Cliffs Wine Picks – May 25, 2015 to May 31, 2015

 

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT

2009 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard

 

 

 

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 a few 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

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines – $23.71

To me, one of the better values out there is the Turley Old Vines Zinfandel.  Along with the appellation wines from Carlisle and Bedrock, these prove you can get a great bottle of California Zinfandel for $25 or less.

 

This is a blend of Zinfandel grapes from some of the older vineyards in California that don’t produce enough wine to allow for a single vineyard bottling.

 

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

 

Winery history

In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley.  Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.

 

Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.

 

As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.

 

In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.

 

By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars is annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color.  The very nice and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, incense, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the well behaved palate the spicy berries and black pepper take charge with some dark chocolate, vanilla, and earthy elements coming in later.  The finish has nice length and again highlights the spicy berries and earthiness.  If you think Turley zins are all overblown, you should give this one a try, it will change your opinion.  (92 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

 

 

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT – $14.24

I had this wine on my list of the Top Value Wines of 2012.  This is still a favorite with week night Italian fare, like tonight’s Veal Parmesan.  I like the extra body and richness imparted by the drying of the grapes but the wine generally retains enough acidity to stand up to the tomato based sauces.  This is also a personal favorite with a nice, meaty pizza.

 

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

 

Winery history

Allegrini is the leading producer in the Valpolicella Classico area and one of the most highly acclaimed wineries in Italy and throughout the world.  The family’s roots in Valpolicella date back to the 16th century.  Today the winery consists of more than 100 hectares (247 acres) set amongst the rolling hills of the “Classico” appellation.  All wines made under the Allegrini label are produced exclusively from these estate vineyards.  Through research and experimentation over the years, Allegrini has introduced radical innovations in the vineyards, in the grape drying process and in the cellar, with the objective of enhancing the intrinsic quality of Valpolicella.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, smoke, dried herbs, plums, warm baking spices, minerals, vanilla, and dried flowers.  The wine has a medium body with soft, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine is rich and plush on the palate with the spicy berries and dried herbs up front and some earthiness and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with the spicy berries and dried herbs carrying the load.  If you can find this for $15 or less, load up, I did.  (92 pts)

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Papera Ranch – $21.75

Novy is another long time favorite winery.  I realize I have several “favorite wineries” and they represent a high percentage of the wines I review, but there is a reason for that…I review wines from my cellar that I have bought and I generally buy a lot of wine from certain wineries, because I like them.  Generally, I will buy multiples bottles of wine from these wineries because I know they will make the best wine possible with the grapes.  This wine falls into that category.  I like Novy well enough that I loaded up on this wine with no reviews or tasting notes available because it was from Novy, it was a Zinfandel and it was from Papera Ranch.  By the time there are reviews available of wines like this, they are sold out.

 

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 color.  The very interesting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, minerals, smoke, vanilla bean, warm baking spices, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate shows tart, spicy, peppery berries with minerals and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is kicked up a couple notches with the crisp acidity accentuating the fruit and spices leaving your mouth watering for another sip.  Not a big, bruising style of zin.  Very food friendly and one that should last for years in the cellar.  (91 pts)

2009 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2009 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Papera Ranch

 

 

2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard – $34.50

Everything Elyse produces is a winner in my house.  A top notch cab from them with well over a decade in the cellar should be a wow wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The magical nose is full of cassis, baking spices, cedar, dusty minerals, dried herbs, melted licorice and subtle dried earth.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate rich cassis, spice and cedar jump out first followed by dusty minerals and dried herbs.  The finish has very nice length cherries entering the picture to join the cassis and spice.  This is drinking very nicely but has tons of life remaining.  (93 pts)

2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard

2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 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

 

 

 

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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 – May 18, 2015 to May 24, 2015

 

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.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a 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)

2010 Loring Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Russell Family Vineyard

2010 Loring Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Russell Family Vineyard

 

 

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)

2013 Anthill Farms Grenache Steel Plow Vineyard

2013 Anthill Farms Grenache Steel Plow Vineyard

 

 

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)

2012 Rock Wall Wine Co. Obsideana

2012 Rock Wall Wine Co. Obsideana

 

 

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 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

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)

2011 Sans Liege The Offering

2011 Sans Liege The Offering

 

 

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)

2009 World's End Cabernet Franc Against The Wind Reserve

2009 World’s End Cabernet Franc Against The Wind Reserve

 

 

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 – May 11, 2015 to May 17, 2015

 

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera del Duero

2011 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2011 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range

2014 Château de Campuget Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé Tradition de Campuget

2007 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend – $28.99

Most people probably have not heard of this winery.  I was lucky to hear about it only because the winemaker is Morgan Twain-Peterson from Bedrock Winery.

