WineChat Tasting with Solena Estate from Oregon

 

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

Solena logo

 

Overview

I was given the opportunity to join in an online tasting of wines from Soléna Estate.  This was a new winery for me, but since I’m becoming more of a fan of the wines coming out of Oregon, I happily participated.

 

 

The Winery

After successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, the husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80-acre estate to commemorate their marriage.  In May 2002, they launched Soléna by releasing their first bottling and, shortly thereafter, opening a tasting room in Carlton.  Soléna is the combination of the Spanish and French words Solana and Solene, celebrating the sun and the moon, and the name that Laurent and Danielle gave to their daughter.

 

Soléna Estate began as a way to explore winemaking with other varietals grown in neighboring appellations while the family’s young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District matured.  In May, 2007, Danielle and Laurent added the spectacular 100-acre Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA to their estate vineyard holdings.  Today Laurent and Danielle are producing Pinot Noir from their estate vineyards as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Late Harvest Riesling from select sites throughout Oregon and Washington.

 

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

 

 

Protocol

 

About Winechat

#winechat is a weekly, Twitter based discussion about something dealing with the world of wine.  Generally, each week’s chat session deals with a specific theme and is lead by an “expert” in that area.  This is generally a nice way to learn about a region, winery, type of wine, etc.

 

Mission

What is #WineChat?  Click here to learn more.

 

Description

How do you join #winechat? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winechat stream. Be sure to include #winechat at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!

 

Grab a glass and join in!

 

The #winechat schedule is available on their Facebook page by clicking here.

 

#winechat is hosted by Protocol Wine Studio.  For more information on them, click here.

 

winery-building

 

 

Here are the wines for this tasting event:

Solena Estate lineup

Solena Estate lineup

 

 

2013 Soléna Pinot Gris – SRP $20

This wine includes 4% Gewurztraminer blended in with the Pinot Gris.  The grapes for this wine come from several sites throughout the Willamette Valley including: Hyland Vineyard, Guadalupe Vineyard, Olsen Vineyard, Wildewood Vineyard, Elvenglade Vineyard, Bailey Vineyard and Kramer Vineyard.

 

The grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to emphasize the naturally fruity character of the Pinot Gris grapes.  Each lot was fermented separately and was later carefully blended to obtain a crisp, refreshing style, capitalizing on the unique variations from each vineyard site.

 

The wine was aged sur lees for extra depth and there was no malolactic fermentation.  A total of 5000 cases of wine was produced.

 

The wine has 13.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a namacorc.  This closure was chosen to help preserve freshness.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light straw color.  The very open and inviting nose has honeysuckle, pear, flinty minerals, vanilla, lychee and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate ripe pears, minerals and vanilla jump out first with vanilla and lime zest coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a nice floral note entering the picture.  This has a nice creamy texture on the palate.  (89 pts)

2013 Soléna Pinot Gris

2013 Soléna Pinot Gris

 

 

 

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Grande Cuvée – SRP $25

This 100% Pinot Noir uses grapes from a variety of appellations.  We selected premium vineyard sites throughout the Willamette Valley, including Angela (Yamhill-Carlton), Thistle (Dundee Hills), Zena Crown (Eola-Amity Hills), Kalita (Yamhill-Carlton) and Monk’s Gate (Yamhill-Carlton).  All of the vineyard sites embrace viticultural practices that reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides which can have a negative impact on the soil’s health.  The vineyard sites were closely monitored to ensure the maximum quality of fruit.  Harvest decisions were made based on fruit flavors and sugars.

 

After fermentation the wine was barrel aged for 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels.  This wine is treated the same way their vineyard designated wines.  There were 6200 cases of this wine produced.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a nomacorc closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The soothing nose has black cherries, raspberries, earthy underbrush, violets and warm baking spices.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate dark fruit and earthiness coat the palate slowly allowing some violets to slip into the picture.  The finish has decent length with the earthy elements and spice carrying the load.  I’d like a little more zip on the finish but other wise this is very tasty.  (89 pts)

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Grande Cuvée

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Grande Cuvée

 

 

 

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard – SRP $50

The Hyland Vineyard was purchased by the family and their business partners in May 2007.  The vineyard was planted in the 1970s. and is located in the Coastal Range foothills southwest of McMinnvile.  The 200 acre estate has 120 acres of vines.  The grapes for this wine come from the 47.21 acres of own-rooted, old-growth Pinot Noir.

