Wine of the Week – 2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

 

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

 

 

Boudreaux Logo

 

Overview

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

 

The Winery (in their words)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Two Blends from Murrieta’s Well

 

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

 

 

2013 Murrieta’s Well the Whip (White Blend)

2011 Murrieta’s Well the Spur (Red Blend)

 

 

Logo

 

Overview

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

 

 

Murrieta’s Well History

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Balzac logo

These bottles were provided by Balzac Communications & Marketing.

About Balzac

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

 

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

The results speak for themselves.

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

 

For more information on Balzac, please click here.

 

 

The lineup for this tasting:

Murrieta's Well lineup

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2013 Murrieta's Well the Whip

2013 Murrieta’s Well the Whip

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2011 Murrieta's Well the Spur

2011 Murrieta’s Well the Spur

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

Cliffs Wine Picks – Oct 20, 2014 to Oct 26, 2014

 

 

2012 Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma County

2007 Stolpman Syrah Estate Grown

2010 Turley Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard

2012 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut L.P.

N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

1992 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese Fuder #8

2010 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon The Label

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Petite Sirah

 

 

 

2012 Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma County – $21.59

When is a lot of information considered to be too much information?  The following is from the Siduri site and explains what went into this wine:

 

WINEMAKING, INGREDIENTS, ADDITIVES i.e. HOW WE MADE THE WINE

 

The Sonoma County Pinot Noir is made up of 17 different lots of Pinot Noir with each lot being made as a separate wine and then these parts were blended together. On most lots, we added a small amount of sulfur at the crush pad to prevent fermentation from starting prematurely and to allow for a “cold soak.” On some lots, we added a small amount of water to the juice prior to fermentation. We did this by draining off juice from the fermentation vessel and then adding that same amount of water back. This allowed us to reduce the sugar and potential alcohol without changing the skin-to-juice-ratio of the must. On some lots we bled off additional juice to make for a more concentrated wine. On some lots, we added a small amount of tartaric acid to the must. Tartaric acid occurs naturally in the juice/wine and the amount we added was a fraction of the total. On a very few lots, we added enzymes to the juice. Enzymes occur naturally in all fruit juices and help break down the skins allowing more flavors and colors to be extracted from the skins. On a very few lots we added yeast nutrients—these also occur naturally in the juice and help the yeast finish the fermentation. We only added these nutrients if the naturally occurring nutrients were unusually low. On some lots we added yeast to the must to complete the fermentation. Other lots fermented without the addition of yeast. All lots went through malolactic fermentation spontaneously. Sulfur was added during the wine’s elevage. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration.

The wine is 14.58% alcohol, 5.9 TA, 3.78pH, with 58ppm total SO2. This wine is Vegan-friendly. This wine has been tested and is Gluten-free.

 

The bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The alluring nose has cherries, raspberries, baking spices, dusty minerals, dry earth and a hint of dried herbs.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spicy cherries and red berries jump out first with minerals and dried herbs coming in later.  The finish has good length with tart cherries and subtle earthiness carrying the load.  Very easy to drink, value priced and very food friendly, who could ask for more?  (90 pts)

2012 Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma County

2012 Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma County

 

 

 

2007 Stolpman Syrah Estate Grown – $21.99

I’m always in the mood for a good Syrah, and the ones from Stolpman definitely fall in that category.  The Stolpman Estate Syrah is consistently very good to outstanding, generally offering high quality at a very reasonable price.  This is generally a wine that greatly rewards a couple ears in the cellar.  I’m looking forward to checking in to see how this wine is progressing.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Tom and Marilyn Stolpman founded Stolpman Vineyards in 1990 after making the decision that Marilyn’s dream of an “investment we can enjoy” could include finding the perfect piece of property that could grow world-class wine grapes.  Tom was seeking out Limestone hills in a cool, maritime climate.  Until 1997, when Stolpman produced its first wines, all of the grapes were sold to other wineries including the cult hits of Sine Qua Non & Ojai Vineyards.  In 2001 winemaker Sashi Moorman came aboard and began working closely with Vineyard Manager Ruben Solorzano to increase the quality of the fruit going to the winery, including experimentation with dry-farming & high density plantings.

 

After decades of careful development, Stolpman Vineyards now bottles wine from approximately 90% of the 152 acres under vine.  Through extensive experimentation with many varietals, the team has perfected its offerings of Syrah, Roussanne, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc.  Limited plantings of Grenache, Viognier, Petite Sirah, and Chardonnay serve as blending grapes.  The very best limited production wines including Angeli, La Croce, and Ruben’s Block are generally only available to the Stolpman Vineyards Wine Club.

