Vineyards in 1988, the vineyard has since been replanted using new Cabernet Sauvignon clones with tighter spacing and advanced trellising systems, enhancing both quality and grape tonnage.  In 2009 181 acres were placed under a land conservation esement that forever prohibits non-agricultural development.  Vineyard Georges III is today home to the main offices of Beckstoffer Vineyards.

 

Much more information on this prestigious vineyard is available by clicking here.

 

 

 

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Rutherford – SRP $90

This is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Beckstoffer George III Vineyard with 2% Hossfield Vineyard Petit Verdot.  The wine was aged for 22 months in 100% French oak, 70% new and the remainder was one year old.  The total production was a miniscule 60 cases.

 

The wine has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The stunning nose is full of cassis, warm baking spices, cherries, tobacco, cedar, dusty minerals, dying wood embers, dried herbs, wildflowers and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has medium body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate rich fruit, spice and minerals immediately grab your attention, slowly allowing wood embers and cedar to slip into the picture.  The finish has very good length with tobacco and a dried herb note coming into focus.  This is incredibly young with a big tannic bite but already a worthy foil for a piece of juicy, grilled beef.  This is delicious now but will be even better as this decade draws to a close.  (96 pts)

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Rutherford

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Rutherford

 

 

Conclusion

Like they say, put up or shut up.  I very much enjoyed this wine and ordered a three pack of this wine as well as a six bottle sampler pack that included two more bottles.

 

 

 

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 2015 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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – Jan 12, 2015 to Jan 18, 2015

 

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2011 Exitus

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $13.59

This was an unfamiliar wine when I saw it on the shelf at a local wine store.  Since I had a coupon worth 20% off on “old world” wine and we always seem to be low on Italian wines, I had to grab a bottle.  Since the bottle already had a couple years of age “under its belt”, I’m hoping it’s good to go.  This wine is 90% Sangiovese, 5% Alicante, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dull ruby color with some bricking at the edge.  The pleasurable nose has cherries, dusty minerals, baking spices, underbrush, roasted herbs, vanilla bean and dried violets.  This has medium body with very good acidity and just a touch of tannins.  On the palate cherry and dusty minerals grab hold first, slowly allowing spices and roasted herbs to slip into the picture.  The finish has good length with some underbrush and a touch of dark chocolate coming in late.  This was a steal at well under $15.  (92 pts)

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $32.99

In July 2012, the store where we used to live brought this in at a great price, under $25 a bottle.  Those bottles are long gone, but when I saw this on the shelf of a store near our new home, I had to grab a bottle even though the cost was not as low.  Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries so it was nice to open something I knew she would appreciate.

 

Gnarly Dudes is made with fruit sourced from mature vineyards from the Barossa’s western ranges.

 

The lots making up this wine were crushed into and fermented in 3, 5, 7 and 10 ton open top vessels.  Three daily pump overs were performed during the peak of fermentation to extract flavor, color and tannins.  The batches were drained and pressed to tank, then racked to barrel for oak maturation where malolactic fermentation occurred.  All batches were kept separate and blended just prior to bottling.  The wine was aged 14 months in hogsheads, 11% new French oak with the balance in 1 to 4 year old French oak

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky, purple color.  The burly nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, plums, meat juices, black pepper, Asian spices, minerals, melted licorice, charcoal, and fresh wild flowers.  The wine is medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there are loads of spicy, smoky, meaty berries with plums and dark chocolate coming in on the back end to add even more depth.  The finish is long, juicy, and flavorful.  A seamless, balanced, full flavored Shiraz with no rough edges.  Enjoyable now and for the next five years.  (94 pts)

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $33.60

This wine is 100% Grenache from the Denner Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

This is the first year Villa Creek used concrete vats for a portion of the Grenache, which was fermented with 50% whole clusters. The other two lots were fermented in steel and aged in 500 liter barrels, 50% new.

 

The wine has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with wax coating.  There were 360 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color with a ruby tint.  The sensuous nose has ripe cherries, crushed stone minerals, plums, licorice, dried herbs, dried flowers and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the ripe cherries and stony minerals jump out quickly with dried herbs and dried earth coming in later.  The finish is long and lingering with licorice and a nice floral note entering the picture and adding good depth.  This is very easy to drink now and should provide plenty of pleasure over the next couple of years.  (93 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast – $39.99

Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries so I have to grab a bottle or two any time I see them on a store’s shelf.  I bought this bottle at the same time I grabbed the Gnarly Dudes also on this post.

 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s McLaren Vale region.

