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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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 13, 2014 to Oct 19, 2014

 

 

2002 Stanley Lambert Cabernet Sauvignon Thoroughbred

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Il Borro Toscana IGT

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

 

 

 

2002 Stanley Lambert Cabernet Sauvignon Thoroughbred – $26.39

I first tasted this wine several years ago at a Cabernet Sauvignon tasting at a local wine store.  Even though several of the wines being served were considerably more expensive, this one was the star.  I bought several bottles at the event and more as time passed.  All together I bought about a case and a half of this wine.  This, unfortunately, is my last bottle.

 

This has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color with a touch of brick showing at the edge.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, eucalyptus, tobacco, well worn leather, baking spices, dusty minerals and dried violets.  This has medium body with nice acidity and soft, silky tannins.  On the palate cassis, minerals and eucalyptus pop out first with spices and a nice floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has great length with the fruit turning more to cherry and some subtle earthiness coming into the picture.  This is probably at its peak.  (93 pts)

2002 Stanley Lambert Cabernet Sauvignon Thoroughbred

2002 Stanley Lambert Cabernet Sauvignon Thoroughbred

 

 

 

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 tannins and very good acidity.  Tart berries 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.  (90 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

 

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $14.24

This is a blend of 37% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah and 9% Malbec, from the High Valley AVA in the eastern part of Lake County in California.

 

The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery History

Brassfield Estate Winery & Vineyard is located in the western section of High Valley at High Serenity Ranch on a truly distinctive and remarkable winegrowing property.  Our valley floor vineyards sit at 1800 ft elevation.  The higher vineyard blocks rise to nearly 3000 ft.  The temperatures of some parts of this unique vineyard are some of the coldest in CA, giving Brassfield a heat summation equivalent to a Region 3 or less in some vintages.

 

In 1973, Jerry Brassfield purchased the original 1,600 acres here as a cattle ranch and wildlife reserve.  Over the next three decades Jerry acquired additional property.  Today, the Lake County estate includes 2,500 acres across both the eastern and the western sections of High Valley, as well as the Round Mountain Volcano.

 

The Vineyards were investigated for their potential to produce world-class estate-grown wines in 1998.  Vineyard planting began in 2001.  As the vineyards matured, the winery has grown with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, Asian spices, black pepper, smoked meat, dark bittersweet chocolate, plums, some eucalyptus, and a hit of earthiness.  This has a fairly full body, solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has a nice initial hit of fruit and dark chocolate that is joined by some building spice and earthiness.  The finish has nice length and is joined by a touch of spicy oak.  The oak has started to integrate and will probably be even better integrated with some air or a little more cellar time.  This is very tasty today if a touch of oak doesn’t bother you too much.  (90 pts)

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

 

 

 

2009 Il Borro Toscana IGT – $29.93

This is a “luxury cuvee” comprised of 50% Merlot grown on rich clay soil, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on ancient alluvial sand and 10% Syrah grown on mineral rich stony soils.  All the vineyards are estate owned.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color.  The inviting nose has plum, blackberries, smoke, dried herbs, crushed stone minerals, tobacco, leather, dark chocolate and lavender.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate plums, chalky minerals and dried herbs jump out first with tobacco and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with a floral note and some subtle earthiness entering the picture.  This really needs and deserves some time in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2009 Il Borro Il Borro Toscana IGT

2009 Il Borro Il Borro Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré – $29.88

Emigré is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Muscadelle harvested from four vineyards, two in cool climates, Greenock and Eden Valley, and the other two from the northern Barossa Valley.  Wines from The Colonial Estate don’t come cheap.  Their lower end wines start at $30.  This is one of their higher end wines and has a release price around $90.  I’ve been lucky in the past (and this time too) to find their wines either on a clearance sale or via Garagiste for under $30.  If you ever have the chance to get a bottle of this wine or either the Exile Cabernet or Shiraz at a great price, grab a bottle, it will bring a smile to your face.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol and is closed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

The Colonial Estate is a range of limited-production Australian wines with an old world approach.  The fruit is hand picked and carefully selected; the reds receive cold pre-maceration, fermentation, pressing and maceration on skins prior to ageing in French oak; whilst the whites get whole-bunch pressing, lees stirring and are fermented with naturally occurring yeasts.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The fully open and inviting nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, Asian spices, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, dried herbs, wild flowers, and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the big fruit component is matched stride for stride by dusty minerals, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and dark roast coffee, with a meaty element coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with minerals, charred meat, and dried herbs adding a great dimension to the mixed fruits.  This seems to be entering its prime time drinking window.  This is big and bold but not an overly ripe, syrupy style of wine.  (94 pts)

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

 

 

 

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes – $18.99

This is a wine that I generally like in almost all vintages but it’s not a wine I hunt down.  If I can find it at a good price I’ll grab a few bottles.