 

Today, Tom’s son Peter Stolpman manages the tightly knit family operation dedicated to making world-class wines.  The team never rests in pushing the envelope of quality through organic dry farming and the meticulous work of Stolpman’s vineyard crew, “La Cuadrilla”.

 

Much more information is available at Stolpman Vineyards website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep maroon color.  The very open and inviting nose has blackberries, minerals, freshly ground espresso, smoked meat, black pepper, baking spices, licorice, dark chocolate, and violets, with just a touch of earthiness.  This is fairly full bodied with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  The palate features spicy berries with dark chocolate and spicy oak coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with fresh ground espresso and dark chocolate lingering on after the spicy fruit fades away.  This is entering a nice drinking window and should hold for a few years.  (92 pts)

2007 Stolpman Syrah

2007 Stolpman Syrah

 

 

 

2010 Turley Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard – $39.99

It’s hard for me to believe but this is only the second vintage of this wine that I have purchased.  I didn’t even get this bottle for the winery, a local store received a cache of Turley wine a while ago and I had to grab a mixed case at below mailing list prices.

 

This wine clocks in at 16.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, blueberries, crushed stones, cracked black peppercorns, mocha, Asian spices and fresh ground espresso.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate a load of fruit hits first with crushed stones and black pepper providing a nice counterbalance.  The finish has outstanding length with mocha and Asian spices entering the picture.  This is a hitting is just starting to hit its stride.  Outstanding.  (93 pts)

2010 Turley Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard

2010 Turley Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $25.64

This 100% Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from Lichtenwalter Vineyard (Ribbon Ridge), Lia’s Vineyard (Chehalem Mountains), Apolloni Vineyard (North Willamette Valley) and Kathken Vineyard (Eola-Amity Hills).  The wine was fermented with a combination of native and inoculated yeasts for added complexity and aged for 11 months in 100% French Oak barrels (22% new oak).

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red to ruby color.  The sexy nose has cherries, warm baking spices, raspberries, minerals, wildflowers, leafy herbs and subtle underbrush.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate juicy red fruit and spice lead the show with leafy herbs and minerals coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with the herbs and minerals taking the lead and the red fruit providing nice background sweetness.  Very young but already tasty with a bit of air.  (91 pts)

2012 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2012 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut L.P.

This wine is a blend of Chardonnay (45%), Pinot Noir (40%) and Pinot Meunier (15%).

 

This has 12.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.l

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a light straw color filled with steady streams of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The very inviting nose had apples, lemon zest, yeasty bread, crushed stone minerals, pears and a touch or nuttiness.  This had light body with crisp, citrusy acidity.  On the palate this was bright and fresh with tart apples, minerals and lemon zest up front with a nutty element coming in on the back end.  The finish had good length with the lemon zest leaving your mouth watering for another sip.  (91 pts)

N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut L.P.

N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut L.P.

 

 

 

N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

Domaine Lucien Albrecht is one of the oldest and leading Alsace family owned estate, tracing its roots back to 1425.  Through the Albrecht eighteen generations, they have become one of the largest owners of prime Alsace hillside vineyards.  In the early 70’s, Lucien Albrecht, the father of Jean, the current proprietor and winemaker, was one of the three founding fathers of the regulated Crémant d’Alsace.  In 2004, Lucien Albrecht Crémants made history.  At the 14th Concours National des Crémants de France (Crémant Wine Challenge), they stole the show, winning an unprecedented Four Gold Medals.

 

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir.  The whole cluster hand-picked grapes are softly pressed in a pneumatic press, hence the coral, light pink salmon color.  Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé is made by using the same methods as in Champagne, i.e “method traditionnelle”.  After the second fermentation in the bottle, lee ageing lasts for nine months, followed by remuage and disgorging.

 

This has 12.0% alcohol by volume.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The enticing nose has cherries, strawberries, minerals, yeasty bread and a hint of citrus zest.  The wine has light body with crisp acidity and sporadic pinpoint bubbles after an initial blast of bubbles left a nice mousse.   Cherries, strawberries and minerals dominate the palate.  The finish has great length with just a hint of lingering sweetness.  Not a lot of complexity but very tasty.  (90 pts)

N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé

N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

 

 

 

1992 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese Fuder #8

My comments

We are BIG fans of nicely aged German Rieslings.  The sugary sweetness these wines show in their youth melds with the citrusy acidity over the years to form a magical elixir that becomes a rich wine with just enough acidity on the back end to leave you grabbing the glass for another sip.

