Wine of the Week – 2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

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

 

 

Purple Hands logo

 

Overview

A little over a year ago the local wine store brought in the 2010 vintage of this wine and offered it as an e-mail special.  I grabbed a six pack even though I had never had the wine.  After opening and enjoying a bottle, I had to grab six more bottles.  When the store offered the newest vintage a couple weeks ago, grabbing a six pack was a no-brainer.

 

 

The Winery

The owner/winemaker is Cody Wright, the son of well-known and popular Oregon winemaker/owner Ken Wright.

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.

 

It was all but inevitable that we’d make our living from the earth.  Cody Wright, our founder and winemaker, was raised by esteemed pioneers of the Oregon wine industry.  He spent childhood days wandering between vineyard rows and moving fermenters with forklifts.  And his wife, Marque Wright, who assists in managing winery business, grew up in southern Oregon amidst timber operations and cattle farms.  Together, they are the soul of Purple Hands.

 

Cody’s official foray into winemaking took off after he completed a degree in environmental science at the University of Oregon.  He worked in various vineyard management and winemaking roles at Argyle, Ken Wright Cellars, and ROCO.  Abroad, he further honed his craft at Knappstein Winery in Claire Valley, South Australia and Ata Rangi in Martinborough, New Zealand.  In 2005, Cody established Purple Hands as a small boutique winery.  And in ten years’ time—with no small help from Marque—the winery transformed into a cult favorite that produces several thousand cases a year of critically acclaimed wine.

Our winery’s name speaks to a juxtaposition we love: the earthen processes and exquisite products of winemaking.  The toils and stains of working vineyards and crushing grapes lead to the shining bottle on your living room table.  We hope you’ll share our wines with friends and family—and be uplifted by the power of place!

 

 

The Vineyard

Stoller Vineyard is situated on the southern flank of the Dundee Hills, with an optimal winegrowing aspect.  The vines are planted on a narrow elevation band—from 300 to 650 feet—on ancient Jory soils, the fertile and well-drained red soils that define the Dundee Hills.  The vineyard is surrounded by protective mountain ranges that provide a slightly warmer microclimate, which ensures consistent ripening from vintage to vintage.

 

Bill and Cathy Stoller, owners of Stoller Vineyard, bought the former turkey farmland from a cousin in 1993.  In 1995, they planted their first acres in the rocky soil: 10 acres each of pinot noir and chardonnay.  Today, the vineyard is the largest vineyard site in the Dundee Hills—with nearly 200 acres planted to many different varietals and clones.

 

 

Purple Hands Vineyard

 

2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $24.69

There were 700 cases of this 100% Pinot Noir produced.  This is a blend of the 777 and Wädenswil clones.

 

The wine has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is an intense ruby color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, black cherries, Asian spice, candied violets, stony minerals and dried wildflowers with just a hint of smoke and forest floor.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate this kicks it up a notch with intense dark fruit and spice up front with minerals and dried flowers coming in later.  The finish is very long with some earthiness and a touch of dark chocolate adding even more depth and complexity.  This is very young but already is a showstopper.  This will improve with some additional time in the cellar.  Load up if you can find this at a good price and savor it over the next decade and a half.  (93 pts)

2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2012 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

 

Closing thoughts

If you have not tried a Pinot Noir from Oregon, I highly recommend grabbing a few bottles to try.  Purple Hands is a great winery to start your journey but if you can’t find one of their wines, ask for suggestions or just grab a bottle or two.  Oregon Pinot Noirs generally are less expensive than their California counterparts.  Grab a bottle and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

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 – Aug 18, 2014 to Aug 24, 2014

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2007 Core Ground Around

N.V. Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $19.94

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

 

 

 

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $18.00

This vintage uses Zinfandel grapes from Russian River Valley 44%, Sonoma Valley 24% Dry Creek Valley 17%.  15% Petite Sirah was blended in for structure and complexity.  There were 390 cases produced.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The deep and dark nose has brambly berries, black pepper, melted licorice, dried herbs, cedar, tobacco, earthy underbrush, dried flowers and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with solid tannins and good acidity.  Spicy, peppery berries coat the palate with dried herbs and earthy elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with more black pepper and berries seeming to linger forever.  This does show a touch of alcohol on the nose and on the finish but it is barely noticeable and does not detract from the overall experience.  (90 pts)