 

This high elevation vineyard (600’ to 800’) is typically the winery’s last picked, at the end of October.  There is a low yield due to the age of the vines.  The 2012 Hyland Vineyard is a really delicate wine and we keep the new oak limited to enhance the fruit and not cover it.  Hyland Vineyard is one of the oldest planted vineyards in Willamette Valley.  We own the vineyards and therefore, select the best blocks for ourselves.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright, medium ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, minerals, dried herbs, cola, violets and white pepper.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate silky tannins and very nice acidity.  The fruit and spice initially coat the palate with minerals and cola coming in on the backend.  The finish has very good length with some dried herbs and white pepper entering the picture.  This could use a year or two in the cellar but shows very good potential.  (92 pts)

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent – SRP $50

In May of 2000 Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80 acre estate as their wedding gift to each other and registered with premium nurseries for six different clones of Pinot Noir vines as wedding gifts.  They named the vineyard Domaine Danielle Laurent.

 

According to the winery, DDL is really quite young to taste and needs at least 3 years to start developing its bouquet.  DDL vines are now 14 years old…still babies…teenagers.  The winery has the sheep and goats mowing the rows during winter.

 

This wine has 13.9% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The intoxicating nose has black cherries, raspberries, stony minerals, sautéed mushrooms, baking spices, violets and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has medium body moderate silky tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spice jump out first with minerals and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with some earthiness joining the fruit and spice.  This tastes great with some air but deserves a year or two in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent

2012 Soléna Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent

 

 

 

Closing comments

This is another outstanding Oregon winery to add to your list of wineries to visit.  The lower end wines offer fantastic value and the single vineyard Pinot Noirs are stunning but will be better if you allow them time to develop in your cool cellar.

 

 

 

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 – July 21, 2014 to July 27, 2014

 

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley – $18.99

I’ve been a big fan of the Novy/Siduri wines from Adam Lee for several years.  For some reason, their Zinfandels seem to fly under the radar.  Their single vineyard offerings are some of the best values out there, grab one if you happen to see one sitting on a store shelf.

 

The wine has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The soothing and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, warm baking spices, licorice, dried herbs, tobacco, dark chocolate and some red raspberries.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins, and very good acidity.  Spicy, peppery berries grab the palate initially with dried herbs and dark chocolate coming in on the mid palate.  The finish has decent length highlighted by tart red raspberries.  This has much brighter acidity than your usual California zinfandel, which nicely balances the richness.  With the good tannins and abundant acidity, this should last in the cellar and potentially improve for several years.  (91 pts)

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita – $12.82

This is a kitchen sink blend of these grapes: Auxerrois 0.6%, Chardonnay 14%, Gewurztraminer 3%, Marsanne 2.9%, Pinot Blanc 10.8%, Pinot Gris 7.7%, Riesling 37.6%, Roussanne 3.7%, Vermentino 8.7% and Viognier 11%.

 

This has 13.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a yellow to straw color with just a touch of initial effervescence.  The very open and appealing nose has honey dipped apples, crushed stone minerals, melon, pineapple, orange blossoms, peaches, lime zest, caramel and just a touch of spice.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a touch of sweetness.  On the palate apples, honey and pineapple jump out first with minerals and melon coming in on the mid-palate.  On the back end tart lime zest pops out to balance out the slight sweetness.  The finish has nice length with nice balance between the citrusy acidity and sweetness.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but is perfect with a slightly spicy dish or to just sip on a warm evening.  (89 pts)

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita

 

 

 

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie – $19.66

This 100% Sauvignon Blanc comes from a 22 hectare vineyard that is composed of geological formations dating back to the Cretaceous Period.  The flint-rich siliceous clay soil gives the Sauvignon Blanc grape its taste of gunflint.  The winery uses environmentally friendly methods that are adapted to suit the terroir.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow with a slight straw tint.  The clean and refreshing nose has green apples, chalky minerality, lemon zest, lime and a slight herbal note.  This is barely medium body with crisp acidity and just a hit of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, lime and minerals jump out first with lemon zest coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with an herbal note joining the party.  This has plenty of citrusy acidity to hold the slight sweetness in check.  I really like this wine.  (92 pts)

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie

 

 

 

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.99

I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines.  If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.

 

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

 

The Winery

The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old.  Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.