 

This has 8.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle was sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

As is usual for a lot of the smaller, European wineries, not a lot of information seems to be available on the internet.  I can recite Jon Rimmerman’s (from Garagiste Wine) silky prose, but I don’t want this to sound like a sales pitch.  All I will say is, if you like older German Rieslings that have generally been in perfect condition, at really nice prices, check out http://garagiste.com/ and sign up for the list.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium golden yellow color.  The fresh smelling nose has apples, pears, honey, petrol, minerals, Spring flowers, pineapple, lemon zest, and a touch of spice.  This has light to medium body with very nice acidity and a ton of richness.  The sugar and acidity have melded into a very nice, rich, silky wine.  On the palate the rich, honey dipped apples and pineapple are joined with minerals and a touch of spice with a bit of citrusy acidity coming in on the back end. The finish has nice length and ends with a touch of flinty minerality and citrus zest.  Very nice and at a peak drinking window.  (92 pts)

1992 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese Fuder #8

1992 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese Fuder #8

 

 

 

2010 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon The Label

When I received the offer from Turley for this Cabernet, I had to grab a few bottles.  I’ve read some mixed reviews on this wine so it seems like a perfect time give it a try.  I’m hoping the negative reviews are from the people that were expecting a big, ripe, overly rich wine.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The very nice nose has cassis, baking spices, violets, cherry, dried herbs, and a touch of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This has medium body moderate tannins, and good acidity.  The creamy palate has nice up front berries, cherries, and spice with dried herbs and some building dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with a touch of earthiness joining the components from the palate.  This may not have a ton of complexity but is an enjoyable wine and seems to be in a very nice drinking window.  The QPR at $40 open for debate, but I’m glad I have more in the cellar.  (91 pts)

2010 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon The Label

2010 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon The Label

 

 

 

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the Napa Valley.

 

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

 

Winery history

We are the owner/vintners of Jean Edwards Cellars – we share a passion for wine, a similar palate and a singular vision on the style of wines we produce.  We live by our motto that “you should only make wines you love to drink” and focus our production on artisan red wines that are full-bodied and classically styled.

 

Quality and heritage are important to us – our wines are reflective of their origins and are sourced some of the most prestigious vineyards (and vineyard blocks) throughout Napa Valley including Stagecoach Vineyard (on Pritchard Hill); vineyards on the valley floor in Rutherford, Oakville and Coombsville; and mountain vineyards on Howell and Spring Mountain.

 

Time really flies – we started producing commercial wines in 2004 but our dream of producing high quality Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon wines started much earlier when we traveled to the valley in 1985.  During that trip, we developed a true appreciation for cabernet sauvignon wines and decided we would some day be a part of the business and produce a wine called Jean Edwards Cellars (our two middle names).  It was a goal worth waiting for and twenty plus years later we released our first wine in the Spring of 2006.

 

For more information, to order wine, or to join the Jean Edwards mailing list, visit their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color, almost purple.  The very nice nose has blackberries, charred meat, smoke, roasted herbs, licorice, black pepper, minerals, brined olives, wild flowers, and a touch of mint.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has a nice blend between the juicy, crushed berries, and the savory elements of black pepper, roasted herbs, and charred meat.  The finish is long and layered with nice juicy berries adding sweetness to the savory elements.  This is drinking nicely, but will reward some additional cellar time.   (93 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

 

 

 

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Petite Sirah

One of my favorite wineries producing a wine with grapes that were purchased from another preferred winery.  How could I not grab a few bottles of this wine.

 

This wine has 14.3% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

Unfortunately this wine was so popular at a small party, I was not able to get a good tasting note.  I poured a very small amount to make sure the wine was not flawed.  A few minutes later I went to get a decent pour and the bottle was empty.  Everyone around the table was swirling, tasting and smiling, so they liked it…obviously a lot.

 

My quick impression was that the wine was very tight, as expected.  It was not very giving fruit wise initially, relying on minerals, pepper and spice with the fruit in the background.  After about 30 minutes the fruit started to move into the foreground (based on smelling other people’s wine).  I look forward to trying another bottle in a couple months so I can get a better read on the wine.