 

This vintage is the first “official” release for the winery, but I was luck to also be able to get a couple bottles of their 2010 vintage.  It looks like the earlier vintage was pretty much gobbled up by restaurants.

 

This vintage is a blend of 85% Syrah, 4% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignan, 2% Zinfandel, 6% Viognier from old vine and cooler sites in Sonoma County.

 

This has 14.3% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Lacuna is a collaborative venture between four partners Aaron, Nick, Pete and Morgan.  Our collective and longstanding passion for wine and food enticed us into the industry.

 

Now, after years of experience in many facets of the business we are happy and excited to offer a wine of our own.  Drawing from elements that have shaped our philosophy and preferences for wines that have origins both near and far we aspired to create a wine that is characteristic of California but also connected to a European tradition of balance and harmony.

 

Our vision took almost ten years to realize as we were engaged in our professions as wine importers, consultants, sommeliers and brand managers.  The process included endless speculation and, at times, utter confusion on how to get there.  Fortunately, the picture came into focus when we met our fourth partner and gifted winemaker, Morgan Twain Peterson.

 

For much more information or to join their mailing list, visit their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet to purple color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, crushed stone minerals, smoked meat, dried herbs, dark roast espresso, dying wood embers, bacon fat and violets.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the berries and smoked meat hit first with nice dried herbs, cherries, crushed stones and some earthiness coming in later.  The finish is fairly long and nicely layered with the fruit, wood embers and dried herbs seeming to last forever.  For such a young wine, this is drinking very nicely today but it has the balance to last in the cellar for many years.  An outstanding first release.  (94 pts)

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend

 

 

 

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera del Duero – $28.73

I was in the mood for something a little different today.  A lot of people prefer a Rioja from Spain, but to me the Ribera del Duero is THE destination for outstanding Spanish wines.

 

I bought several of these a number of years ago and opened one WAY too young.  It was enjoyable but needed a couple more years in the cellar.  It’s time to see if I was able to keep my hands off it long enough.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The open and inviting nose is full of black cherries, dark bittersweet chocolate, smoke, well worn leather, blackberries, warm baking spices, and violets.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy berries and cherries fly out of the gate with some building dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long and full of spicy cherries and dark chocolate.  Very tasty today but absolutely no hurry on this one.  (92 pts)

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro Ribera del Duero Montecastro y Llanahermosa

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro Ribera del Duero Montecastro y Llanahermosa

 

 

2011 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – $29.99

This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot from Mitchell, York Creek, Camusi and Lynch Vineyards.  The wine was aged for 18 months in American and French oak (40% new).

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The tempting nose has cassis, baking spices, cedar, dusty minerals, vanilla, raspberries, violets, tobacco and just a hint of an herbal note.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spicy cassis, cedar and dusty minerals come on hard on the front end with vanilla and raspberries coming in on the back end.  The finish add a pleasant herbal note and more spice.  This is on the young side and it has the balance to age gracefully but that doesn’t stop it from being very tasty today.  This has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2011 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 

 

2011 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range – $8.70

This wine is a blend of 68% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvedre and 1% Merlot.  The grapes for this wine was bought from various North Coast growers combined with some from the estate vineyards.  A total of 2,954 cases were produced.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, crushed stones, white pepper, cherries, cocoa powder and roasted leafy herbs.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate tannins and nice acidity.  This is rich and velvety on the palate with crushed berries, cherries, white pepper and crushed stones hitting first followed by dark chocolate.  The finish has decent length with some roasted herbs coming into play.  This isn’t very complex and isn’t made to age but it is very tasty.  This is an easy drinker to enjoy with a week day meal of by itself with friends.  This has a twist off cap and has 14.8% alcohol.  (88 pts)

2011 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range

2011 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range

 

 

 

2014 Château de Campuget Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé Tradition de Campuget – $12.59

This wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache Noir.