 

This has 15% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is an inky ruby red.  The sexy nose has black cherries, tobacco, blackberries, white pepper, dried flowers, mocha, vanilla and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  Intense red and black fruit grabs your palate slowly allowing pepper and mocha to slip in.  On the back end vanilla and some building earthiness enter the picture.  The finish has good length and veers solidly into the earthy spectrum with just a touch of an herbal note coming into play.  (90 pts)

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

 

 

 

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 Van Duzer Pinot Noir Estate

 

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.

 

 

Van Duzer logo

 

Overview

I’m always on the lookout for good Pinot Noirs.  Recently, most of my time (and money) has been spent exploring the Pinots from Oregon.  A local wine store had this wine on the shelf at a great price and that was more than enough reason for me to grab a couple bottles.

 

 

The Winery

Van Duzer Vineyards was built on a dream to find a cool weather site in Oregon for the fussy Pinot Noir grape that would rival the best wines of Burgundy in balance and finesse. In 1998, Van Duzer Vineyards owners Carl and Marilynn Thoma located a hilltop winery with existing vineyards immediately west of the Eola Hills. The estate site occupies a strategic site in the foothills of the Van Duzer Corridor, the conduit through the Coastal Mountains for maritime breezes that enter the Willamette Valley at the close of summer evenings.

 

Located on a scenic hilltop amidst 82 acres of vines, the family estate winery practices sustainable farming and has been endorsed by internationally recognized LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe.

 

Pinot Noir is Van Duzer’s signature wine. A variety of Pinot Noir clonal varieties and microclimates allows Van Duzer Vineyards to produce a multi-dimensional estate Pinot Noir and a handful of limited-production Block Designates of singular personality. Pinot Gris is Oregon’s other wine of note, a white wine that Van Duzer Vineyards makes in a crisp, dry style particularly well suited to a white wine.

 

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

 

 

Van Duzer pinot grapes

 

 

2011 Van Duzer Pinot Noir Estate – $23.39 (SRP is $32.00)

This wine is produced 100% Van Duzer Estate vineyard grapes.  The clonal breakdown of the grapes are: 22% Pommard, 20% Dijon 777, 19% Wädenswil, 12% Dijon 115, 9% Dijon 828, 9% Dijon 667, 8% Dijon 113 and 1% Dijon 114.

 

The coastal breezes that pass through the vineyards every afternoon greatly influence the grapes the winery uses.  In cool years, the breezes warm up the vineyard so it is warmer than most in the Willamette Valley.  In hotter years, the breezes cool down the vineyards so they are cooler than most in the valley.  In this vintage, a cool growing season, the grapes benefited from extended “hang time”.  The grapes were harvested from October 22 through November 1, just prior to the start of the fall rains.

 

This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There was a total of 5,686 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The enticing nose has cherries, stony minerals, baking spices, damp underbrush, white pepper and dried flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, minerals and spice jump out first with white pepper and some underbrush coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a very slight green herbal note coming into the picture.  A very enjoyable value priced Oregon Pinot.  (90 pts)

2011 Van Duzer Pinot Noir Estate

2011 Van Duzer Pinot Noir Estate

 

 

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!

 

Rhone Ranger Wines from Elyse

 

 

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

 

 

2012 Elyse L’Ingénue Naggiar

2009 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard

2010 Elyse C’est Si Bon Naggiar Vineyard

 

 

Elyse Winery logo smaller

“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event.  It’s what wine is all about.”

Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner 

 

 

Overview

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.

 

Since that day, Elyse has always been the first winery we visit when we make it to Napa.  I always have several bottles of Elyse wine in my cellar.

 

 

In case you didn’t notice, even though I love the Bordeaux grapes and a Pinot Noir can be an excellent accompaniment with a meal, my heart lies with the grapes from the Rhone region in France.  I love a nice Grenache or a Syrah but to me, these grapes seem to hit their zenith when used in a blend, such as in these wines.  The grapes complement each other so well, some add dark berry flavors, some cherry, or spice, or black pepper, or earthiness or dried herbs…you get the point, to me the blend is usually greater than the sum of its parts.