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00

As anyone who has followed me on Twitter or read this blog for very long knows, Villa Creek is one on my top 5 favorite wineries.  Of all the wines offered by the winery, vintage after vintage, The Avenger is my favorite wine they produce.  This is a blend of 75% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The absolutely stunning nose has blackberries, cherries, minerals, eucalyptus, violets, Asian spices, licorice, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium to full body, moderate ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This delivers a mouthful of juicy berries and spice up front with minerals, eucalyptus, and some earthiness kicking in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with nice lingering sweet fruit, spice, and minerals.  (92 pts)

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard – $45.00

Loring produces some of my favorite Pinot Noirs made in California and their wine from the Clos Pepe Vineyard is one of my favorite they produce.  To me, this wine always has the rich and lush fruit that is the “house style” for Loring wines and has plenty of acidity and tannins to support the body and depth usually in this wine.  For a wine of this quality, the price actually represents a nice value for a higher end, single vineyard, Pinot from California.

 

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.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, underbrush, minerals, licorice and a touch of smoke.  This has medium to full body, moderate, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and lush with juicy fruit but with plenty of savory elements adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is long and very flavorful with the fruit, spice, and subtle earthiness lingering seemingly forever.  This is outstanding today, but will last at least a few more years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Core Ground Around – $20.59

Core is quickly becoming one of my “go to” wineries when I want something a little different.  Dave Corey is making several straight varietal wines that are outstanding, but he shines with his blends, like this one.  Most of these blends are along the standard lines like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, but they also make unique and distinctive blends.  This wine is a blend of predominantly Tempranillo with Grenache and Syrah.  Even the Tempranillo isn’t from one single vineyard; it comes from two separate vineyards, Santa Barbara Highlands and Laetitia Vineyards.

 

This is a blend of 41% Tempranillo from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, 23% Tempranillo from Laetitia Vineyard, 18% Grenache from Alta Mesa Vineyard and 18% Syrah from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard.

 

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

 

The Winery

Dave Corey’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in Entomology and Plant Physiology from Kansas State University, which was completed in 1995. Prior to entering the wine industry in 1996 , Dave worked in Salinas and the Central Valley in agricultural fields including cole crops, cotton, almonds, citrus, walnuts, kiwi, table grapes, apples and stone fruit. His first position in the wine industry was as a Pest Control Advisor with Cambria Winery and Vineyards and later at Kendall-Jackson Vineyards of Santa Barbara County.

 

Dave left Kendall Jackson Vineyards in 1999 to begin Vital Vines, a viticultural company providing technical support for vineyard property owners, vineyard managers and winemaking personnel in the promotion of sustainable agriculture. He has worked with clients that include Laetitia, Barnwood, Beckman, Melville, Stolpman, Gainey, Zaca Mesa, Sea Smoke, Le Bon Climat, Sine Qua Non, Rideau, Carhartt, Rusack, Westerly, Fiddlestix, Vogelzang, Andrew Murray, Evergreen, Arita Hills and Royal Oaks.

 

With a major commitment and a second mortgage, Dave gradually decreased his vineyard consulting work to focus on vineyard sourcing, winemaking duties and winery direct sales for CORE wine company which he started in 2001 with his wife, Becky. Dave passionately continues working in the same capacity today in addition to several new wine projects with family members. He can also be found pouring wine for customers at the CORE wine company tasting room in Old Orcutt, California.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, dried cherries, dusty minerals, warm baking spices, licorice, dried herbs, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, eucalyptus and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate nice blackberry and cherry supply good sweetness up front with the minerals, spice, licorice and coffee coming in later, adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long with the fruit and spice carrying the load with the eucalyptus making a nice closing appearance.  This still tastes young and may improve down the road.  (91 pts)

2007 Core Ground Around

2007 Core Ground Around

 

 

 

N.V. Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut – $29.99

Over the last year we’ve gone from not really being big bubbly fans to actively building a nice collection in the cellar.  This wine is a total unknown, I grabbed a couple bottles from a Garagiste Wine offer but there are no Cellar Tracker notes on the wine.

