Cliffs Wine Picks – Apr 20, 2015 to Apr 26, 2015

 

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

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2011 Waters Interlude

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

2005 L’Aventure Optimus

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

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

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

 

 

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $18.16

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Waters Interlude – $16.98

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

 

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

2011 Waters Interlude

2011 Waters Interlude

 

 

 

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown – $27.00

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

2002 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

 

 

 

2005 L’Aventure Optimus – $46.00

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

 

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

2005 L'Aventure Optimus

2005 L’Aventure Optimus

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Apr 13, 2015 to Apr 19, 2015

 

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard – $25.34

I grabbed a few bottles of this from the wine store a few years ago when it was offered at a great price.  This is the last bottle from that purchase and based on the quality of the wine, their asking price was an even better deal.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The relaxing nose features cassis, fresh ground espresso, plums, tobacco, vanilla, dark chocolate, cedar and some eucalyptus.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Spicy fruit on the palate with just a bit of toasty oak hit first with fresh ground espresso and plums coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a bit of the eucalyptus and dark chocolate making an appearance.  This will last in the cellar for a few more years but it’s hard to resist at this point in its development.  This is a very nice Napa cab for $25.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands – $34.50

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The enticing nose is full of crushed blackberries, fresh cracked black peppercorns, blueberries, road tar, camphor, minerals, licorice, smoked meat and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate pepper laced black and blue berries grab hold immediately with minerals, licorice and smoked meat slipping in later.  The finish has good length with camphor and dark chocolate adding depth and complexity.  This has really opened up over the last couple of years and is in a nice drinking window but it should hold for several years and perhaps even improve.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were a total of 155 cases produced.  (93 pts)

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

 

 

 

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 last 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

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Avenger – $29.75

The Avenger is my favorite wine from the Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  This is generally a full bodied, big boned, and brawny Rhone Ranger blend.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Booker Vineyard in Paso Robles.  I have been and probably will always be a big fan of this winery.  This is the last winery that I get an automatic shipment at every release and usually add on extra bottles.  In my house, there is no such thing as having too much Villa Creek in the cellar.  This wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottles is sealed with a natural cork with a wax coating.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best.  The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars.  Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage.  The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water.  In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache.  They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby red color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, graphite, incense, cherries, plums, fresh wild flowers, melted licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, crushed stones and some subtle earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, besides a load of nice fruit, there are abundant amounts of dark chocolate, pepper, vanilla, crushed stones and a floral element.  The finish is very long and highlighted by juicy, crushed berries, dark chocolate, and a some earthiness.  This still tastes young and fresh.  There is no hurry on this one, enjoy it over the rest of the decade.  (94 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Apr 6, 2015 to Apr 12, 2015

 

 

2008 Jaffe Estate Transformation

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan

2010 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Pleine de Chene Hudson Vineyard North

 

 

 

2008 Jaffe Estate Transformation – $32.00

This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot from the estate’s St. Helena vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, crushed stones, black cherries, tobacco, cedar, vanilla, white pepper and dried wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries and crushed stone minerals jump out quickly with spicy cedar and black cherries coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with white pepper and dried flowers adding nice depth and interest.  This is drinking very nicely today with a brief decant but there is no hurry with this one.  The wine has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2008 Jaffe Estate Transformation

2008 Jaffe Estate Transformation

 

 

 

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley – $18.99

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The soothing and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, warm baking spices, licorice, dried herbs, tobacco, dark chocolate and some red raspberries.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins, and very good acidity.  Spicy, peppery berries grab the palate initially with dried herbs and dark chocolate coming in on the mid palate.  The finish has decent length highlighted by tart red raspberries.  This has much brighter acidity than your usual California zinfandel, which nicely balances the richness.  With the good tannins and abundant acidity, this should last in the cellar and potentially improve for several years.  The wine has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (91 pts)

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan

If you’ve been reading my posts for more than just a couple of weeks, you’ll see I love just about all wines.  That said, my heart belongs to the grapes from the Rhone region in France.  I think these are some of the most versatile grapes in the world.  These grapes seem to be able to adapt to where ever they are planted and can produce many different styles of wine.  I found this specific wine when a  friend tweeted he had this in his glass one evening.  I was able to track down a few bottles from a store in Washington.  A few days later, they were in my cellar.

 

This is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Carignan from the Columbia Valley in Washington.  I’ve had a couple bottles of this wine last year, but felt it would be better with a bit of cellar time.  I guess it’s time to check in to see how it’s going.  As an added bonus, the wine is closed with a glass stopper.  In my opinion the best stopper for wines that will be consumed in three to eight years.  I need to see some research before I can extend the top end of that range.  I think these stoppers are a bit too costly to use on wines meant to be consumed not long after release.