 

 

Cool_Trick_002 small

 

The Winery

Elyse Winery was started in 1987 by Ray and his wife Nancy when they crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine.  While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food.  Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

 

 

Ray grew up on a dairy farm in northwest New Jersey and tended various crops before tiring of milk and leaving the roost.  After a two year stint in the army and extensive travel in Europe and Africa, he returned to the states and attended Stockbridge Agricultural College at the University of Massachusetts.  While at school, he worked at a fine wine shop in Boston, and it was here that he discovered fine French wine.  With Coursen’s background in farming and his new appreciation for wine, the idea of making wine took hold.

 

Nancy is a third generation Californian and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Following her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Occupational Therapy, she worked with special needs children in the educational systems of the Boston area.   It was in Boston in 1982 that Nancy met Ray and shortly thereafter his interest in the wine business brought them to the Napa Valley.

 

 

Much more information and Ray, Nancy, Elyse, and her younger brother Jacob Franklin can be found by clicking here.

 

 

 

My line up for this event included these three wines:

Elyse Rhone Ranger Lineup

Elyse Rhone Ranger Lineup

 

 

 

2012 Elyse L’Ingénue Naggiar – SRP $32.00

 

L’Ingénue, the naïve girl.  According to the winery, “This is a white even a die-hard red wine drinker will enjoy!”

 

This wine is produced using four white grape varietals best known in France’s Rhone Valley.  This vintage is a blend of 45% Roussanne, 24% Marsanne, 23% Viognier and 8% Grenache Blanc.  The vineyard source is the Naggiar Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills.  After a 15 day fermentation using native yeast, the wine was aged 16 months sur-lie in “experienced” French oak barrels.

 

This wine has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  The total production of this wine was 541 cases.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow straw color.  The crisp and fresh smelling nose has apples, peach pits, spices, stony minerals, orange blossoms, pears and tarragon.  This has medium to full body with a creamy texture and good acidity.  On the palate the crisp apples and spice jump out first with minerals and peach pit coming in later.  The finish has decent length with orange zest and pears adding nice depth.  This is a nice white Rhone blend that should pick up some complexity with a bit of time in the cellar.  (88 pts)

2012 Elyse L'Ingénue Naggiar

2012 Elyse L’Ingénue Naggiar

 

 

 

2009 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard – SRP $37.00

 

“Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe” -from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.

 

This wine is the winery’s attempt to make a wine in the seductive and expressive style of France’s Chateauneuf du Pape.  The wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah from the Hudson Vineyard in the Los Carneros region in southern Napa/Sonoma counties.  Following a native yeast fermentation, the wine was aged for 22 months in French oak with 20% of the barrels being new.

 

The wine has 13.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 355 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice bright red color.  The inviting nose has plums, raspberries, flinty minerals, licorice, earthy underbrush, candied violets, white pepper and dark chocolate.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Dried berries, plums and baking spices envelop the palate on the front end with minerals and candied violets coming in later.  The finish picks up some white pepper and subtle earthiness.  This is drinking very nicely and would shine with a rich stew.  (90 pts)

2009 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard

2009 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Elyse C’est Si Bon Naggiar Vineyard – SRP $28.00

 

C’est si bon is French for “It’s so good”.  Read on to see I think the wine lives up to its name.

 

The wine is a blend of 43% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 17% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault, 7% Counoise and 3% Viognier from the Sierra Foothills Naggiar Vineyard.  These grapes are indigenous to Southern France’s Rhone Valley, and they are well suited to the terroir of the Sierra Foothills.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 22 months in French puncheons, 10% of which were new.

 

The wine has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 1,451 cases of the wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, black pepper, raspberries, crushed stones, dried herbs, dark chocolate, baking spices and dried flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate fruit, minerals and black pepper take over almost immediately, slowly giving way to dried herbs and a touch of bittersweet chocolate.  The finish has good length with the fruit and spice seeming to linger forever.  This is on the young side but promises a bright future.  (90 pts)

2010 Elyse C'est Si Bon Naggiar Vineyard

2010 Elyse C’est Si Bon Naggiar Vineyard

 

 

Closing comments

Elyse is one of my favorite wineries.  Their wines, across the board, hit my sweet spot.  In my opinion, you can’t go wrong grabbing a bottle of wine with Elyse (or Jacob Franklin) on the label.

 

On your next visit to the Napa Valley, I highly recommend a stop at Elyse.  They are about a mile south of Yountville just off Highway 29.  A reservation is required but the visit is well worth the phone call.  More information is available at:  http://www.elysewinery.com/visit.html

 

 

 

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!