 

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The sexy and inviting nose has cherries, strawberries, dusty minerals, orange blossoms, lemon zest, white pepper and a hint of dry earth.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate bright fruit and minerals jump out first, followed by white pepper and orange blossoms.  The long finish adds some subtle earthiness and a cleansing twist of lemon.  This is the essence of Spring in a bottle.  Load up on this one if you see it at a good price.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (90 pts)

2014 Château de Campuget Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé Tradition de Campuget

2014 Château de Campuget Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé Tradition de Campuget

 

 

2007 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard – $42.00

This is a wine I 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.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The intense nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, charcoal, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, minerals, melted licorice, baking spices, and a nice floral note.  This has a fairly full body, solid ripe tannins and very good acidity.  This is lush and ripe on the palate but not really pushing the ripeness to the edge.  The palate shows nice peppery berries, licorice, and some smoked meat with baking spices and dried herbs in the background.  The finish is very long and highlights the fruit initially but as the fruit slowly fades, the savory elements keep going.  Still extremely young but already outstanding.  (95 pts)

2007 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard

2007 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold 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!

 

Trilogy from Flora Springs Winery

 

 

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

 

 

2012 Flora Springs Trilogy

 

 

FS_LogoWV_Color

 

 

Overview:

Over the years Flora Springs was always one of our stops when we visited Napa Valley.  We took the two pictures below of the stained glass and wall murals during a visit in late August 2001, a couple weeks before 9/11.  When I was offered samples from them, I was excited to reacquaint myself with these wines.

 

One of my favorite “Super Tuscan” style red wines from California is the Flora Springs Poggio del Papa.  Even though this wine is not part of this post, I had to give it a “shout out”.  The current vintage, 2012, is a blend of 69% Sangiovese, 16% Syrah, 10% Petite Verdot and 5% Malbec, all from the Napa Valley.  This wine is available only at the winery or via their website.

 

 

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About the winery:

Flora Springs, located in the Northwest corner of the Rutherford appellation at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, was founded in 1978.  The stone cellar of Flora Springs is a once abandoned “ghost winery”.  It was Flora Komes who along with her husband Jerry that found the area while looking for a place to “kick off their boots”.  Flora was the one who saw the possibilities hidden behind decades of neglect, over-grown ivy, and shifting rock walls.  The property’s winemaking roots go back to the 19th century but if was the work of Flora and Jerry’s children, John Komes and his wife Carrie, and Julie Garvey and her husband Pat Garvey, that have etched the legacy of Flora Springs.

 

As both artisan winemakers and growers, the family is committed to the traditions of fine winemaking and responsible stewardship of its 650 acres of vineyard land for future generations to savor and uphold. Today, ninety percent of Flora Springs’ red wines are sourced from its organically-farmed estate vineyards, and all of these wines are crafted in their solar-powered 19th-century stone winery and caves.

 

Much more about the winery, the family and the wines is available on their website by clicking here.  I highly recommend checking out their “Working with Nature” and “Farming Responsibly” sections to read about their dedication to sustainability.

 

 

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This bottle was supplied by the winery and Mora Cronin of Cronin Communications.

Cronin Communications is a marketing communications and public relations agency based in St. Helena, California.  Specializing in the wine industry, the firm provides services including strategic positioning and brand messaging, copy writing and media relations.  For more information, contact moracronin@comcast.net.

 

 

 

2012 Flora Springs Trilogy – SRP $75

The Flora Springs Trilogy story began in 1984.  The family wanted to create the best wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots from our estate vineyards.  This “Meritage” is one of the original ones from the Napa Valley.  A Meritage is a wine produced by blending the grapes traditional to France’s Bordeaux region.

 

In this vintage the blend was 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 6% Malbec and 6% Petite Verdot.  The wine was aged for 22 months in 100% French oak, 60% new and 40% one year old.

 

The wine has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a traditional natural cork.  There were 4,882 cases produced.