 

The lots that went into this wine were crushed into and fermented in open top vessels.  There were three daily pump overs to extract flavors, color and tannins.  The average time ‘on skins’ was 14 days.  The batches were then drained and pressed to tank and then racked to barrel for oak maturation.  The wine was aged 14 months in hogsheads: 12% new French oak, balance in one to four year old French oak.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The relaxing nose has ripe cassis, licorice, baking spices, pencil shavings and a hint of roasted herbs.  This has a medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Ripe, rich fruit and spice coat the palate on the front end with a bit of roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has good length with pencil shavings and a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This wine is very easy to drink and enjoy.  (90 pts)

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

2011 Exitus – $9.49

A local wine store had this opened for a tasting.  The wine had a suggested price of $25.99, which far exceeded its value.  To me the wine was simply an easy drinking wine to enjoy with friends at the end of an evening.  For their event price of $9.99, the wine seemed to be fairly priced, so I grabbed a couple bottles.

 

This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah from Monterey, 31% Merlot from Monterey and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon from California.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle was sealed with an artificial cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a deep ruby to purple color.  The comforting nose has blackberries, roasted herbs, cherries, white pepper, licorice and subtle earthiness.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate ripe fruit and spice jump out first with roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  The wine leaves a slightly sweet final impression on the palate.  (87 pts)

2011 Exitus

2011 Exitus

 

 

 

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

 

 

I decided to try something different to pair with the Ridge Geyserville.  I have a pellet grill that I use to smoke meat and decided to see how a chicken would turn out.  I started with a five to six pound whole fryer.  After brining it overnight in water with kosher salt and brown sugar, I rinsed it off with cold water, patted it dry and coated it with my spice rub.  The bird then went into the pellet grill for 6 hours at 180 degrees.  For the last hour, I upped the temperature to 225.

Chicken - Before

 

Here is the finished chicken.  It was very tender and extremely juicy with just a touch of spice from the dry rub and it had a very nice smoky aroma and taste.  The chick and the wine worked very nicely together.

Chicken - After

 

 

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 2015 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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – 2012 St. Amant Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

 

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.

 

 

St Amant Logo

 

Overview

In the past, I have been lucky enough to be included in a few online tastings featuring wines from some of the small, family owned wineries of Lodi.  During a couple of the events, wines from St. Amant were included in the groups.  The wines caught my attention as wines worthy of being “hunted down”.  A couple weeks ago, I saw this wine on the shelf at a local wine store and immediately grabbed a couple bottles.

 

If your knowledge of wines from Lodi is based on a taste of a large production wine from a giant winery, you owe it to yourself to check out the outstanding wines being produced in a much smaller quantity by the smaller artisan wineries in the region.

 

 

The Winery

St. Amant was founded in 1981 by Tim Spencer and his wife, Barbara St. Amant Spencer.  The couple started out by grafting over two acres of Zinfandel vines to the Portuguese varieties, Avarelhao, BastardoSouzao, Tinta Cao and Touriga Nacional.  Eventually other European grapes were added like Tempranillo and Barbera.

 

In 1992 the winery began working with the Lodi Winegrape Commission to produce single-vineyard, small production wines for them to market the region.  At that point, virtually no Lodi labeled wines were being made and the Commission wanted to showcase the quality of Lodi vineyards by demonstrating their potential with small artisan winemaking.

 

In 1996 after a legal battle with their landlord, the family had to quickly move the winery to a new location.  They found a place in Lodi, and setup shop at the old Guild Winery.  This was a post prohibition era winery, built in the late 1930’s.  It was anything but picturesque, but it was functional, and allowed the family to continue making wines.

 

The winery released their first Lodi “branded” Zinfandel wine in 1997, as they say, the rest is history.

 

It was also at this time the family vineyard was dying of phyloxera.  When the vineyard dies in a winery that makes wine from the grapes they grow, it could be a problem if not a catastrophe.  At that point Tim Spencer worked out a deal with the Lodi Winegrape Commission – if a grower brought them 2 tons of grapes, they would make the wine, give them 25 cases, and keep the balance for themselves.  They had numerous growers take them up on the offer.  One day Jerry Fry showed up with 7 tons of beautiful Old Vine Zinfandel grapes.  Tim didn’t know what to do, he didn’t have the money to pay for the grapes, and they had no idea how the wine would turn out.  Jerry told him not to worry about it, that they would work it out later.  The winery ended up bottling 450 cases of that first vintage.  It won a bunch of awards, sold out quickly, and has since grown to be their most popular wine.

 

Much more information about the winery, family and their wines is available by clicking here.

 

 

From the winery, in their words

Upon entering our winery a visitor once remarked, “Oh! This doesn’t look like a winery.” My dad quickly replied, “There are tanks, barrels, picking bins, and cases of wine. What is a winery supposed to look like?” She replied, “You know, picnic tables, t-shirts, gift items!” He retorted, “Lady! I think you will be much happier visiting somewhere else, and I know I will!”