 

In the nineties, the family began to market their zinfandel in the bulk wine market, selling to a number of prestigious, benchmark producers of Zinfandel in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

 

In 2000, Steve and Lori produced their first vintage of Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel.  They continue to produce wine from all of the vineyard blocks, culling only the very best lots for bottling Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel and designated vineyard wines.  They produced their first vintage of Farrah Syrah in 2001.  They have one goal…to produce world-class wine.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements.  Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar.  The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process.  Drink over the next few years and be happy.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

 

 

 

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino – $18.99

This 100% Sangiovese comes from vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, at elevations of 150-350 metres on well-exposed hillslopes south-east of Montalcino.  The wine was aged in a mix of Slavonian and French oak barrels for a minimum of 8 months followed by a minimum of 3 months of bottle aging before it is released.

 

This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The intriguing nose has cherries, dusty minerals, dried thyme, baking spices, raspberry, leather and a touch of underbrush.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  Cherries, minerals and spice initially take hold on the palate with dried thyme and leather coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This is on the young side but already showing very nicely.  (91 pts)

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2013 Bedrock Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

bedrock-homepage

 

Overview

When Morgan Twain-Peterson offered this wine in Bedrock’s e-mail release offer in February, a couple bottles were immediately added to my order.  I joined the Bedrock mailing list to be able to get my hands on their red wines.  I really like their reds but Morgan has exceeded expectations with his white wines and his Rosé is also outstanding.  This wine will give me a chance to see how he does with lighter bodied red wines.  For only $20 it wasn’t much of a gamble.

 

 

 

The Winery

Bedrock Wine Co. was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain-Peterson in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space.  After six years of Bedrock being a one-man-show, Morgan was able to talk his best friend, Chris Cottrell, into moving to California from New York to join him.  They now happily have a little more space to move around in but share the same objectives that guided the winery at the start.

 

The winery’s objectives are:

  • To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.
  • To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.
  • To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.
  • To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.
  • To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.
  • To dream big but keep production low!

 

 

There is much more information about Morgan, the vineyards, his philosophy and most importantly the wines available on the website by clicking here.

 

To be able to get your hands on these marvelous wines, you need to get on the winery’s mailing list.  It looks like getting on the list may require a bit of time on their waiting list, but the wait is very worthwhile.  Click here to sign up.

 

 

morgan-twain-peterson

 

 

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch – $20.00

 

From Morgan -

When life gives you ancient Grenache, make ancient Grenache!  After picking out our bit of Grenache for rosé at Gibson Ranch I got a call from the ranch’s new owner Jake Bilbro.  It was their first year working the vineyard and it turns out they had a few extra tons of the Grenache left.  Would I be interested?  The stuff we got for rosé had been phenomenal and I wondered what it would look like for red.  It should also be noted that none of us are too sure what type of Grenache is up there.  It has very light pigmentation and the clusters take on a grayish caste, leading many to suspect it is actually Grenache Gris.  Another friend thinks it is too dark for Gris but might be Grenache Rouge, but not Grenache Noir.  I frankly don’t know what it is, but I know it is delicious.  I have long wanted to make a light, summer, red—a  California version of Beaujolais or Pinot D’Aunis or Frappato (yes, I know, those are not just summer wines) but perhaps kissed with just a trace more sunshine.  Something fresh, juicy, spicy, and delicious.  This fits that description.  It was fermented with 50% whole-cluster with no foot-trodding to maximize carbonic fermentation with the rest destemmed.  It fermented to dryness with native yeasts and underwent ML in a combination of neutral barrels and concrete tank.

 

This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color.  The reassuring nose has cherries, raspberries, white pepper, Asian spices, orange zest and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with light tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate red fruit and spices jump out first with white pepper and a slight citrus note coming in later.  The finish has good length with just enough of a tannic grip to provide good support.  If this was presented to me blind, a quick swirl, sniff and taste would have prompted a quick Cru Beaujolais response from me, which would have been wrong.  This has nice spice and just enough tannins to make up for the slightly soft acidity.  I wouldn’t hold this one too long, enjoy it over the next year or two.  (90 pts)

2013 Bedrock Wine Co Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch

2013 Bedrock Wine Co Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch

 

 