 

This wine is a blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with the usual sparkling wine natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color with abundant persistent pinpoint bubbles.  The very enticing nose has green apples, freshly baked biscuits, minerals, lemon zest and orange blossoms.  Tart apples, minerals and lemon zest grab hold initially, slowly allowing yeasty notes and a floral element to slip into the picture.  The finish has good length and leaves your mouth watering for another sip.  (90 pts)

Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $39.00

Morgan sources the grapes for this wine from the same block his father used for his sought after Ravenswood Monte Rosso Zin.  This famous vineyard on the Sonoma side of Mt Veeder was planted in 1886.

 

This wine was fermented via native yeasts and was aged in 35% new French oak from four Burgundian coopers.

 

This wine has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has brambly berries, plums, dark chocolate, dusty minerals, black pepper, dried herbs, dried wildflowers and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has full body, moderate to solid tannins, a creamy texture and good acidity.  Berries, plums and minerals thoroughly coat your palate slowly allowing black pepper and dried herbs to enter the picture.  The long, lingering finish adds a dried floral note as well as a touch of eucalyptus.  For such a young wine, this is drinking marvelously right now.  This one can be opened now or left in the cellar for a decade.  (94 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.00

I joined the Bedrock mailing list a few years ago to get access to the red wines they were producing.  Even though I really like those reds, I love their white wines.  In my opinion, Morgan Twain-Peterson is currently producing some of the best white wines coming out of California and selling them at killer prices.

 

The wine has 13.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright straw color with glints of green and gold.  The nose is a fresh and refreshing, full of apples, white peaches, stony minerals, citrus zest, eucalyptus, fresh cut grass, with a nice floral note.  This is light to medium body with crisp, citrusy acidity.  This is bright and very lively with the fruit, citrus, and herbal notes taking turns enticing the palate.  The finish is fairly long with the eucalyptus making an appearance to lend a savory element to the fruit and citrus.  This is in a real nice place right now, but should hold for another year, maybe longer.  (92 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2012 Crowley Pinot Noir

 

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.

 

 

Crowley logo

 

Overview

I’ve been actively buying and trying every Oregon Pinot Noir that shows up on the local wine store’s shelf.  This was a new one for me when it showed up a few weeks ago.  With a price of just a touch over $20, this was also an easy purchase. Oregon Pinot Noirs are a great alternative to the bigger bodied versions coming out of California.

 

 

The Winery

When you don’t have a chateau or castello or even a babbling brook, it can be hard to name your winery. We tossed around a few catchy names, but none of them were as timeless as the single thing we started with — our name.

 

It was good enough for the dairy owned by our family for three generations and it suited us just fine. When we started thinking about the label, we knew we wanted a design crafted with classic elements. And in looking for an image to anchor the label we were intrigued by a cigar box that had belonged to Tyson’s grandfather, Kelly. While it now held photographs rather than cigars, there was this keyhole. So we took the box over to our friend Ben Burch, an animator and fine artist, and he whipped up a few sketches.

 

We had found our crest.

 

 

We make the wines at the August Cellars coop winemaking facility, and we get this question all the time: what’s a winemaking coop?

 

Our winemaking coop is a state-of-the-art gravity flow winery. We even have a wind turbine (the first in Oregon wine country) that provides about 65% of the power needed at the winery. We “share” the winemaking equipment (hoppers, destemmer, bottling line, labeler, forklifts, etc.) with five other wineries.

 

All winemaking is done independently and we have separate underground barrel rooms where we age all the wines. We’d love to show you around, so be sure to make an appointment and visit us at the winery!

 

 

10550839_774422255948040_1557932964545579317_n

 

2012 Crowley Pinot Noir – $21.37

This wine uses grapes from four dry-farms vineyards, Tuckwilla Vineyard (44%), Four Winds Vineyard (35%), Gehrts Vineyard (10.5%) and Laurel Hood Vineyard (10.5%).  The Gehrts and Tuckwilla vineyards are in the Dundee Hill AVA, Four Winds is in McMinnville and Laurel Hood is in the Chehalem Mountains AVA.