 

If you want to read more about the blending process for this wine please click here.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to garnet color.  The sexy nose has cassis, violets, cedar, baking spices, tobacco, dried leafy herbs, dusty minerals, cherries, plums and touch of cocoa powder.  The wine has medium to full body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  The wine is rich and velvety on the palate with fruit and spice on the front end and minerals, cedar and cherries coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with dried herbs and cocoa powder entering the picture adding good depth.  This is on the young side but already delicious.  This wine has great balance and will reward some cellar time.  (92 pts)

2012 Flora Springs Trilogy

2012 Flora Springs Trilogy

 

 

Closing Thoughts

The Flora Springs Trilogy is one of the flagship wines from the winery and is a very reasonably priced cabernet based blend to serve at a special occasion.  This wine compares favorably with other much more expensive wines produced in the Napa Valley.  This vintage already tastes delicious but will gracefully age and be even better down the road.  This should drink well through at least the middle of the next decade.

 

 

 

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 – May 4, 2015 to May 10, 2015

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence Russell Family Vineyard

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger – $33.60

Avenger is my favorite wine being produced by Villa Creek.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Luna Matta, James Berry and Denner Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The open and exuberant nose has blackberries, chalky minerals, baking spices, dried leafy herbs, white pepper, vanilla beans, blueberries and a touch of underbrush.  The wine has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with blackberries, minerals and white pepper jumping out first, followed closely by dried herbs and baking spices.  The finish has nice length with vanilla and a touch of underbrush entering the picture.  This is not a lithe and nuanced wine, more of a baseball bat to the back of your head.  Let this one sleep for another year or two.  The wine has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with a wax covering.  (91 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard – $18.00

Anthill Farms likes to make a “one off” wine.  In 2005, they made a Syrah with grapes from the Windsor Oaks Vineyard that turned out so well, it was quickly made part of their lineup.  This is a classic cool climate Syrah that shows tart acidity and good savory elements.  The vineyard is only 10 miles from the coast and the grapes struggle to ripen in this area, resulting in longer “hang times”.  This is not a fruit forward, fruit driven, fruit bomb.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The very open and expressive nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, dried herbs, freshly cracked black pepper, dark chocolate and crushed stone minerals.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spices and black pepper join the crushed berries on the front end with minerals and dried herbs coming in later.  The finish has very good length with dark chocolate and a candied floral note entering the picture.  This still seems to be on the young side but is opening nicely with some air.  This will easily last through the end of the decade.  (92 pts)

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence Russell Family Vineyard – $39.50

This is one of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced.  Thus far, every one I have tried has been outstanding.  This wine is 75% Grenache and 25% Mourvedre from Paso Robles.

 

This wine has 15.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red, much lighter at the edge.  The very pleasing nose has blackberries, cherries, earthy underbrush, minerals, plums, baking spices, mint and some dried herbs.  The wine has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate is loaded with spicy, juicy berries, but it’s not all about the fruit, there is also nice minerality, dried herbs, and earthiness coming in on the back end adding depth and complexity.  The fairly long finish is a nice continuation of the palate with some additional baking spices, mint, licorice and dried herbs kicking into high gear.  This is on the young side, but absolutely delicious today.  (93 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence

 

 

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel – $20.00

The winery was named for the owner’s two grandmother’s, Bella and Grace.  This wine has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, plums, stony minerals, scorched earth, baking spices, white pepper, cherries and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Berries, plums and minerals coat the palate on the front end with white pepper and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note and a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth.  This is on the young side but very tasty and easy to enjoy.  This is a winery that deserves some attention.  (90 pts)

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

 

 

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.50

A few years ago the local wine store ran this wine as an e-mail special.  It was a pretty easy decision to grab a case for well under $10 a bottle.  How often can you find a single vineyard Petite at that price?  I don’t know the specifics but according to the winery’s website this was the last vintage for the wine.  I know for a fact they made some in the 2008 vintage, since I have a case in my cellar.  At least I bought a case but I have opened a few bottles.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

 