Closing thoughts

This wine would be perfect with just about any meal on a warm day.  I didn’t chill the wine, but I bet, like lighter bodied Beaujolais, this would provide a lot of enjoyment with a slight chill on a warm evening.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Two White Wines from Ledge Vineyards

 

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2012 Ledge California Soul (Mother Hips) White

2012 Ledge Catacombs White

 

Ledge_MC_Header

 

 

About the winery:

The Adams Ranch is in the Willow Creek region on the west side of Paso Robles and rests on a plateau with the Santa Lucia Mountains as a backdrop, with a steep drop to Vineyard Drive in the foreground.  The vineyard is almost entirely Syrah, with some Grenache and Mourvedre peppered in.  They expand every year at a snail’s pace, with 25 dry farmed acres as the ultimate goal.  The vines are own rooted and reared in the home nursery after pruning each year.  Once established, the vines are dry farmed, field-blended and co-fermented using only native yeasts and are aged in neutral oak barrels.

 

The winery’s site and mailing list sign up is available by clicking here.

 

If desired, you can order wine directly from the winery or just check out their current releases by clicking here.

 

 

Mark Adams

 

 

About the winemaker:

Mark Adams – Paso Robles musician and Winemaker

Mark is mister do-it-all, farmer, winemaker, musician, husband, father and formerly a sound effects editor for Sony.  Mark is also the assistant winemaker for the renowned Saxum Winery with his childhood pal, Justin Smith.

 

“Adams offers a bridge between Paso’s lavish ways and a more cerebral effort”

Jon Bonné – THE NEW CALIFORNIA WINE – A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind A Revolution in Taste

 

 

Much more information about Mark, both wine/beer and music related is available here.  I highly recommend giving a listen to some of Mark’s music available on this site.

 

There is an outstanding over view of Mark on the San Francisco Chronicle’s site in a story titled “Winemakers to Watch 2014: Mixing tradition and pioneering spirit by Jon Bonné.  The story is available here.

 

 

 

About the wines:

I received several bottles of wines to sample.  There were three different “labels”, California Soul (Mother Hips), Catacombs and Kazoo.  The first two labels included a white, red and rosé each.  Instead of trying to sample all seven wines at once I had to choose between sampling based on label or style.  I opted to sample the wines by style.  This post will cover the white wines.  I had previously posted about the red and rosé wines.

 

These wines may be available at your local wine store; I know my local store carries both of these wines.  If not these wines are available on the Ledge website by clicking here.

 

Here is the line up for this tasting:

Ledge White Wines

Ledge White Wines

 

 

 

2012 Ledge California Soul (Mother Hips) White – SRP $20

The Mother Hips is a rock band that is known for a style of west coast music that came to be referred to as California Soul.  Upon their 20th anniversary, Ledge paid tribute to them by blending 60 cases of wine, which to our surprise sold out in a few weeks.  This was never intended to be a “lasting” label, but the brand and the wines continue to attract new fans every day.  They expanded the line to include white and rose wines in addition to the red blends.

 

This is a blend of Viognier and Marsanne.  This vintage uses grapes sourced from west Paso Robles, but is designed to eventually be sourced from all over California.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden straw color.  The open and inviting nose has honeysuckle, green apples, stony minerals, pineapple, orange blossoms and lime zest.  This has medium body with decent acidity and a touch of residual sweetness.  On the palate ripe, juicy apples and minerals pop out first with pineapple and a floral note coming in later.  The finish has decent length with tart lime zest entering the picture.  The lingering sweetness would make this a hit at a friendly gathering.  (87 pts)

2012 Ledge California Soul White (Mother Hips)

2012 Ledge California Soul White (Mother Hips)

 

 

 

2012 Ledge Catacombs White – SRP $25

The concept of Ledge Catacombs is simply that it is farmed in close proximity to the family estate. The vines are sustainably farmed and offer us some insight with regard to our planting decisions at the Adams Ranch.  This wine is a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright straw to yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, white peaches, flinty minerals, lime zest and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with an oily texture and good acidity.  On the palate apples, minerals and peach hit up front with citrus and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a hint of sweetness ading a touch or richness.  This is very easy to sip on its own but would also pair nicely with food.  (89 pts)

2012 Ledge Catacombs White

2012 Ledge Catacombs White

 

 

 

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 – July 14, 2014 to July 20, 2014

 

 

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

N.V. Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres

 

 

 

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani – $15.19

I enjoy a nice Italian Dolcetto, they are just not that easy to find around here.  I had enjoyed this wine in past vintages so when a local wine store offered this vintage on an e-mail offer, I had to grab several bottles.