 

While my father may not have attended the Disney school of customer service, his point was that our winery was built to make wine, not entertain guests with “non-wine” experiences. Our winery was built with the express intent of making the best wines possible. Although we’re housed in an old industrial winery, where the drain tends to be the highest point in the room, we’ve built our winery to produce exceptional quality hand-crafted wines.

 

We make all our wines on site. From crushing to bottling, the wines never leave our control. We do everything by hand, in small lots, and by a few people. This gives us an intimate understanding of each vineyard, each vintage, and each lot of wine so that we can consistently produce original hand-crafted wines.

 

 

The Vineyard (from the winery)

Mohr-Fry Ranch is farmed by our good friends Jerry and Bruce Fry. The father and son team is responsible for managing the family’s diversified farming operation that includes winegrapes and heirloom beans. The family has been farming in California for over 150 years, and their vineyards are the source of our most popular wine – Mohr-Fry Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel.

 

Their home ranch sits directly south of the city of Lodi, on a beautiful 225 acre ranch comprised of 9 separate blocks of own-rooted Old Vine Zinfandel dating back to 1901. We source grapes from multiple vineyard blocks planted between 1901 and 1945. All of them are head-trained and planted on their own roots in very sandy soils. In our opinion, these vineyards produce some of California’s best Zinfandel wines, consistently ripening beautiful grapes.

 

 

This vineyard was one of the first “certified” vineyards under the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing.  The Lodi Rules takes a comprehensive approach to address the overall health of the vineyard and ecosystem.  The farming standards go beyond just pest management to promote practices that enhance biodiversity, soil and water health, and employee safety.  For more information, please click here.

 

 

mohr-frye-vineyard Jerry and Bruce Fry at the Mohr-Fry Wineyard

  

About Lodi

Lodi is just east of San Francisco and has provided grapes for producers all over the world since the 1800’s.  The Lodi area has provided grapes for producers all over the world for decades, and many families in Lodi have been growing grapes for six and seven generations.  Today, there are approximately 85 wineries and tasting rooms, over 750 growers and more than 100,000 acres planted to vineyards.  The wines we tasted commemorate the heritage of Lodi and are not only exquisite, but tell a narrative.

 

It is a well-known fact that Lodi is predominantly a red wine region, proudly holding the self-proclaimed title of “Zinfandel Capital of the World”.  What is lesser known is that Lodi’s unique Mediterranean climate allows for over 75 different varietals to thrive.

 

Tons of great and useful information is available on the Wines of Lodi, LOCA website.  I highly encourage you to read about the area by clicking here.  You can also follow Lodi on Twitter at @Lodi_Wine.

 

 

Lodi Green Program

The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s first 3rd party-certified sustainable winegrowing program.  Originally launched in 2005, over the past two years the program went through and extensive review to update and make standards more rigorous.

 

The Lodi Rules takes a comprehensive approach to farming that goes beyond just pest management to promote practices that enhance biodiversity, water and air quality, soil health, and employee and community well-being.  This allows us to produce higher quality wines more reflective of the places and people that grow them.  It gives you the opportunity to promote responsible farming by enjoying the great wines from these vineyards.

 

When you drink a certified sustainably grown Lodi wine, you are supporting a farmer, a vintner, and a community that embraces its responsibility to take care of the environment.

 

Visit the Lodi Certified Green site for more information on the region’s sustainable winegrowing.

 

 

 

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard – $19.99

 

(Even though I paid a bit more at the local store, the suggested retail price for the wine is only $18.  It is available to purchase for $18 on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

This wine is a blend of 100% Zinfandel that comes from two vineyards planted on Mohr-Fry Ranch.  One vineyard was planted in 1901, the other in 1944.  The head-pruned vines are own-rooted and are situated in the sandy soils just southwest of the city of Lodi.  The vines benefit from the distinctive delta breezes that cool the appellation in the late afternoon and early evening creating an ideal climate for high-quality Zinfandel.

 

The grapes were harvested from September 25th through October 2nd.  The grapes were hand sorted and fermented for 7 days at cool temperature with gentle pumpovers.  The wine was aged for 10 months in 60 gallon American oak barrels, with 25% being new.  A total of 3.068 cases were bottled on July 13, 2013.

