2010 Loring Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Russell Family Vineyard
2013 Anthill Farms Grenache Steel Plow Vineyard
2012 Rock Wall Wine Co. Obsideana
2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT
2011 Sans Liege The Offering
2009 World’s End Cabernet Franc Against The Wind Reserve
2010 Loring Cabernet Sauvignon Russell Family Vineyard – $39.67
For several years, Brian Loring specialized in fuller body, ripe, California Pinot Noirs. A few years ago, Brian added Chardonnay to his line up. In the last couple of years they have further expanded their offerings by including Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cabernet Sauvignon to their stable of wines. This is the first vintage of a Cabernet Sauvignon labeled wine from the winery. I bought a few bottles from their mailing list when it was released.
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 deep ruby color to maroon color. The very open and inviting nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, tobacco, dark bittersweet chocolate, and minerals. This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins, and good acidity. On the palate cassis and cedar dominate the front end with dried herbs and cherry coming through later. The finish has nice length with sweet fruit and spicy oak carrying the load. This could use a bit more complexity and it may come out with some time in the cellar. That said, it is still a delicious bottle of wine. This has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap like all Loring wines. (89 pts)
2013 Anthill Farms Grenache Steel Plow Vineyard – $18.00
Just about every year Anthill Farms produces a “one-off” wine. This is a wine that usually doesn’t become part of their wines produced every year. I say usually because a few years their one-off wine was a Syrah from Windsor Oaks Vineyard that was so popular it was added to their annual offerings. This is this year’s one-off wine from the volcanic soils of the Sonoma Valley.
The wine is a very light ruby red color, just a touch darker than some Rosé wines. The inviting nose has cherries, baking spice, crushed stones, white pepper, wild flowers and a touch of dried herbs. This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity. On the palate spicy, tart cherries, minerals and white pepper quickly take hold, slowly allowing some dried herbs to slip through. The finish has nice length with cherries, white pepper and minerals seeming to linger forever. This is very young so patience will be rewarded. This has outstanding balance and is very food friendly. This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (91 pts)
2012 Rock Wall Wine Co. Obsideana – $16.19
This is a blend of 50% Zinfandel and 50% Petite Sirah from Nils Venge’s Black Rock Ranch in Lake County. The vineyard contains so much obsidian that it glows in the moonlight. Rock Wall is Kent Rosenblum’s latest project along with his daughter and a group of industry veterans.
The wine is a deep maroon color. The very open and giving nose has blackberries, licorice, black peppercorns, wood smoke, dark bittersweet chocolate, blueberries, minerals and vanilla bean. This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and nice acidity. On the palate spicy, peppery blackberries jump out on the front end with minerals, licorice and a smoky element coming in on the back end. The finish has nice length with vanilla bean and dark chocolate making an appearance. This is very nice and the price is a big bonus. The wine has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (91 pts)
2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $17.30
I picked this up during the Last Bottle marathon several weeks ago. This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.
The back label for this wine says the alcohol level is 14%, but there is a small label covering that line that says 14.5%. I wonder how much that change cost and who footed the bill.
The wine is a deep garnet color. The inviting nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, baking spices, dark roast coffee beans, white pepper, black cherries, scorched earth and dried violets. This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity. On the palate blackberries, spice and dusty minerals jump out first followed by white pepper and coffee beans. The finish has decent length with dark chocolate and scorched earth entering the picture. This isn’t a rich and velvety as some earlier vintages. The bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (89 pts)
2011 Sans Liege The Offering – $23.28
This is another wine I grabbed at the Last Bottle Wines marathon. This is a blend of 48% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 21% Mourvedre and 2% Viognier.
This wine has 15.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep garnet color. The expressive nose has cherries, blackberries, crushed stones, baking spices, dried flowers, black pepper and dry earth. This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity. On the palate spicy, mineral laden cherries and berries jump out on the front end with dried earth elements coming in later. This has nice length with a floral note coming in. (90 pts)
2009 World’s End Cabernet Franc Against The Wind Reserve – $24.52
This is another purchase from the Last Bottle Wines marathon. I highly recommend checking them out and signing up for their daily e-mail offer by clicking here.
This wine is deep ruby to maroon. The inviting nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, baking spices, roasted herbs, mint, tobacco and cedar. This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity. Spicy berries and roasted herbs pop out on the front end with dark chocolate and cedar coming in later. The finish has good length with a nice minty note entering the picture. (92 pts)
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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.