 

This wine has decent distribution in this country.  If you can’t find this wine in your area, there are several online retailers that carry the wine.  Click here to check out some of the online stores that carry this wine.  The release price is $20, but you can generally find it for a couple dollars less.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The inviting nose has plum, black cherry, dusty minerals, licorice, cocoa powder and wildflowers.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate nice fruit and minerals hit first, followed by cocoa.  The finish has decent length with a floral note coming into focus.  This is easy to pair with food but is also tasty on its own.  (90 pts)

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani

 

 

 

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

This was purchased from Underground Cellar.  Using some credits and getting free upgrades, my actual out of pocket cost was only $8.  This has an average price of well over $20 on Cellar Tracker, so it is VERY doubtful you will find it for anything close to my cost.

 

Only the best parcels of Shiraz were selected for this wine.  This wine is made to be enjoyable in its youth but to also to reward some cellar time.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is dark as midnight.  The comforting nose has blackberries, warm baking spices, mocha, candied violets and a touch of vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate rich fruit jumps out first with nice layers of savory elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with enough acidity to hold everything in check.  This is a very nice Aussie Shiraz that has nice ripeness but does not push it to far.  Enjoy this one over the next few years.  (92 pts)

2010 Henry's Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

 

 

 

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.29

This is a kitchen sink blend that changes every vintage.  This vintage is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 16% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Sangiovese, 3% Petite Verdot, and 1% Carmenere from the Columbia Valley in Washington.

 

The bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork and I could not find the alcohol level anywhere on the label.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to maroon color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, smoldering charcoal, vanilla, meat juices, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice, and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has a nice mix of fruity and savory elements that play well off of each other.  The finish has decent length leaning a bit more on the savory elements.  This is in a very nice drinking window and is a nice change of pace from the bigger, riper California wines.  (90 pts)

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

 

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir – $20.00

This wine was made my Morgan Twain-Peterson, currently of Bedrock, when he was 19 years old.  This was stashed away in their cellar and forgotten about for many years.  Upon finding it and trying it, this was released as part of a Bedrock offer.

 

The bottle does not seem to have the alcohol listed.  This was closed with a natural cork.

 

Here it the background on this wine from the release e-mail from the winery.  Sorry for the length, but I wanted to leave it as Morgan wrote it.

Yes, this is a wine that I made when I was 19 years old but at that point it was the 14th year I made Pinot Noir.  When I was five years old, I asked Angelo Sangiacomo if I could buy .5 of a ton of Pinot Noir from him.  Every year until I was 18 the Sangiacomo family delivered a bin of Pinot Noir, free of charge, to Ravenswood for me to make.  This gesture is, in large part, why I am a winemaker today and is emblematic of why I love the community I work in so much.  In 2000 and 2001, buoyed by placements of the older vintages on the wine lists of Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill, Aureole, Mesa Grill, and others, I made a little more wine.  However, academic pursuits took me away from the industry and the wine has sat in a cold warehouse for the last 11 years.  The wine is obviously evolved, but Chris and I both find the developed perfumed and aromatics to be quite enticing- full of rose petals, violets and that lovely kiss of funk that good older Pinot develops.  Yes, this is a bit of a Kalin-esque curiosity but I am quite pleased with it.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a murky/cloudy ruby to brick color.  The very inviting and sensual nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, earthy underbrush, and a touch of “Pinot funk”.  This has medium body, fully integrated tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and baking spice hit first, slowly allowing nice earthiness to slip into focus.  The finish has very good length with the tart fruit, spice and earthiness to take turns leading the show.  This is a stunning, aged California Pinot Noir.  (92 pts)

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir (Bedrock)

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir (Bedrock)

 

 

 

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains – $40.00

The grapes for this wine come from the Harvest Moon, Elandrich and Chaine d’Or vineyards.  These vineyards are all located on the Eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The vineyards were fermented separately with native yeast.  This Cabernet Sauvignon based wine also includes 17% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.  The wine was aged in a mix of new and old French oak barrels.  The total production was a miniscule 94 cases.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet to purple color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, cedar, minerals, dried herbs, warm baking spices, white pepper, vanilla bean and a touch of wood smoke.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spices and minerals join rich cassis upfront with toasty oak and vanilla coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried herbs and white pepper adding nice savory layers.  This is still on the young side but coming around nicely with some air.  This still has plenty of upside potential.  (93 pts)

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

 

 

 

N.V. Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau – $23.99

I bought this wine while on an unsuccessful local shopping hunt for some Crémant d’Alsace.  After being shut out, I decided I wanted to try something different and saw this Crémant de Loire.