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The very masculine nose is loaded with blackberries, fresh ground black pepper, smoke, vanilla, eucalyptus, cherries, and wild flowers.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the peppery berries kick off the show with some smoke and vanilla coming in on the back end. A faint herbal note peaks out on the fairly long finish as well as some earthiness.  This tastes marvelous today and should hold for at least a couple more years.  (90 pts)

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

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 – Apr 27, 2015 to May 3, 2015

 

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Puccini Vineyard

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch

2013 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve Selection Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi – $26.59

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi

2008 Long Shadows Wineries Saggi

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Puccini Vineyard – Free

Here is a great e-mail to receive from a winery:

If you are getting this email it means you are one of Bedrock’s 150 very best customers who ordered this Spring.  Chris and I decided that instead of writing a florid love-letter to you expressing our deep appreciation that we would just use the time honored method of sending a bottle of wine.  Of course, we wanted to make sure it was a very special bottle, and so we decided that we would devote the entire production of Puccini Vineyard, a small, but perfectly cut, ruby of a vineyard your guys’ way.  There was a single barrel of wine made from the vineyard in 2011.

 

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

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The stunning nose is full of crushed blackberries, raspberries, dried leafy herbs, white pepper, crushed stones, melted licorice, tobacco, dried violets and dead wood embers.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Tart berries, white pepper and crushed stones coat the palate on the front end with dried herbs and tobacco coming in on the back end.  The long and lingering finish adds dried flowers and a smooth smoky wood element.  This is much more nuanced and lively than a typical over 15% alcohol zinfandel and a joy to follow over its evolution in the glass.  I wish I had a case of this stashed in the cellar.  Outstanding!  (95 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Puccini Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Puccini Vineyard

 

 

 

 

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve – $8.00

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has ripe blackberries, plums, road tar, eucalyptus, dried herbs, dried wild flowers, vanilla and subtle underbrush.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate ripe berries and dried herbs jump out first with road tar and vanilla coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of eucalyptus and dried flowers adding depth.  This is fairly ripe and loaded with flavor and has just enough acidity to hold everything together.  I wouldn’t sit on this for more than a couple years, open it now and enjoy the fruity ride.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (90 pts)

2010 Henry's Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

 

 

 

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, plums, dark chocolate, baking spices, road tar, dusty minerals and scorched earth.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate berries, plums and spice jump out first with dark chocolate and dried earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a hint of road tar entering the picture.  Not profound or a wine to think over but an enjoyable weeknight change of pace wine.  This wine has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

 

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch – $33.56

For some reason, this wine always slipped through the crack when I was placing my order with Turley.  I grabbed one bottle of the 2008 vintage, but that was the only bottle of this wine I ever bought.  In May 2011, the local wine store received a stash of this wine and put it on the shelf at a great price, so I had to grab a few bottles.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The typically Turley nose is full of brambly berries, warm baking spices, vanilla, stony minerals, black pepper, wild flowers and dark bittersweet chocolate.  This has a full body, solid tannins and good acidity.  The palate is immediately flooded with spicy, peppery, berries and minerals with vanilla and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and full of peppery berries.  This wine seems to be at its peak right now but will hold for a few more years.  The wine has a lofty alcohol of 16.1% and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch

 

 

 

2013 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve Selection Russian River Valley – $16.60

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The sexy nose has cherries, dusty minerals, licorice, white pepper, dried earth and violets.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate cherries and minerals quickly jump out first with white pepper and dried earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a floral note entering the picture.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but that doesn’t stop it from being tasty.  This is a nice value for a week night Pinot Noir.  This has 13.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.   (88 pts)

2013 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve Selection Russian River Valley

2013 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve Selection Russian River Valley

 

 

 

 

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 – Apr 20, 2015 to Apr 26, 2015

 

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen’s Big Boy Blend

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2011 Waters Interlude

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

2005 L’Aventure Optimus

 

 

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen’s Big Boy Blend – $28.49

The local store brought in a couple cases of this wine and put it on the shelf at a blow out price.  I was happy to relieve them of several bottles.  I know this is on the extremely young side, but I wanted to open one to set a baseline on the wine.