 

The wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby to garnet color.  The enticing nose has brambly berries, warm baking spices, dusty minerals, black pepper, dark bittersweet chocolate, vanilla bean, dried flowers and a touch of subtle earthiness.  This has a fairly full body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  The spicy, brambly berries coat the palate on the front end with dusty minerals, black pepper and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a nice floral note and subtle earthiness joining the berries and spice.  This is a very easy wine to enjoy now and over the next couple of years.  (91 pts)

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch 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 2015 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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – Dec 29, 2014 to Jan 11, 2015

 

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

 

 

Due to ongoing unpacking and organizing from our move and the holiday season, most of these wines only have a tasting note without any other text.  These posts should return to normal next week.

 

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke – $40.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, olive tapenade, minerals, wood smoke, black pepper, vanilla bean, blueberries and damp earth.  The wine has medium body with fairly resolved tannins and good acidity.  On the palate olives and berries pop out first with black pepper and damp earth coming in on the back end.  The olives and earthy elements linger on the decently long finish.  I’d advise consuming this wine over the next year, maybe two.  (88 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

 

 

 

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau – $8.95

I bought several bottles of this wine at the local store at a fantastic price.  I’ve held off opening a bottle for six months, but I really want to open one.  These could probably use another 6 months to a year in the cellar, but it’s time to check in and get a read on how long before these hit their stride.

 

Winery history

Les Vignobles Foncalieu are like no other cooperative.  Their technical teams include international talents who revel in this mosaic of huge terroirs.  So it comes as no surprise to learn that Michel Bataille and the 1,200 winegrowing estate owners made the choice to produce upmarket wines.  In order to achieve excellence in terms of quality, they have invested in cutting-edge facilities.

 

IN THE VINES

Very strict vine management specifications: pruning, green harvesting, picking dates, convocation to the vine plot…

GIS (geographic information system) cartography.

Computerized plot monitoring.

High-tech ripeness tracking.

Grape analysis, segmentation and control over the harvest adapted to the product profile with Dyostem©.

 

IN THE WINERY

Creation of a vinification plan for all the vineyards, taking account of client needs and brand profiles.

Precise definition of aromatic profiles.

Full traceability process guaranteeing regularity in the quality of wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color.  The outstanding nose has black cherries, blackberries, minerals, dried herbs, charred meat, earthy underbrush, and violets.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has very nice fruit and dried herbs with some spice and earthy elements in the background.  The finish shows considerable promise until the tannins and acidity kick in clipping it a bit.  Give this one another year in the cellar or give it some air.  (90 pts)

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau

 

 

 

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles – $19.79

I grabbed several bottles of this wine, since a social media friend, Mark Adams, was the wine maker.  I’m glad I loaded up since the past few bottles have all been very good.  It’s always nice to get a good Cabernet for around $20.  Mark Adams is also the owner/wine maker of Ledge Vineyards and the Assistant Wine Maker for Saxum.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to maroon color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, cassis, cedar, dried herbs, minerals, smoke, licorice, baking spices, and violets.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine is rich and velvety on the palate with spicy fruit, dried herbs, and minerals leading the way.  The finish is fairly long with nice spicy fruit, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness.  A nice, rich, but not over the top Cabernet from Paso Robles.  (92 pts)

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon – $40.00

For the last few years I’ve felt Big Basin was one of the wineries to keep an eye on.  I think they are one big score away from popping onto most wine drinker’s radar.  Could they become the next Saxum?  In my opinion, the sky is the limit for this winery.

 

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

 

The wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, with a new winery building completed in 2003.  Proprietor and wine maker Bradley Brown sources his wines from three Estate Vineyards – Rattlesnake Rock, Old Corral Block and Homestead Block.  All of the Estate vineyards are planted to Alban Selections on steep hillsides with mudstone and shale soils – 7 acres of Syrah, 2 acres of Grenache and 1 acre of Roussanne – and are farmed organically.  Additionally, Bradley works closely with Coastview Vineyard located at 2400 ft on a mountain top in the Gabilan Mountains overlooking the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay (several miles due south of Mt. Harlan).  He has contracted with the vineyard to purchase Syrah planted in 1998 and to bud over certain sections of the vineyard to Pinot Noir and Grenache (in 2008) and plant a new block to an Alban selection of Syrah.  This vineyard is also farmed organically and managed according to Bradley’s direction.  Beginning in 2006, Big Basin started making Pinot Noir sourced from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  As of 2009, Big Basin is making three different single vineyard Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains (Alfaro Family, Lester Family and Woodruff Family Vineyards), plus the Pinot from Coastview Vineyard in the Gabilan Mountains.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose has cassis, charred meat, vanilla, dark chocolate, minerals, blueberries, and a touch of cedar.  This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate this is very big, rich and plush.  Though it pushes the ripeness to the top, it does not go over.  This is loaded with fruit and savory elements on the palate with a nice tannic backbone and just enough acidity to hold it all together.  The finish is impressively long and decadent.  I don’t think I’d want to stash this in the cellar for too long, but this will offer a lot of pleasure over the next few years.  (94 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Avenger – $29.75

The Avenger is my favorite wine from the Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  This is generally a full bodied, big boned, and brawny Rhone Ranger blend.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Booker Vineyard in Paso Robles.  I have been and probably will always be a big fan of this winery.  This is the last winery that I get an automatic shipment at every release and usually add on extra bottles.  In my house, there is no such thing as having too much Villa Creek in the cellar.