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Petite Sirah

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Petite Sirah

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 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!

 

Three Chianti Wines from Banfi

 

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

 

 

2013 Bolla Chianti

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

 

 

 

These samples were sent in conjunction with an online promotion to educate casual wine drinkers about the Chianti region and its different types of wines.

 

Chianti Rooster scaled

 

 

About Chianti

The first time Chianti was recognized as a wine was in 1398.  At that time Chianti was a white wine, not red as it is today.  The first “official” borders for the Chianti region were drawn up in 1716.  In 1872, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, the second Prime Minister of Italy, created the “recipe” for Chianti.  This original recipe called for Chianti to be a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia.  Prior to this, Canaiolo had been the dominant grape in the blend.

 

In the 1970s, most people’s idea of Chianti was a wine in a fiasco, the straw-covered bottle you’d find at inexpensive Italian restaurants and pizza parlors.  At that time, with the growing popularity of Chianti, many producers were unfortunately more focused on increasing production instead of increasing quality.

 

The biggest change in the region occurred in 1996, when due to the increased popularity and quality of the so-called Super Tuscans, the Chianti laws were changed to eliminate the minimum amount of white grapes that had to be used and to allow up to 15% “international” grapes.  In 2006, the laws were again changed prohibiting the use of white grapes in the production of Chianti Classico wines.

 

 

Banfi logo

About Banfi

Banfi is a private concern, founded in New York in 1919 by John Mariani, Sr. and today owned and operated by his grandchildren.  The company is focused on the production and import of wine.

 

Banfi Vintners is the sole U.S. importer of the Mariani family’s internationally renowned wine estates in Italy: Castello Banfi of Montalcino, Tuscany, and Banfi Piemonte of Strevi, Piedmont.  Banfi also imports the wines of several other producers, including category leaders Bolla, Cecchi, Florio, Fontana Candida, Placido, Riunite, and Sartori from Italy, Concha y Toro and Emiliana from Chile, and Trivento from Argentina, Wisdom & Warter Sherries from Spain and Stone’s Ginger wine from England.  The company has ranked as North America’s leading wine importer for more than three decades.

 

 

Additional references

The Race of the Rooster: How Chianti earned its famous emblem by Arianna Armstrong on Palate Press.

Visit the Crazy for Chianti page on Facebook.

The Crazy for Chianti organization also has a nice website.

 

 

This line up for this tasting:

Chianti Wines from Banfi

Chianti Wines from Banfi

 

 

 

2013 Bolla Chianti – SRP $9

Bolla Chianti wines are more of an every day wine.  This wine is available just about everywhere for under $10 a bottle.

 

The Bolla Chianti is generally a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo and other indigenous varieties.  The grapes are crushed and fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel for 10 to 12 days.

 

This wine has 13.0% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, bright, ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has cherries, wild flowers, scorched earth, dried herbs, and spice.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the tart, red cherries steal the show with some earthiness and spice in the background.  The finish has decent length and again is dominated by the tart cherries.  This is a nice Chianti for weeknight pizza, pasta, or lighter meat dishes.  This would also do well with a cheese/salami platter.  (86 pts)

2013 Bolla Chianti

2013 Bolla Chianti

 

 

 

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico – SRP $15

The Castello Banfi Chianti Classico is a step up from the Bolla Chianti both in quality and price.  This wine has very good distribution and is usually available for under $15.

 

This wine is mainly Sangiovese with small amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is fermented with traditional skin contact of 8 to 10 days.  The wine is aged for a short time in large French oak casks and is bottled the summer following harvest.

 

The wine is 13.0% alcohol by volume.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The soothing nose is cherries, violets, warm baking spices, earthy underbrush and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is rich and plush with cherries, baking spices with some building earthiness on the back end.  The finish has nice length with cherries giving way to some lingering earthiness.  This will pair well with the usual pizza and pasta but would be nice with lighter meat and poultry dishes.  (88 pts)

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico

 

 

 

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva – SRP $19

This Chianti Classico Riserva is the next step up in price and quality.  This wine also enjoys good distribution and is usually available for well under $20.

 

This wine typically is predominantly Sangiovese with small amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon.  After maceration and fermentation, the wine is aged for at least 2 years, with at least 12 months in Slavonian oak.  After bottling, the wine receives at least 6 months of bottle aging before release.