 

This domain was established in 1931 and quickly gained its reputation based on the rich terroir of limestone and silica.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a vibrant yellow to straw color with very persistent, pinpoint sized bubbles.  The alluring nose has fresh baked bread, apples, minerals, pineapple and lemon zest.  This is light on the palate with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate honey dipped apples, minerals and a yeasty note grab hold slowly allowing a hint of pineapple and lemon zest to come in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a touch of sweetness balancing out the crisp, lemony acidity.  This is an easy sparking wine to like.  (90 pts)

Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau

Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau

 

 

 

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres – $17.99

This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah.

 

This very old family estate’s name comes from a place of pilgrimage visited by the Provencal people in the Middle Age and due to protect them from the « bad fevers » (the plague).

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, crushed stone minerals, blueberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs and candied violets.  This has a fairly full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Crushed berries and minerals coat the palate initially slowly allowing some dried herbs and a candied floral note to slip into the picture.  The finish is long with some dark chocolate coming into play.  This is on the young side but already very impressive.  (91 pts)

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn – Oakville Cuvee

 

 

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.

 

 

Pozzan Logo

 

Overview

I’m always on the lookout for value priced quality wines.  When I saw an Oakville Zinfandel on the local wine store’s shelf for under $20, I had to grab a bottle.  How often do you see a wine from a specific AVA in the Napa Valley that can be opened on a week night without blowing the budget.  This must be a brand new release since the winery’s website is still featuring their 2011 vintage in their current releases.

 

I’ve had a couple of Pinot Noir wines produced by the winery and they all delivered superior quality for their selling price.

 

Here’s what the winery says about their “Gold Series” wines:

Our Gold Series wines are the best of the best wines we produce, wines to sip and savor.  Produced in very limited quantities from grapes hand-selected from premier vineyards in California’s Napa Valley, Michael Pozzan Gold Series Wines may vary from year to year.  We currently only produce Gold Series in Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.  We will soon be releasing our latest vintage of Back Barn Zinfandel, a single-vineyard Oakville appellation, and the sole Gold Series varietal to be released in 2010.

 

The Winery – in their words

The pleasure of good wine is not just about balanced flavors, a fragrant nose, or lush colors.  It’s also about the moment when that first sip is taken, with family or friends, over favorite foods or during special occasions.

 

Michael Pozzan creates wines for moments like those, wines that capture the best of the varietals he blends, vintage after vintage.  His long-time experience with growers from premier Napa and Sonoma vineyards allows him to seek out and then hand-select exceptional fruit each growing season.  Michael then works closely with winemaker Richard Bruno to craft those grapes into stylish wines you can enjoy every day, or serve with great pride at those events in your life that deserve something special.  These are wines of high quality and exceptional value — wines you’ll want to share with those you love, and with those who love wine.  Michael Pozzan Winery currently produces 125,000 cases per year and distributes wine under four labels — Michael Pozzan, Annabella, Dante and Marianna — in select markets throughout the United States.

 

 

The winery’s website has a map that shows the states where the wine is distributed that is available by clicking here.  The map is out of date since it does not show the wine is distributed in Wisconsin, but it most certainly is in at least one store in the state.  The link also has the winery’s contact phone number and e-mail address.  This is a value priced wine that is definitely worth a bit of effort to track down.  Did you miss the part about this being a single vineyard Zinfandel from Oakville?

 

Much more information on the winery and their different labels is available by clicking here.

 

 

 

2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn – Oakville Cuvee – $16.19

This is a 100% Zinfandel from a single unnamed vineyard in the Oakville AVA.  I couldn’t find any of the technical specs for this vintage but the previous vintage was aged 14 months in French oak.