 

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, dark, ruby red color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, graphite, incense, cherries, plums, fresh wild flowers, melted licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, and some subtle earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate, besides a load of nice fruit, there are abundant amounts of dark chocolate, pepper, vanilla, and a floral element.  The finish is very long and highlighted by juicy, crushed berries, dark chocolate, and a some earthiness.  This is still on the young side and improved greatly with some air.  No hurry on this one, enjoy it over the rest of the decade.  (94 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah – $28.80

 

This wine has 13.77% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The nose is full of blackberries, crushed stone minerals, vanilla, fresh ground espresso beans, white pepper and a touch of barnyard.  This has medium to full body with good acidity and moderate to solid tannins.  On the palate blackberries, espresso beans, stony minerals and vanilla grab hold first with white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with some barnyard entering the picture.  This wine is entering a nice drinking period and can be enjoyed over the next several years.  (92 pts)

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

 

 

 

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 2015 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 – Dec 22, 2014 to Dec 28, 2014

 

 

2009 Sandler Wine Company Syrah Connell Vineyard

NV Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut Perle d’Aurore

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22

2005 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

 

 

Due to ongoing unpacking and organizing from our move and the holiday season, most of these wines only have a tasting note without any other text.  These posts should return to normal in the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

2009 Sandler Wine Company Syrah Connell Vineyard – $20.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The elegant nose has blackberries, violets, eucalyptus, blueberries, baking spices, crushed stone minerals and dried earth.  This has a medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate berries and stony minerals jump out first with spice and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The lingering finish adds a touch of earthiness and eucalyptus.  This is in a very nice drinking window right now but should hold for a couple of years.  (92 pts)

2009 Sandler Wine Company Syrah Connell Vineyard

2009 Sandler Wine Company Syrah Connell Vineyard

 

 

 

NV Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut Perle d’Aurore – $18.99

 

This has 12.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright salmon pink color with very persistent pinpoint bubbles.  The enticing nose has cherries, dark berries, yeasty bread, stony minerals and tangerine zest.  This is very effervescent on the palate with bright fruit, minerals and citrus up front with yeasty notes coming in on the back end.  The crisp and clean finish has nice length and leaves your mouth watering for another sip.  A nice sparkler for a festive occasion.

NV Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut Perle d'Aurore

NV Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut Perle d’Aurore

 

 

 

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22 – $17.81

As I’ve mentioned here every time I open a bottle, generally the Treasure Hunter line of wines represent outstanding value.  Treasure Hunter isn’t really a winery, more of a wine business.  They buy excess grapes/juice/wine and sell it as is or blend different lots to create their wines.  These are generally very good to outstanding wines that sell for prices well below their level or quality.

 

I love the Cabernet Franc grape.  At its best it has nice dark berry fruit with some cherry and dried herbs.  If the grapes are over cropped and picked before fully ripe, the dried herbs become the much less pleasing green herbal elements.

 

Winery history

Treasure Hunter is a label under the 3 Finger Wine Company family of wines.

 

Each Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from our panel of nine called The De-Vine Nine. Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs, they are the best of the best and they pour through hundreds of wines before they are deemed worthy.

Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink seminal wines of great importance.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very interesting and inviting nose has blackberries, dried herbs, licorice, black cherry, baking spices, cigar tobacco, dark chocolate, cedar, and some violets.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a fair amount of upfront berries and black cherry with dried herbs and spices, slowly a nice hit of dark chocolate creeps in on the backend.  The finish has decent length and leans more toward the dried herbs and dark chocolate with the fruit playing more of a supporting role in the background.  This is a fantastic, young wine for under $20.  I’m going to try and hold off opening another for a few months, but it will be tough.  (92 pts)

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22

 

 

 

2005 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois – $15.83

This was a spur of the moment purchase from Garagiste several years ago.  How could you pass up on a wine with the following Jon Rimmerman description and a cost of under $16?