 

The grapes were harvested from October 5 to October 10.  Most grapes were de-stemmed but about 5% whole cluster were used.  After a 10 day cold soak, the wine was underwent a “native fermentation” in tank for 20 days.  The finished wine was aged in oak barrels, 10% to 15% new, for 15 months.  Some barrels were racked once the others were not racked.

 

The total production was 400 cases.  The wine has a suggested retail price of $24.

 

The wine has 13.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color, considerably darker than most Oregon Pinot Noirs.  The spellbinding nose has black cherries, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, mint, baking spices, raspberries, candied violets, with hints of licorice, dried herbs and underbrush.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate minerals and white pepper are joined with darker fruit on the front end with spices, dried herbs and subtle earthiness coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with line balance between the fruit and savory elements.  I’d love to stash a few bottles of this in the cellar for a couple years, it could be a real stunner with some cellar time.  For now, give it some air and taste the potential.  (92 pts)

2012 Crowley Pinot Noir

2012 Crowley Pinot Noir

 

 

Closing thoughts

Obviously, since this is my wine of the week, I highly recommend tracking down this wine.  The great price would make this a good candidate to buy a few bottles so you can follow its evolution over the next few years.

 

 

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!

 

2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

 

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

 

 

2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

Faust logo

 

Overview:

Faust is owned by Agustin Huneeus, the person that created Quintessa.  When I was offered a sample of the latest Faust Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, I almost dislocated my fingers replying to the e-mail offer.

 

I’ve had and enjoyed previous vintages of Faust and I wanted to see what they produced is a less than stellar vintage.

 

 

Faust Vineyard

 

About the company:

Faust, the wine, celebrates a legend which has inspired many great minds, among them the German poet Goethe, from whose masterpiece we draw our inspiration.  In Goethe’s most famous work, the aging scholar Dr. Faust barters his soul in the afterlife in exchange for another chance at youth.  He gets his chance, yet ultimately his soul is saved by love.

 

Faust is indeed the fruit of renewed passion for Agustin Huneeus, though Mephistopheles has not yet appeared to claim his soul.  The underlying premise for all of the wines he has ever produced has been that great wines must be a reflection of a great vineyard.  Faust is not.  Instead, Faust is a tribute to Napa Valley’s noblest grape – full-bodied, decadently rich and unctuous Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

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

 

 

About Agustin Huneeus:

Behind every great wine stands a passionate vintner.  Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the creation of Agustin Huneeus and it continues to satisfy his long held desire to produce a wine that embodies the most seductive characteristics of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Born in Santiago, Chile, Agustin is one of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to wine.  With a career spanning 50 years, he has produced wine in more than 15 countries.  Perhaps best known today for creating Quintessa, the stunning biodynamic vineyard and winery estate he and his wife Valeria own in Rutherford, Napa Valley, Agustin is recognized as a driving force in how fine wine is produced, recognized, sold and marketed in the United States.  The philosophy that great vineyards make great wine is his guiding principle.

 

Agustin Huneeus has been discovering great vineyards of the world throughout a career spanning five decades and 15 countries.  In addition to owning the Quintessa estate in the renowned Rutherford District of Napa Valley, his current vineyard and winery projects include Illumination Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Veramonte winery in Chile’s Casablanca and Colchagua Valley’s, Neyen winery in Chile’s Apalta Valley and Washington’s Longshadows Vintners where he is a partner.  In 2009, the Huneeus family forged a partnership with Joan and Walt Flowers of Flowers Vineyards & Winery, pioneering vintners who in 1989, established two extraordinary vineyards dedicated to world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the extreme Sonoma Coast.  In 2010, the Huneeus family purchased two edgy wines, The Prisoner, a Napa Valley red blend, and Saldo, a Zinfandel from some of California’s most revered vineyards.

 

 

Fineman PR Logo

This sample was provided by the winery and Fineman PR.

Fineman PR unites large-agency talent, small-agency responsiveness and internationally recognized strategic direction. We are a full-service agency specializing in Brand PR and crisis communications, creating and executing award-winning public relations programs.

For more information, please visit their website by clicking here.