 

This wine had 13.5% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shade darker than medium ruby red.  The very open and inviting nose has cherries, plums, leather, earthy underbrush, wild flowers, dusty minerals, and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there is a nice balance between the fruit, spice, and earthiness with none of the elements trying to overwhelm the others.  The finish has very nice length and again shows nice balance.  This could be slipped into a “Super Tuscan” line up and not stick out as a weak link.  This would stand up well to a meat dish, like roast beef, especially if it was finished with some nice Italian herbs.  This would rock with a pizza loaded with sausage or pasta with meat sauce.  (89 pts)

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

 

 

What would be better to pair with these three Chianti wines than pizza?  I picked up a pizza at the local pizzeria with a thin “cracker crust” that was loaded with pepperoni, sausage, and gooey cheese.  I added an order of Fried Mozzarella Sticks to make it a complete meal  :-)

Pizza and Chianti

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Finger Lakes Riesling Hour Tasting

 

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

 

 

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

 

 

Logo

New York’s Finger Lakes

North America’s premier cool-climate winegrowing region

 

 

It was my good fortune to be able to participate in an online tasting of Riesling wines from the Finger Lakes region of New York.  The event was the final online event celebrating the release of the 2013 Rieslings from the area.  The event was dubbed “Riesling Hour”, even though the event lasted for a couple of hours.

 

To follow ongoing conversations on the wines from the Finger Lakes region, check out the hashtag #FLXWine or follow @FLXwine on Twitter or give a “Like” to Finger Lakes Wine on Facebook.

 

I want to thank the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and the wineries for providing these wines for me to sample.

 

 

About the region

The Finger Lakes became an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982 but its history goes back much further.  The first vineyard in the region was planted by Reverend William Bostwick in his rectory garden in Hammondsport, NY in 1829.

 

The region is now home to over 115 wineries with about 9,200 acres of vineyards.  The region produces about 220,000 cases of Riesling wine from the 848 acres of Riesling grapes.

 

In 1998 the region was brought to the forefront in the wine world when Semi-Dry Rieslings from Dr. Konstantin Frank’s and Fox Run Vineyards each won a Gold medal in Strasbourg’s Rieslings of the World Competition in Alsace.

 

The major varieties of grapes planted in the region are Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.  Each of these has over 100 acres of vines in the AVA.

 

 

Much more information about the region is available on the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website.

 

 

My Line Up

There were a lot of different wines opened for the event; my line up included two dry Rieslings and one “medium dry”.

Finger Lakes Riesling line up

Finger Lakes Riesling line up

 

 

 

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

 

The Winery

Villa Bellangelo was founded in 2002 by Michael Litterio as a Finger Lakes winery with a vision of the future.  The Missick family recently acquired Villa Bellangelo from Mr. Litterio and looks forward to continuing to offer Finger Lakes wine country visitors and customers premier service and a perfect product for many years to come.

 

Villa Bellangelo is situated in a magnificent location atop a hill overlooking central Seneca Lake.  Our tasting room has offered visitors breathtaking views for decades, but these historic landshave been a part of the heart of Finger Lakes agriculture and grape growing for centuries.

 

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

 

The Wine

This 100% Riesling uses grapes from (Gibson Vineyard (63%), Morris Vineyard (30%) and Tuller Vineyard (7%).    The wine was fermented in stainless steel (93%) and neutral oak (7%).  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 3 months in 100% French oak barrels that were 4 to 10 years old.

 

The wine has 11.3% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light straw color.  The appealing nose has apples, honey, orange blossoms, lemon zest, flint and white peaches.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate ripe apples and flinty minerals jump out first with orange blossoms and lemon zest coming in later.  The finish has good length with mouthwatering citrus balancing out the sweetness.  (88 pts)

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

 

 

 

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

 

The Winery

The winery is located high on Torrey Ridge, overlooking one of the deepest parts of Seneca Lake.  Fox Run owns 55 acres of vineyards.  For over a century the land was a dairy farm.  Grapes were first planted in 1984 and the Civil War era dairy barn was converted into a modern wine making facility in 1993.  A new facility was built in 1996 with a picturesque view of Seneca Lake.

 

More information about the winery, their wines and their online store is available on their site by clicking here.

 

The Wine

This 100% Riesling comes from three blocks in the estate vineyard.  The blocks were established between 1989 and 1998 at elevations between 590 and 660 feet.  The wine was fermented at moderate temperatures using three different yeast strains.  The wines were chilled to stop fermentation just before reaching total dryness to leave a small amount of residual sugar in the finished wine.