 

The Syrah, which makes up 70% of the cepage has teeth like a Northern Rhone (not a Southern Syrah) and the Cabernet is like Left Bank Cabernet in a vintage like 1982 or 1990 – ripe and seductive with a fine tannic bite that only Cabernet skin tannins can provide.  Mix the two together and you have a cool-climate/warm-climate dichotomy from a great vintage (2005) that drinks like a much more expensive wine – no wonder the restaurants are lining up to buy this (can you imagine what the mark-up will be from a Michelin starred venue?).  With only 12.5-13.0% natural alcohol and fascinating levels of balanced natural extract, the glowing red fruit, mineral-dipped flavor has an uncanny Bordelaise edge that is magnified by the meaty, floral capacity of the Syrah.  Basically, it’s a great effort and EXTREMELY LIMITED (only 50 cases of the 2005 for the US).

 

This has 13.0% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The appealing nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, dried herbs, cedar, tobacco, eucalyptus and damp earth.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements share top billing, each taking turns strutting their stuff.  The finish has nice length and shows outstanding balance.  This has a couple more years of life ahead of it before it starts declining.  This is a very nice bottle of wine to share over a meal.  (91 pts)

2005 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois

2005 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois

 

 

 

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein – $4.75

I grabbed about a case of this wine for under $5 a bottle to use as an afternoon sipper on the deck.  Even though it filled that role perfectly, it is a very enjoyable wine when paired with a light, spicy dish.

 

My Tasting Note

Light golden-yellow color. Apples, petrol, orange zest, and wet stone minerality on the slightly reserved nose. Light bodied with crisp, mouthwatering acidity and just enough sweetness to give nice balance. Rich and tart on the palate. Initially a very short finish but it filled out and got longer with air and warming up a bit. An absolute steal at $5 on close-out.  (87 pts)

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

 

 

 

2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard – $42.00

This is a wine I originally tried due to Russell Bevan being the winemaker.  It absolutely blew me away.  I quickly ordered more and put the word out on Twitter.  I suggested to Jeb Dunnuck that he should track down a bottle to try, he then gave it 95+ on his The Rhone Report.  A wine store owner friend from Napa (yes, you Carrie) bought some for the store based on my recommendation, and had to restock since it became very popular.  I’m not sure the status of the winery’s mailing list, but I’d recommend checking to see if it is still open.  The winery now also produces a Pinot Noir.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, licorice, baking spices, cedar, black pepper, road tar, dried wildflowers, crushed stone minerals and scorched earth.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  This has nice tart berries, black pepper, spicy oak and minerals up front with a dried floral note and some scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The has very nice length on the finish until the tannins and acidity kick in.  This is tasty but really could use some additional cellar time to help the finish open up and fill out.  (93 pts)

2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard

2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente – $22.00

Though this wine is offered on the Bedrock mailing list (and listed in Cellar Tracker) as made by Bedrock, the wine is actually the result of a partnership between winemakers Michael Havens (the first person to make Albariño in the New World) and Morgan Twain-Peterson.

 

This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright and vibrant yellow to light gold color.  The crisp and refreshing nose has apples, lime, lemon zest, orange blossoms, minerals, melon, and a very slight herbal note.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity, and just a touch of residual sweetness.  The orchard fruit and citrus play off each other very nicely on the palate with a streak of minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with a mouthwatering lime note and minerals slowly fading away leaving you wanting to grab the glass for another sip.  This will really shine on a warm Summer evening over a light meal.  (91 pts)

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

 

 

 

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $28.00

I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years.  A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release.  Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smoothen out and open up.  That said, their Alesia wines, which are made from purchased grapes, though also needing some time in the cellar, seem to be ready to drink a couple years earlier.  I grabbed several bottles of this wine when it was offered on their e-mail release.  I’ve had a couple bottles and every bottle has been better than the previous bottle…always a good sign.  I’m glad I still have five bottles to follow over the next few years.

 

This has 13.9% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color. The sexy nose has strawberries, raspberries, cola, baking spices, underbrush, minerals, cherries, dried flowers, and a slight herbal note. The wine has medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity. The very complex palate has layers of fruit, spice, and earthy elements that slowly reveal themselves with each sip, with the nice cleansing acidity evident at all times. The finish is fairly long and the mouthwatering acidity is ever present. This is very food friendly and civilized. There is no excess weight or overly extracted notes evident on the wine. This is still on the young side and can be enjoyed over the next several years.  (92 pts)

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

 

 

 

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 2015 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 – Dec 14, 2014 to Dec 21, 2014

 

2009 Pierre Amadieu Côtes du Rhône Roulepierre

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Peters Vineyard

2003 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero

2012 Noble Vines Pinot Noir 667 Monterey

2008 Groom Shiraz

2010 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Nipozzano Riserva

 

 

 

2009 Pierre Amadieu Côtes du Rhône Roulepierre – $8.95

I grabbed a six pack of this wine after having a sip at a tasting.  At the time, I noted it needed a year in the cellar.  I opened a bottle after about a year in the cellar and it had opened nicely but still needed a bit more time.  It’s a nice time to see if the additional 11 months have been rewarded.  This is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah.