 

This is a blend of 100% Syrah, from the Greywacke Vineyard (Russian River Valley) and the Ray Teldeschi Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley), that spent 17 months in 40% new French oak.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The deep and dark nose is full of smoke, blackberries, charcoal, minerals, melted licorice, black peppercorns, black olives, tobacco, and roasted herbs.  This has full body, solid tannins, and nice acidity.  On the palate a boat load of peppery berries, smoke and minerals grab hold and slowly relents enough for some roasted herbs to slip through.  The finish has very nice length with charcoal and minerals kicking it up a couple notches.  This wine will reward another year or two in the cellar.  The wine has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen's Big Boy Blend

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen’s Big Boy Blend

 

 

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $18.16

The owner/winemaker is Cody Wright, the son of well known and popular Oregon winemaker/owner Ken Wright.  This was a new winery to me when the local wine store had an e-mail special on the wine.  In my opinion, any time you can get hold of a good Pinot Noir for under $20, you buy.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

Purple Hands winery strives for the expression of genuine inherent terroir of soil and grape.  We search for ideal moments of ripeness and complexity balanced with authentic strength of soil character.

 

Our wines are windows into dynamic breadths of terroir, extracting and unlocking a code of sweet and savory from our rich Oregon soil.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color with a slight ruby tint.  The soft and nuanced nose has black cherries, raspberries, fresh flowers, baking spices and subtle earthiness.  This is medium body at most, with racy acidity, and soft but persistent tannins.  The silky palate has tart, juicy fruit, spice, and a bit of earthiness which carries through on the slightly short finish.  This is a nice, light weight style of Pinot with juicy acidity and a touch of earthiness and spice to balance out the fruit.  This is a nice change up from the broad shouldered California Pinots.  (90 pts)

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Waters Interlude – $16.98

The grapes for this wine come from Stone Tree, Seven Hills, Cold Creek and Old Stones vineyards.  The wine was aged in 20% new French oak and 80% neutral French oak.  There were 1,550 cases of wine produced.  I should note, I bought the wine at a great price from Garagiste Wine, the suggested price for the wine is $28.

 

This is a blend of 61% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec and 11% Petit Verdot from Washington.  The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very expressive nose has cherries, cassis, stony minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, freshly ground espresso beans, dried leafy herbs, cocoa powder and dried earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate ripe cherries and berries hit first with minerals and espresso beans quickly joining in.  The finish has nice length with dried herbs, cocoa powder, dried earth and a hint of eucalyptus entering the picture.  This may be on the young side but it tastes delicious.  I wouldn’t want to stash this in the back of the cellar, enjoy this one over the next couple of years.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Waters Interlude

2011 Waters Interlude

 

 

 

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown – $27.00

This winery was a long time favorite.  We met the owner, Richard Graeser, when he came to the condo we were staying at to conduct a tasting.  We visited the winery the next day and stopped every time we made it to wine country.  Unfortunately a few years ago they ran into some financial difficulties and he lost the winery.  That also caused me a big problem since I had bought and paid for a case of their 2007 Cabernet Franc but it had not been shipped.  It took me a few years to finally convince the proper people the wine was mine and not part of the estate that was sold.  Thankfully that last vintage is resting in my cellar.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby red color.  The classic nose has cassis, dried herbs, violets, minerals, tobacco, licorice, a touch of cedar and a faint jalapeno pepper note.  This has a medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has berries with a real nice overlay of dried herbs up front with a touch of spicy oak coming in on the backend.  This has a fairly long finish with the berries, dried herbs and some minerality.  This is in a very nice drinking window and should hold nicely for a couple more years.  (93 pts)

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

 

 

 

2005 L’Aventure Optimus – $46.00

This is a blend of 51% Syrah, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.  The wine has 15.32% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  I bought this bottle through WineBid and it was apparently originally sold in France since it has a French importer label on the back.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The sensuous nose has cassis, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee, crushed stones, blackberries, cedar, roasted herbs and dried wild flowers.  This mad a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This is rich and plush on the palate with coffee and chocolate laced cassis and blackberries up front.  On the back end crushed stones and roasted herbs come in.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note entering the picture.  A touch of alcohol pokes through at time on the finish but not enough to detract from the overall wine.  This tastes great now and should hold for another couple of years.  (94 pts)

2005 L'Aventure Optimus

2005 L’Aventure Optimus

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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