 

The wine has 11.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden straw color.  The very inviting nose has apples, petrol, orange zest, flinty minerals, honey and white flowers.  This has medium body with decent acidity and a fair amount of lingering sweetness.  On the palate ripe apples and orange zest initially grab hold with minerals and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with the citrusy acidity to hold the sweetness in check.  (86 pts)

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

 

 

 

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

 

The Winery

For three generations our family has been growing wine grapes on the shores of Seneca Lake using only sustainable viticultural practices.  So it’s not just a fad for us, it’s who we are.  These “green” decisions not only protect the health of our employees, consumers, and neighbors, but also insure our continued ability to grow and deliver the best possible wine for generations to come.

 

Much more about the winery, their wines and their commitment to the planet is available by clicking here.

 

The Wine

This wine is 100% Riesling from the estate’s sustainably farmed Red Oak Vineyard.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and is considered to be “Medium dry”.

 

This wine has 12.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light, clear straw color.  The slightly shy nose has apples, honey, candied orange zest, flinty minerals and white flowers.  This has medium body with decent acidity and some lingering sweetness.  On the palate, apples and orange zest jump out first with a nice lime note coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with ripe apples and lime closing the show.  (89 pts)

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

 

 

 

Conclusion

This was another very nice showing of the quality wines being produced in New York’s Finger Lakes region.  Even though this tasting was centered around the release of the new Riesling vintage, many other varietals are being used and are worthy of your attention.

 

 

 

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 – 2011 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noir Edna Valley

 

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.

 

 

Chamisal Logo

 

 

Overview

I noticed I have had a high percentage of Pinot Noirs as my wine of the week lately.  That’s probably due to me actively tracking down Pinots that have attractive pricing to potentially add to my cellar.  A local wine store had this wine on sale for about half suggested price, which made it easy to grab a couple bottles.  It’s been a few years since I last had a Chamisal wine, so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

 

 

The Winery

 

Our Historic Vineyard

In 1973 Chamisal became the first winery to plant vines in Edna Valley, a gamble that paved the way for one of the most revered wine regions of California.  Our Central Coast vineyard is named for the native, white-flowered Chamise plant that thrives on the property.  In the early 1990’s after a period of dormancy, the vineyard was replanted and the estate was renamed Domain Alfred, but when we took ownership in 2008 we restored the original name – Chamisal Vineyard – to honor its place in Edna Valley history.  Now planted to five grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah and Pinot Gris, this exceptional estate vineyard is the centerpiece, source and inspiration of Chamisal’s bold and distinctive wines.

 

Winemaking Philosophy

At Chamisal our winemaking philosophy encompasses an approach that is all about bringing out the natural characteristics of our estate-grown fruit in the wines.  All vineyard work is done by hand.  During harvest, we take as many as four passes through each block to ensure the grapes are picked at ideal ripeness.  We ferment and age each lot separately, tailoring our winemaking, such as the kind of French oak we use, to highlight the characteristics unique to each particular vineyard block.  From our painstaking work in the field to the careful handcrafting of our wines, our style is about allowing each varietal to shine, expressing our Edna Valley vineyard’s naturally bold and complex flavors.

More information on the winery and their wines is available by clicking here.

 

 

156287_10150672592001517_1213184989_n

 

 

2011 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noir Edna Valley – $19.99 (SRP $40)

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir made using seven clones of the grape, all from the estate vineyard in the Edna Valley.

 

The different clones were harvested at night over the course of 19 separate picks.  After hand sorting, each pick was fermented separately with a small percentage of grapes left whole cluster.  The grapes were subjected to a pre-fermentation cold soak of three to seven days.  A combination of native and cultured yeasts was utilized for fermentation in small open-top fermenters at low temperatures.  After 10 to 14 days of fermentation the wine was racked to French oak barrels (35% new) for seven months.  At that time, the wines were blended and aged an additional four months in barrels.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 3,020 cases of this wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, crushed stones, earthy underbrush, dark chocolate and dried flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and great acidity.  Cherries and spices jump out quickly on the palate with minerals and underbrush coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note entering the picture.  This is a very easy to drink and enjoy Pinot.  (91 pts)

2011 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noir Edna 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 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!

 

Cairdean Estate Winery from St Helena – Take 2

 

 

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

 

 

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

logo_icon

Cairdean – Scottish Gaelic for friends

 

 

Overview

This was Cairdean Estate’s second venture into the #winechat experience.  My post on their first session is available by ckicking here.