 

The wine has a very manageable 14.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby to purple color.  The enticing nose has brambly berries, black pepper, stony minerals, dead wood embers, candied violets, baking spices, vanilla bean and a touch of bittersweet chocolate.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate peppery berries and charred wood come through first with minerals and spice coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate and a candied floral note popping out.  This is a keeper for well under $20.  (92 pts)

2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn - Oakvile Cuvee

2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn – Oakville Cuvee

 

 

 

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 – June 30, 2014 to July 13, 2014

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Avenger

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00

As anyone who has followed me on Twitter or read this blog for very long knows, Villa Creek is one on my top 5 wineries.  Of all the wines offered by the winery, vintage after vintage, The Avenger is my favorite wine they produce.  This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberries, white pepper, smoked meat, dried herbs, underbrush, cherries, minerals, and dark chocolate.  This is a full bodied wine with sold, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  This provides a mouth full of fruit and peppery spice with some nice earthiness and minerality in the background.  This supplies a long, lingering finish with some nice dark chocolate cutting through the fruit and spice. Outstanding!  (93 pts)

2006 Villa Creek Avenger

2006 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section – $19.00

This is one of my wife’s all-time favorite wines.  How much does she like it?  Per Cellar Tracker I bought a total of 33 bottles, and his will be the 26th bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.

 

I should add I like this wine as well.  I still do not understand how it was such a slow mover at the local wine store.  This is part of my last case which only cost me $19.00, a bottle.  A steal based on the $35 release price.

 

This has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

Stuart Miller is the winemaker and caretaker of the vineyard: this is truly a hands-on winery where every step of production from vineyard to bottling is overseen by Stuart himself.  His family are involved in all stages of the process, picking grapes, pruning vines, bottling, packaging and more.

 

Oliverhill was established in the early 1970s and the Miller family moved in during the early 1990s.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, wild flowers, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine gives a big blast of ripe, juicy berries with spicy oak and black pepper adding nice savory elements.  This is a big, bold, and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level.  (93 pts)

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

 

 

 

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon – $51.75

Rudius is the personal winery for winemaker Jeff Ames, winemaker for several wineries including Tor.

 

This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color. The exciting and inviting nose has cassis, mint, warm baking spices, tobacco, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. On the palate spices, cassis, cherries, and dark chocolate hit first followed by minerals and dried herbs on the back end. The finish is very long and seems to linger forever, with the minty note making a brief but appealing appearance. This is on the young side, but already drinking very nicely. I’m sure additional cellar time will be handsomely rewarded.  (94 pts)

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve – $24.99

We had a bottle of this wine while at a friend’s home several months ago.  He told me Costco had the wine in a special box with 4 bottles of the Champagne and for glasses for under $100.  As soon as we could we made our way to the local Costco and a box found its way into my cellar.  This was a killer bottle of bubbles for $25 a bottle.  I’m thankful I have a few more bottles to savor over the warm months ahead.

 

This has 12.0% alcohol by volume.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a yellow to light straw color with an abundance of small, pinpoint sized bubbles.  The enticing nose has apples. pears, minerals, fresh baked yeasty bread, lemon zest and white flowers.  This has a light, delicate body with crisp acidity.  On the palate this has nice tart apples, pears and minerals up front with bread and citrus coming in on the back end.  This has good length on the dry, crisp finish.  (91 pts)

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve

 

 

 

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch – $37.00

Papera, Montafi and the Carlisle Vineyards are my favorite sources of Carlisle Zinfandels.  This vineyard was planted in 1934 and is unusual for an old vineyard in that it is planted to over 95% Zinfandel.  Most old vineyards have a much higher percentage of other grapes planted.

 

This 100% Zinfandel has 15.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 779 cases of the wine produced.

 

There is no need to try and find the 2010 vintage of this wine.  After a few months of cool weather, a day of sweltering heat on August 24th wiped out the entire crop.

 

Mother Nature blessed Papera Ranch with both quality and quantity in 2009, providing us with a wine that rivals our much-lauded 2007.  If you are a fan of what we have done with this vineyard the last few years, I encourage you to take advantage of the quantity available.  The grapes were picked October 10th, fermented indigenously and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

 

Papera Ranch® (Formerly Carlo’s Ranch) – Russian River Valley

Just a stone’s throw from Carlisle Vineyard, this “grand dame” of the Russian River Valley was planted in 1934 by Charley (Carlo) Papera.  Given its cool location, this vineyard is typically picked in late October.

 

If you would like to join the waiting list to get on the Carlisle mailing list, click here.