 

 

 

2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $60

The 2011 vintage saw cool spring temperatures and moderate rainfall that pushed bud break, flowering, and fruit-set back two weeks.  The cooler temperatures continued into summer, making canopy management essential.  A warm September month allowed the grapes to ripen and mature.  However, this was followed by an early October rain which challenged the skills of our viticulturists who responded with careful canopy management, crop removal where warranted, and a lot of patience.  The four weeks of Indian summer that followed the rain allowed the remaining grapes to ripen evenly.  Extensive selective picking and sorting was employed to ensure that the grapes that reached the tanks were in optimal condition.   All grapes were hand-picked, double-sorted and crushed, then cold-soaked and fermented in both French oak and stainless steel tanks.  After an extended maceration, Faust was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, 30% new.

 

The wine is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc.  Most of the grapes come from Agustin’s family vineyards in Rutherford and Coombsville with small lots from vineyards in Yountville, Mount Veeder, Atlas Peak, St. Helena and Rutherford.  These purchased grapes from spectacular mountain and valley terroirs are used to round out the wine.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep violet color.  The sexy nose has cassis, cedar, warm baking spices, dusty minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, vanilla bean and subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  Rich berries and cedar envelope the palate initially with baking spices and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with dark chocolate, some earthiness and a slight herbal note adding depth.  This is drinking nicely today but some time in the cellar will be rewarded.  (92 pts)

2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

Closing Thoughts

If you are looking for a rich, full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, Faust would be a wonderful choice.  This wine has very good balance and the complexity to appeal to wine lovers and the rich, velvety fruit to appeal to people who just want something good to drink.  At $60 a bottle, I would tend to steer guests in the second category to another selection, unless they are very good friends, and keep this one only for true wine lovers.  This is more of a wine to enjoy over its first several years and not one to stash in the cellar for a decade.  Enjoy it while the fruit is young and vibrant.

 

 

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 – Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 17, 2014

 

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lulu Old Vine Rosé

2003 La Carraia Fobiano Umbria IGT

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine – $22.50

Morgan Twain-Peterson has followed the lead of Carlisle’s Mike Officer, make very good fines from old vines and sell them for great prices.  I’m not sure of the status of Bedrock’s mailing list, but I recommend either getting on the list or accepting a spot on their waiting list.  Besides very good red wines, Bedrock produces some truly outstanding white wines.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The very open and expressive nose has brambly berries, plums, warm baking spices, vanilla, minerals, dried flowers, white pepper and a touch of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This has a medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  Brambly berries, plums and spice initially grab the palate with white pepper, vanilla and minerals breaking through on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and some earthiness coming into the picture.  This is showing very nicely, full of rich fruit and spice.  I remember an earlier bottle showing some excess acidity, either there was an issue with that bottle or there is a bit of bottle variation.  (92 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

 

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley – $16.99

This was one of the Garagiste Mystery wines.  In this case, this was the anonymous Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon that was offered for $16.99 lat March.  I wasn’t familiar with the winery which left me even more intrigued.  I opened a bottle of this not long after it was delivered and enjoyed it a lot.  It’s time to try another bottle to see how it is coming along.

 

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

 

Winery history

Located in the world-renowned Walla Walla Valley appellation, Beresan has 27 acres of estate vineyards that we carefully manage to produce premium fruit, and in turn, great wine.  The geologic distinctiveness of our vineyards, combined with fine winemaking, is reflected in the unique character of our exclusive, limited production wines.

 

Owned and operated by the Waliser family, our mission at Beresan Winery is not only to make outstanding wine and satisfied wine consumers, but to live a dream of having a fun, successful and enduring experience with friends and family at our winery.

 

We invite you to enjoy our wines and come see us at our winery in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley.