 

Wines of Turkey via VinoRai

 

 

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

 

 

2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection

 

 

Wines -Turkey

 

Overview

When I was given the opportunity to explore the wine of Turkey, I eagerly accepted.  This is a country that was new, wine wise, to me.  After checking out the importer’s website, I was even more intrigued seeing wines made from grapes that I had never heard of let alone tasted.

 

Sarnic-1-1024x682

 

 

The Country

Wine historians and ampelographers believe that the southeast part of Turkey was the origin of grape domestication, dating back to 9,000 BC.

 

The first evidence of Turkish viticulture and wine making dates back 7,000 years in Anatolia (central Turkey).  It was a custom to celebrate each vintage with a holiday.  Phrygians from Anatolia introduced wine to the Greeks, and by the 6th century BC, Turkish wine was being exported as far abroad as France and Italy.  During the dark days of the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800’s, the Ottoman Empire increased their wine exports substantially, reaching 340 million liters in 1904.

 

There is a very informative History of Turkish Wine available by clicking here.

 

 

VinoRai logo

 

About VinoRai

Vino Rai  was founded in 2012 and has exclusive American rights to import the best wines from the finest wineries in Turkey.  It is their commitment to only select the very best wines for each category and to represent a wide range of varietals so that the wine adventure seekers can try a new wine region without reservations.

 

Much more information is available by clicking here.  VinoRai also actively participates on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

My line up for this session:

Wines of Turkey

Wines of Turkey

 

 

 

2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia – SRP $13.99

Hasan Turasan established Turasan in 1943 in the heart of Cappadocia.  The winery has been run by the family for three generations and has been the proud pioneers in the Cappadocia wine region.  More information on the winery is available by clicking here.

 

The grape for this wine, Emir (eh-MEER), only grows in one place in the world, Cappadocia, Turkey.  The grape thrives in the region’s high altitude (4,000 to 4,6000 feet) volcanic soil.  The grape benefits from the region’s hot days and cool nights.  The Emir grape is often compared to Torrontes and has been grown in the region since the Hitite era in 1700 BC.

 

The grapes for this wine came from very low yielding vines that averaged 2 tons per acre.  After a temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged sur-lie for 6 months before bottling.  The total production was 20,000 bottles (bottles, not cases).

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow straw color.  The intriguing nose has pears, fennel seeds, orange zest, crushed stones, pineapples, dry straw and tropical flowers.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate pears, fennel seed and orange zest jump out first with crushed stone minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried straw and a nice floral note joining the show.  For my first time tasting either a wine from the Emir grape or a wine from Turkey, I’m impressed.  (91 pts)

2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia

2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia

 

 

 

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection – SRP $14.99

Diren Winery was founded in 1958 by Mustafa Vasfi Diren in the northern part of Turkey.  They produce quality wines of Anatolia, predominantly, the Tokat region.  In 1985 Mustafa turned over the winery reins to his son Ali Diren.  Ali has continued the family legacy at the helm of one of Turkey’s oldest wineries.

 

More information on the winery is available by clicking here.

 

The late ripening Öküzgözü grapes came from estate vineyards planted in sandy soil in Mid-Eastern Anatolia.  The vineyards yielded 3.3 tons per acre.  The wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.  The wine was aged for 18 months in tanks before bottling.  The total production was 1,000 cases.

 

This wine is a blend of 85% Öküzgözü (pronounced oh-couscous–zoo), and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine has 13.3% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The deep and dark nose has plums, road tar, stony minerals, warm baking spices, dried violets and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Plums and spice coat the palate, slowly allowing stony minerals and some earthiness to enter the picture on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dried flowers coming into play.  This would work nicely with a rich stew.  The wine would also pair nicely with grilled chicken or lamb.  The wine can also be served slightly chilled.  (89 pts)

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection

 

 

 

Closing comments

I went into this tasting not knowing what to expect but was a fan by the time I was done.  I highly recommend checking out Turkish wines in general and specifically the selections offered by VinoRai.  It looks like their wines are available on Amazon (only California shipping) and selected labels are available nationwide by Compass Wines.  Check out VinoRai’s site for options by clicking here.

 

After exchanging several e-mails with Shane Rai, I did learn one meaty tidbit of information; by law Turkish wineries are not allowed to market their winery and products in Turkey.

 

 

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!

 

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