 

This has 15.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, opaque purple color.  The nose is absolutely stunning on this wine; it’s full of brambly berries, warm baking spices, licorice, minerals, roasted herbs, dried wild flowers, plums, well worn leather and freshly cracked black peppercorns.  This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is balanced, dense, rich and full of layers that slowly fade so the next one can take over.  The flavor profile is loaded on this wine with a very nice mixture of fruit and savory elements.  The finish is very long and again full of flavor.  There are absolutely no rough edges or over powering elements on this wine.  It is drinking wonderfully today and will continue to do so for a few more years.  Stunning!  (95 pts)

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch

 

 

 

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets – $28.80

I was on the McPrice Myers mailing list for a couple years.  The winery produces full bodied, full throttle wines in a “take no prisoners” style.  Though these are nice once in a while, they aren’t every day wines.  I dropped the list because even though the wines are well made and enjoyable on occasion, I just don’t have the need for too many in my cellar.

 

Making a wine that is the best expression of the vineyard it comes from or a wine that is the most harmonious blend it can be, is a complex series of challenges that renew themselves with every vintage. It is my goal and my passion to produce the best for you that each unique harvest brings.

McPrice “Mac” Myers

 

This has 16.2% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  This wine has a massive nose full of blackberries, plums, charcoal, minerals, vanilla, charred meat, wildflowers, and spicy oak.  This is a full bodied wine with solid, chewy tannins and good acidity.  This has solid walls of fruit and spice on the palate with some nice earthiness and dark chocolate in the background.  There is a long lingering finish full of dark fruit, spice, and dark chocolate.  This is an outstanding wine that should last several years in the cellar, but I’d probably drink on the young side before the alcohol (16.2%) becomes too noticeable.  (93 pts)

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

 

 

 

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein – $4.75

I grabbed a half case of this wine when the local store had it on the close-out rack for under $5.00.

 

My Tasting Note

This wine is a light golden-yellow color.  Apples, petrol, orange zest, and wet stone minerality are on the slightly reserved nose.  Light bodied with crisp, mouthwatering acidity and just enough sweetness to give nice balance.  This is 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.  This was an absolute steal at $5 on close-out.  (87 pts)

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

 

 

 

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.97

The 2007 vintage of this wine was a show stopper for under $10.  When the local received a small cache of the 2008 vintage and made it available for $10 via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a case.  My first bottle wasn’t up to the level of the 2007, but it showed considerable promise.

 

According to the Wild Hog website, this wine does not exist, for some reason there is no mention of this vintage.  As a final word on the subject, this is included in the comments about the 2007 vintage, “Dark fruit and violets on the nose. Black berries, round feel and good tannins. It is big, firm and supple. And pretty smooth to boot. This is the last vintage of this wine.”  Oh well, they may need to update the web site.

 

The wine has 15.0% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

At Wild Hog Vineyard it is difficult to separate the wine from the winemaker.  Daniel Schoenfeld began making wine as a home winemaker in 1977.  He loved good food and wine and wanted to share his enjoyment with friends.  He and Marion, his wife and co-owner, are both gardeners with a passionate belief in sustainable living.  Marion tends a three acre organic garden which produces the vegetables and fruits that the family consumes.  Daniel farms the five acre vineyard above the house.  Together with their two children, Iris and Ariel, they harvest the bounty from the land.  They take from the land only what they give in return.

 

As a winemaker, Daniel has a very simple view-allow the fruit to speak for itself.  All Wild Hog wines are unfiltered allowing the full flavor to be extracted.  The grapes are picked ripe and crushed (or de-stemmed) into open top fermentors-1 to 4 ton size.  Yeast is added and the must will ferment 10 to 21 days, until dry.  The must is then pressed and the juice held in American oak barrels.  After 12 months in the barrel for Pinot Noir and 18 months for Zinfandel, the wine is bottled at the winery, using our own equipment.  Since we do no filtering, the wine is racked two or three times during its time in the barrel.  The winery produces between 3000 to 4000 cases per year, depending on harvest and availability of good fruit.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, black pepper, minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, violets, dried herbs, and some earthy underbrush. This is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity. On the palate the wine shows peppery, crushed berries, some earthiness and minerality, with the eucalyptus note coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice fruit and savory elements, and has decent length. I really like the mint/eucalyptus note that carries through from the nose to the finish.  This shows absolutely no trace of the 15% alcohol.  (90 pts)

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

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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 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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