 

For more information, visit http://beresanwines.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to garnet color. The classic nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, minerals, tobacco, Asian spices, wild flowers, dark chocolate, and a solid hit of earthy underbrush. This has a medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity. The palate has nice fruit on the front end then the dried herbs, minerals, earthiness, and spice kick into high gear dominating the mid palate and backend. The finish has decent length and again leans on the savory elements with the fruit providing a touch of needed sweetness. This is in a nice place today, but should last in the cellar for a few more years.  (90 pts)

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

 

 

 

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese – $29.83

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% 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 also can’t find anything on CellarTracker for this winery since the 1995 vintage.  This leads me to think it no longer exists.  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 bright golden yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, honey, petrol, orange blossoms, stony minerals, lemon zest and a hint of white pepper.  This has medium body with mouthwatering acidity and nice richness.  On the palate apples dipped in honey, lemon zest and minerals jump out initially with orange blossoms and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has very good length with orange blossoms entering the picture.  The wine shows outstanding balance between the citrusy acidity and sweetness.  For 20 years old this still tastes young and vibrant.  (94 pts)

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

 

 

 

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lulu Old Vine Rosé – $19.00

Since the initial release of this wine, it has been a house favorite on warm days.  Past vintages were mostly old vine Mourvedre and the varietal was listed on the label.  With this vintage, some old vine Grenache was added to the Mourvedre and Carignane.  I assume the percentage of Mourvedre fell below the threshold for including it on the label or the name change was to allow even greater flexibility in coming years.

 

This has 12.3% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

From the winery:

In our quest to continually one-up the previous vintage of this wine we stumbled headlong into the rugged terrain of Mendocino.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like the 2012, where I feel we finally captured a trace of ethereal lightness and perfume while maintaining the sturdy stock of Mourvedre at the wines base.  However, I wonder if perhaps the 2012 was just a trace too delicate.  We used more Carignane from the sandy, soft soils of Contra Costa County for that wine so my theory was that we needed to find soils with a bit more edge in them.  Though the base of 2013 wine is composed around the ancient plantings of Mourvedre at Bedrock Vineyard and Pagani Ranch, the rest of the blend is composed of dry-farmed Grenache planted in the 1880’s at Gibson Ranch in McDowell Valley and Carignane from the 1950’s planted on soils that remind me of Pauillac in Ukiah.  As always, all the lots were picked early and all except the Grenache Gris were whole-cluster pressed.  This, I think, though I am sure I will continue to refine, is the best Ode to Lulu to date.  Fresh, perfumed, lifted, bright, clean, dense, and delicious.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The refreshing nose has strawberries, stony minerals, cherries, orange zest, Asian spices and a hint of smoke.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart red fruit, minerals and spice jump out first with orange zest coming in on the back end.  The crisp and clean finish has good length with nice balance between the crisp acidity and sweet fruit.  This is an outstanding bottle for a light meal on a warm day.  (91 pts)

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lulu Old Vine Rosé

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lulu Old Vine Rosé

 

 

 

2003 La Carraia Fobiano Umbria IGT – $19.99

This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Umbria region of Italy.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in a mix of old and new oak barrels.

 

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 red color.  The classic nose has cassis, tobacco, leather, cedar, cherries, baking spices, cocoa powder and minerals.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and cedar jump out initially with baking spices, cocoa powder and cherries coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with a bit of earthiness coming into the picture.  The tannins do get a touch chalky on the finish.  This is probably as good as it will get with this one, which isn’t too bad.  (89 pts)

2003 La Carraia Fobiano Umbria IGT

2003 La Carraia Fobiano Umbria IGT

 

 

 

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 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige

 

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.

 

 

Puech-Haut logo

 

 

Overview

I saw this one on the shelf at the local Costco.  Since it was a new arrival and was just getting loaded on the shelf, there was no “shelf talker” of any kind available.  Based on the region, the importer and the price, I felt it was worth grabbing a couple bottles.

 

 

The Winery

In 2000, Gerard Bru sold his business and planted vineyards on the foothills of the Cevennes, an area he knew well because as a little boy he spent his youth there hunting and working with his grandfather in local vineyards.  There was not a single vine in the soil until Bru planted one but he was convinced that the terroir, covered in olive trees and wild herbs, would be conducive to spectacular wines.

 

Today, Château Puech-Haut occupies 170 hectares including 100 hectares of vines in Saint-Drézéry, a small village 15 km northeast of Montpellier, in the foothills of the Cevennes and belongs to the AOC Coteause du Langedoc.  In Provence, a “Puech” means a small hill (or mountain), a “Puech-Haut” is a hill higher than the others.  This position, “on a hill higher than the others”, is conducive to exceptional drainage for the vineyards.  The clay and limestone soil is composed of boulders brought by the Rhone in the Quaternary and its plots reside on hillsides protected from excessive temperatures by the nearby Mediterranean Sea and winds including the Mistral, the north wine pervasive in the region.