 

This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Our history begins in 1929 when my grand father decides to bottle and trade under the signature Pierre Amadieu his wine coming from the 7 hectares (17 acres) of vineyard in Gigondas passed on by generation to generation.  He is then one of the firsts to print the name of the appellation on his bottles and obtains from 1932 a golden medal in the National Agricultural Concours of Paris.

 

I am presently on the head of the company and I am in charge of winemaking and maturing.  I work with my uncle Claude who runs the vineyard.  Together we follow the familial way of thinking by respecting soils and traditions in order to make you share wines faithful to the quality ambition of our grandfather and by adding a note of modernity in order to delight the most demanding and the most curious palates.

 

I am not a follower of over-extracted wines and often “heavy” to taste; my ambition is rather to obtain well-balanced wines with a Burgundy fineness.  Through the maturing I try to reveal all the elegance and the richness of our protected terroirs located on the heights of the appellation Gigondas.  From vines to the bottling patience and observation are required.  Today appreciated all over the world, every vintage reserves its subtleties which I am happy to subject to your appreciation.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color.  The open and inviting nose has blackberries, black cherries, minerals, dried herbs, spices, black pepper, and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy, peppery, mineral laden fruit takes center stage with dried herbs and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length and is very flavorful.  This wine is in a very nice place right now but should hold up for a few years.  This was an absolute steal for the $9 I paid.  (89 pts)

2009 Pierre Amadieu Côtes du Rhône Roulepierre

2009 Pierre Amadieu Côtes du Rhône Roulepierre

 

 

 

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch – $23.74

I bought a few bottles of this wine when the store brought in a few cases for an end of vintage sale.  To me, this was a no brainer.  I love JC Cellars and Petite Sirah, so when these were offered at about half off, several followed me home.

 

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

 

Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago.  As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.

 

Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Florida International University.

 

Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing.  The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal.  The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.

 

With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream.  He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from California State University, Fresno in 1996.  It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir.  “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school.  “It was a shocker.  To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”

 

For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, black pepper, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, underbrush, melted licorice, and wood smoke.  This has a full body, solid, chewy tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has an overload of ripe, juicy berries, pepper, dark chocolate and ground espresso.  The finish is fairly long and again, like the palate, is loaded with flavor.  The big, mouth coating tannins really kick in on the finish but the fruit and spice still shine through.  If you are not tannin adverse, this can be enjoyed now, if not, let this one sleep for a couple more years.  (93 pts)

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

 

 

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Peters Vineyard – $28

Anthill Farms is more noted for their Pinot Noir wines but I’m a big fan of their Syrah based wines.  Very little of their wines make it out of their mailing list so the best way to procure the wines is via the list.  Unfortunately, it looks like their mailing list is currently full, but you can click here to get on the waiting list.

 

About the vineyard – Randy Peters and his father-in-law, Tom Mukaida, farm this vineyard outside of Sebastopol in western Sonoma County.  The southern slopes of these hills form the northern edge of the Petaluma Gap, which rushes cool, marine air from the Pacific Ocean inland.  The vines, a mix of Pommard and 777 planted twenty years ago, produce grapes that ripen unusually slow due to the oft-present morning fog.

 

This wine has 13.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The enticing nose has smoky minerals, berries, black pepper, smoked meat and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the minerals and spice jump out first with smoked meat and berries coming in fairly quickly, a nice floral note comes in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length.  This has the balance to age for a few more years but is hard to resist now.  (91 pts)

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Peters Vineyard

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Peters Vineyard

 

 

 

2003 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero – $33.24

I’ve been a big fan of Aalto for several years.  These are big, tannic beasts in their youth that, with some cellar time, round into very pleasurable bottles of Tempranillo.

 

Winery history

The winery’s website is “under construction” so the following information is from the Drink Ribera site.