 

The wine has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper.  There were 385 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shade lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The bright and cheerful nose has raspberries, cherries, minerals, baking spices, licorice, wild flowers, and just a touch of underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity. The palate has nice red fruits, spice, and some earthiness with no rough edges. The finish has decent length and again features the red fruit, spice, minerals and a touch of earthiness.  This is drinking very nicely and should remain in a good drinking window for at least another year or two.  (91 pts)

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan

 

 

 

2010 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile – $20.00

The Turley Juvenile Zinfandel is made of young grapes from the old vine vineyards used in the winery’s single vineyard wines.  The winery doesn’t give a definitive age of the younger vines but they do note that a vine can have several years of age and be considered to be young beside 100+ year old vines.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The comfortable and familiar nose has brambly berries, black pepper, licorice, wood smoke, black cherries and some baking spice.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy, peppery berries lead the way with a bit of smoke and licorice coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a touch of spicy oak peeking through.  This doesn’t have a lot of complexity but it is very tasty.  (90 pts)

2010 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

2010 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

 

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Pleine de Chene Hudson Vineyard North – $39.00

This 100% Syrah is fermented using native yeasts in new French oak puncheons.  The wine is then moved into new French oak barrels for aging.  The wine is a deep maroon color.  The sexy nose is full of crushed blackberries, smoked meat, dead wood embers, crushed stones, dried violets, vanilla beans, road tar and blueberries.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Blackberries, crushed stones and smoked meat quickly coat your palate slowly allowing wood embers and some road tar to slip through.  The long luxurious finish adds a nice dried violet note.  This wine is fully open and ready to shine over the next few years.   This has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Pleine de Chene Hudson Vineyard North

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Pleine de Chene Hudson Vineyard North

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

2012 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

 

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

 

 

2012 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 in this 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.

 

 

 

2012 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $60

2012 was an ideal vintage with bud break in early spring and perfect weather at bloom.  A classic Napa summer followed with warm days and cool nights, leading to a long even harvest with no pressure from rain for the Cabernet Sauvignon.  Extensive selective picking and sorting ensured that the grapes that reached the tanks were in optimal condition, fully ripe and full of flavor. The 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 and malolactic fermentation in barrel, Faust was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, 30% new.

 

The wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% 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 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The rich and opulent nose has cassis, melted licorice, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roasted coffee beans, vanilla beans, wildflowers and subtle earthiness.  This has a fairly full body with soft to moderate tannins and decent acidity.  The wine is plush on the palate with ripe cassis, dark chocolate and licorice up front with vanilla, wildflowers and some earthiness coming in later.  The long, lingering finish features the ripe fruit with vanilla and earthiness also joining in.  Even though the wine is very tasty now, it will be even better with a bit of time in the cellar, give it a year and enjoy over the next couple of years.  (91 pts)

2012 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 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 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 – Mar 30, 2015 to Apr 5, 2015

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Santa Cruz-Monterey County

2007 Red Car Syrah Boxcar

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2006 Myriad Cellars Syrah Las Madres Vineyard

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch

 

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Santa Cruz-Monterey County – $25.00

This 100% Syrah is a 50/50 blend of grapes from Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.  There were a total of 10 barrels produced.  The wine is a deep, dark maroon color. Blackberries, smoke, meat juices, charcoal, black pepper, dark chocolate and a slight floral note jump from the glass.  This has a full body with moderate to solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  This is big and rich on the palate with nice tannins and acidity to support the fruit and spice.  This has a long finish with more meat and dark chocolate coming in late. This wine has reached its peak drinking window and can be enjoyed over the next few years.  The wine has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is closed with a natural cork.  This was a steal off the winery’s mailing list for only $25.  (92 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Santa Cruz-Monterey County

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Santa Cruz-Monterey County

 

 

 

2007 Red Car Syrah Boxcar – $16.63

My comments

One of the mysteries of life, how could I get this wine for under $17 on a blow out sale?  My only guess is people weren’t expecting a wine that demanded considerable time in a decanter or a few years in the cellar for $25.  Someone took a beating on the bottom line, but it wasn’t me…this time.

 

Winery history

Winemaking Style

Red Car uses meticulous viticulture and transparent winemaking to craft wines with authentic character and originality.  Combining old and new world techniques, we minimize manipulation so the fruit can faithfully express the cool climate personality of the Sonoma Coast.