 

More information on the winery (in French) is available on their site by clicking here.

 

 

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2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige – $15.99

This wine is a custom cuvee produced by Château Puech-Haut, Philippe Cambie and Eric Soloman, exclusively for the United States.  This is a blend of 55% Grenache from 60 to 75 year old vines and 45% Syrah from 40 year old vines.  After fermentation, the wine was aged in concrete vats.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The very open and giving nose is full of black raspberries, chalky minerals, potpourri, cherries, earthy underbrush, pencil shavings and dried herbs.  This has a fairly full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  Chalky minerals and berries immediately coat the palate, slowly allowing dried herbs, pencil shavings and dried herbs to slip in.  The long finish adds a nice dried floral note.  This does show just a touch of alcohol on the finish but that is a minor quibble.  (91 pts)

2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige

2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige

 

 

Closing thoughts

If your local Costco or wine store has this wine, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle or two.

 

 

 

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 from Flora Springs Winery

 

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

 

 

2013 Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc Soliloquy Vineyard

2012 Flora Springs Merlot

 

 

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 a couple 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.

 

 

dc0038l

 

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.

 

 

DSCF0039

 

 

These bottles were 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.

 

 

Here is the line up for this tasting:

Flora Springs lineup

Flora Springs lineup

 

 

 

2013 Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc Soliloquy Vineyard – SRP $25

In 1989, the winery handcrafted the first vintage of their Soliloquy Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.  This one-of-a-kind clone is located in the heart of the Oakville appellation and has been certified by UC Davis as the “Soliloquy” Sauvignon Blanc clone.  Even though the Soliloquy clone is growing in a vineyard in the heart of Cabernet Country in Oakville, the Komes family has kept the Sauvignon Blanc, in part to protect the proprietary Soliloquy clone they found there.

 

This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc (57% Soliloquy clone, 43% Musque clone).

 

After fermentation, the wine was aged 7 months in a combination of concrete and stainless steel tanks, oak barrels and stainless steel drums.  A total of 4899 cases were produced.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow with a slight green tint.  The fresh and inviting nose has apples, lime, chalky minerals, grapefruit zest, white pepper and lemon zest.  This has medium body with crisp citrusy acidity.  On the palate tart green apples, minerals and lime grab hold first with grapefruit coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a hint of white pepper popping out before crisp, refreshing lemon zest leaves your mouth watering for another sip.  This is a very nice, easy to drink Sauvignon Blanc that will pair nicely with lighter fare but also easy to drink on its own on a warm day.  (91 pts)

2013 Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc Soliloquy Vineyard

2013 Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc Soliloquy Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Flora Springs Merlot – SRP $25

This 100% Merlot is sourced from winery owned sustainably-farmed vineyards in St. Helena, Rutherford and Pope Valley.  Each vineyard adds a little something to the blend making the finish product “greater than the sum of the parts”.

 

After fermentation, the wine was aged 15 months in 95% French oak and 5% American oak barrels with a mixture of new and seasoned.  A total of 5300 cases were produced.

 

The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to garnet color.  The comforting nose has plums, warm baking spices, cedar, tobacco, dried wildflowers, dark chocolate, black cherries, chalky minerals and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Plums and spice jump out immediately with cedar and minerals not far behind.  The finish has nice length with black cherries and dark chocolate adding depth.  I’d let this one lay in the cellar for 6 months to a year to allow the oak to integrate and drink over the next several years.  This is a very nice, value priced Napa Valley Merlot.  Even Miles might like this one.  (90 pts)

2012 Flora Springs Merlot

2012 Flora Springs Merlot

 

 

Closing Thoughts

These wines, as well as the others produced by the winery, represent some of the better quality to price wines coming out of the Napa Valley.  If you follow me on Social Media, you know I am not a big fan of “value priced” Merlot wines.  This Merlot exceeds the price I would call a week night wine, but the quality provided for the suggested retail price is amazing.  If you see this wine on your local wine store’s shelf grab a bottle or two.

 

 

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.

 

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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

 

 

 

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Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

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