 

Aalto was founded in 1999 by Mariano García and Javier Zaccagnini with the aim of making a new wine, based on very old vineyards and Mariano’s expertise.  After 10 years, the winery is considered a leader in Ribera del Duero and has obtained the highest reviews in many tastings.  Top scores include three 98 point-ratings from The Wine Advocate, and twice being named Best Wine of Spain, as selected by Michel Bettane and Thiery Dessauve’s book of the Best 100 Wineries of the World.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, black raspberries, licorice, Asian spices, plums, scorched earth, violets, vanilla, and a touch of mint.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has nice red fruit, spice, and subtle earthiness, with darker fruit coming in on the backend.  The finish is fairly long with a very nice vanilla element adding to the earthy, spicy, red fruit.  This is drinking nicely now, but there is a definite upside to warrant some additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

2003 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero

2003 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero

 

 

 

2012 Noble Vines Pinot Noir 667 Monterey – $10.79

Noble Vines is a label produced under the Delicato Family Vineyards umbrella of wineries.  This was a new one for me when I tried a taste at a local wine store’s tasting a week ago.  Though it was nothing too special, it seemed like it would be a nice bottle of Pinot to enjoy along with a week night dinner.  For around $10, a couple bottles followed me home.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color.  The soothing nose has cherries, cranberries, minerals, earthy peat moss, eucalyptus and wild flowers.  This has medium body, soft tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate bright red fruit and subtle earthiness hit the palate first with stony minerals and a hint of eucalyptus coming in later.  The finish has decent length with the earthy elements and a slight herbal note carrying the load.  Not a lot of complexity here but this is an easy to drink week night Pinot for around $10.  (88 pts)

2012 Noble Vines Pinot Noir 667 Monterey

2012 Noble Vines Pinot Noir 667 Monterey

 

 

 

2008 Groom Shiraz – $18.05

This wine was offered as an e-mail special about three years ago.  I stopped in for a free taste of the wine and decided I could make some room in the cellar for a six pack.  The wine obviously was made for the long haul and needed some cellar time.  Today is the day to check in to see how it is progressing.

 

Winery history

Marschall Groom Cellars is a very small family winery situated in the famous Barossa Valley region of South Australia.  The winery produces three varietals, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz & Zinfandel – under the label GROOM.

 

Marschall Groom Cellars is the culmination of a dream, backed up by many years of talk and family discussion.  The proprietors are David & Jeanette Marschall and their six children, and Daryl & Lisa Groom and their four children.

 

The dream started to become reality with the purchase of 87 acres of bare land in the Kalimna appellation of the Barossa Valley, directly adjacent to the renowned Penfolds Kalimna vineyard – the home of Grange.  In 1997 the first acres on our Kalimna Bush Block were planted to Shiraz, producing its first crop in the 1999 vintage.  To complement our young Shiraz fruit we source from one other very reputable high quality vineyard in the Barossa, the Fechner Vineyard which is home to 50 year-old vines.

 

The Barossa Valley is too warm to grow world class Sauvignon Blanc.  This variety is ideally suited to much cooler, higher rainfall climates.  After thoroughly researching the climatic conditions within South Australia, a 20 acre vineyard in the Adelaide Hills appellation of Lenswood was planted to provide the perfect grapes for our Sauvignon Blanc.

 

In 2000, 8 acres of experimental Zinfandel vines were planted on the Kalimna Bush Block.  A very limited introductory wine release from these grapes was made from the 2003 vintage. The first Commercial release into the USA was the 2006 vintage.

 

Also working with the company to maintain and ensure our quality standards is Consultant Winemaker, Natasha Mooney; previously the winemaker for E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, and now working closely with Daryl to produce our stunning wines.  Our wines are hand-crafted and produced in limited quantities.

 

Our desire for the GROOM label is to let the vineyards and their fruit do the talking in producing the style and quality of our wines.  As proprietors, we have set the foundation in choosing the most ideal viticultural region needed to produce the highest quality for each of our chosen varieties. ENJOY!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby to maroon color.  The open and appealing nose has blackberries, plums, minerals, Asian spices, eucalyptus, black pepper, dried herbs, and some leather.  The is medium to full body, with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The palate has rich and velvety fruit with solid minerals and spices.  On the back end some dried herbs and a touch of eucalyptus add considerable depth.  The finish is fairly long with a touch of dark chocolate making an appearance.  This improved considerably with a couple hours of air, so let it sleep another year or let it breathe.  (92 pts)

2008 Groom Shiraz

2008 Groom Shiraz

 

 

 

2010 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Nipozzano Riserva – $20.07

This wine is a perennial favorite to pair with pasta.  Even though, I prefer the wine with a bit of cellar time, I wanted to open this bottle to see if I need to stock up before it disappears of the store’s shelf.

 

This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a saturated ruby red color.  The spellbinding nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, dried violets, dry earth, dusty minerals and licorice.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  This is bright and lively on the palate with black cherries and spice jumping out first with dry earthy elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with dusty minerals entering the picture.  This is on the young side but already very tasty.  Stock up if you find it at a great price to enjoy over the next few years.  (91 pts)

2010 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Chianti Rùfina Nipozzano Riserva

2010 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Chianti Rùfina Nipozzano Riserva

 

 

 

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 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!

 

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