 

This #winechat was like Cairdean’s first, well received effort.  For this week’s version, I was allowed to select two wines from a list of 5 I’d like to sample during the chat.  The previous time, I opted for wines outside of the usual Napa Valley wines and selected a Malbec and a Merlot.  This time I went a bit more main stream and selected a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir.

 

For the record, here were the wines I had to choose from:

2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Carneros Pinot Noir

2011 Oak Knoll Merlot

2011 Napa Valley Rosé

 

 

Pinot Noir rows in Carneros

 

 

The Winery – Their Story

Cairdean Estate is the vision of husband and wife Edwin and Stacia Williams.

 

While working in the software industry on the East Coast outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Stacia developed a strong appreciation and passion for wine.  She made her first vintage in harvest of 2000, shipping in winegrapes from California through a local beer and wine hobby shop.  She met Edwin, an aerospace engineer, shortly after her first vintage.  Edwin being from Fresno, California was immensely interested in her winemaking project and educated her about the world-renowned Enology and Viticulture program at Fresno State.  After years of planning, Edwin and Stacia moved to Fresno with their two children so that Stacia could go back to school and earn a degree in Enology & Viticulture from Fresno State.

 

During Stacia’s time at Fresno State, she and Edwin planned their future together and knew that they wanted to work together and build a family business managing vineyards and making wine.  They had travelled the world together with their children in search of where they would land, but their hearts always belonged to Napa Valley – the first wine country they ever visited as a couple back in the year 2001.

 

After much searching for their home in Napa Valley, it was their elder son Kyle that led them to the quaint town of St. Helena.  He was entering high school and very much wanted to attend the public high school there.  In their searches for land that would allow a quintessential wine country lifestyle, they settled on a beautiful 50 acre parcel right on highway 29 in Saint Helena just north of downtown.

 

After relocating from Fresno to St. Helena in 2010, Edwin and Stacia embraced their vision and created Cairdean Vineyards.  Cairdean is Scottish Gaelic for friends, which reflects their belief that wine is meant to be shared by those held close to your heart.  The Cairdean symbol is a representation of that belief with the four hearts always present and brought together in the center by friendship.

 

Much more information 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.

 

 

There has been a change at the help of #winechat.  Since this chat was organized by Protocol Wine Studio, they are still getting the thanks.  Future #winechat sessions will be hosted by Just the Bottle.

 

 

 

My line up for this event included these two wines I mentioned earlier:

Cairdean lineup

Cairdean lineup

 

 

 

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $68.00

This is a true Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  The fruit came from four very different vineyards and regions in the Napa Valley.  Grapes from Calistoga, Rutherford, Oak Knoll and Coombsville were used in the final blend.  This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Syrah and 2% Malbec.

 

After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged in French oak barrels, with 50% being new.  The total production was 948 cases.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, eucalyptus, warm baking spices, cedar, dried herbs, dusty minerals, licorice, tobacco and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate tart cassis and dried herbs hit first with minerals and cedar not far behind.  The finish has very good length with violets and spice entering the picture.  (93 pts)

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir – SRP $52.00

This 100% Pinot Noir comes from vineyards in the coolest section of the Napa Valley, Carneros.  Two clones of the Pinot Noir grape was utilized, Martini and 115.  The grapes were harvested at the same time and were whole berry fermented together in an open top stainless steel fermentation tank.  There was a combination of daily pumpovers and punchdowns.  The wine was pressed just prior to dryness and barrel aged sur-lie for seven months.  The wine was then racked and barrel aged for an additional 4 months.  All French oak barrels were used with 50% being new.  There were 408 cases produced.

 

The wine has 15.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, smoke, minerals, cranberries, peat moss, dried violets and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Tart, mineral laden fruit jumps out first on the palate with charred wood and cranberries coming in later.  The finish has good length with a floral note and dry earth entering the picture.  This is tasty now but could use some time in the cellar.  (94 pts)

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

 

 

Closing comments

This makes four wines I have very much enjoyed from Cairdean Estate.  I can see a very bright future for this young winery.  If your travels take you to the Napa Valley, I heartily recommend a visit to Cairdean Estate.  After checking out their menu, I would recommend a stop later in the day combined with a meal at their restaurant, The Farmer & The Fox.  The winery tasting room is open until 8:00, so a post tasting meal would work perfectly.

 

 

 

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Cheers!

 

 

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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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