 

History

Red Car was founded by Carroll Kemp and Mark Estrin in 2000 with 50 cases of Syrah from a single ton of grapes.  Besides an enthusiasm for wine, they also shared a Hollywood background – Carroll as producer, Mark as screenwriter.  Their intent was simple: source great grapes, make great wine and market it in an inventive, original way.

 

The winery name is a tribute to the electric trolley cars that ran throughout Los Angeles from the late 19th century through the early 1960’s.  These “red cars” provided transportation in a romanticized time and place.  We strive to make wines that are similarly memorable and transportive.

 

If you find yourself in wine country, the Red Car tasting room is open from 10am to 5pm, seven days a week.

 

More information available at:  http://www.redcarwine.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very appealing and exotic nose features blackberries, dying wood embers, bacon fat, black pepper, licorice, dried herbs, wild flowers and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  The savory elements are in the forefront on the palate with crushed berries coming in underneath.  The finish has nice length with the peppery, earthy berries slowly giving way to dried herbs.  The wine is drinking nicely right now but I wouldn’t hold it for more than another year maybe two.  Solid, but not really for anyone looking for a fruit forward easy drinker.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a manmade black foamy plastic/rubber stopper.  (90 pts)

2007 Red Car Syrah Boxcar

2007 Red Car Syrah Boxcar

 

 

 

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $16.67

 

From The Winery

Helioterra Wines is a small, artisan producer of Northwest wines made at the SE Wine Collective in SE Portland, Oregon.

 

Our wines are pretty, elegant and graceful in style. Winemaker Anne Ebenreiter Hubatch partners with exceptional regional vineyard growers to craft wines that demonstrate the best that the Northwest offers.

 

The name draws on geological inspirations, symbolizing Heliolite, the Oregon state gemstone (more commonly known as Sun Stone.)  Helio and Terra combine the Greek words for sun and earth, natural partners for grape growing.

 

For more information, I highly recommend checking out their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light red to ruby color.  The inviting nose has tart cherries, stony minerals, warm baking spices, roasted leafy herbs, licorice and dried flowers.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and bright acidity.  Tart cherries, minerals and baking spices coat the palate on the front end with roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dried flowers and more minerals joining the tart cherries.  This tastes good now but additional cellar time will be rewarded.  This wine has a miniscule 12.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2006 Myriad Cellars Syrah Las Madres Vineyard – $38.00

My comments

This is a mailing list I jumped on based on the top flight labels Mike Smith had worked with in his brief career.  Even though I have several vintages in the cellar, this will be my first Myriad Syrah.  I have had and greatly enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon wines over the past year or two.

 

Winery history

“Sometimes success is as simple as hearing your inner voice.”

 

Mike started his winemaking career under the direction of Thomas Brown in 2001.   Traveling from Portland Oregon, Mike worked each crush “free of charge” to learn his craft.  Following his 3rd harvest, Mike accepted a full-time assistant position from Thomas and moved his family to St. Helena.  Today, Mike continues to work with Thomas on several labels (i.e. Schrader, Rivers-Marie, Maybach & Tamber Bey).  The Myriad wines are custom crushed along side these greats…  showcasing Mike’s talents and stylistic “purist” approach to winemaking.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color, lighter at the edge.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, black olives, charred meat, roasted herbs, dark chocolate, minerals, plums, black pepper, with some road tar and earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the fruit takes a back seat to the savory elements, adding a nice crushed berry element on the mid palate before some savory roasted herbs and meat juices take over.  The long finish is again highlighted by the meat juices, olives and roasted herbs with the fruit adding nice sweetness.  An excellent example of a wine that puts the fruit in the back seat and allows the savory elements to drive.  My style of wine.  The wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2006 Myriad Cellars Syrah Las Madres Vineyard

2006 Myriad Cellars Syrah Las Madres Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch – $45.00

This is a wine I was able to purchase through a friend’s generosity in sharing his mailing list allocation.  In this case, I was able to get three bottles of this wine as well as the winery’s lower end North Valley Pinot Noir.  My North Valley Pinots are unfortunately all long gone now and I’ve started digging into the Estate Pinot.

 

This has 14.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Tony Soter

Tony Soter founded Etude Wines in 1982 and its name, “study,” describes his reverence for the ongoing learning process that is winegrowing.  Early in his career, Soter realized that there were innumerable variables that guided a wine towards excellence.  He learned to distinguish between winemaking techniques fundamental to quality, and those that imparted a winemaker’s signature.  He sought to understand the voice of each individual vineyard, to maximize its expression in the glass.

 

In the mid-1980s, Soter began working as a consulting winemaker in the Napa Valley, assisting luminaries such as Araujo, Niebaum-Coppola, Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader and Dalle Valle.  After years of mentoring and encouraging some of Napa Valley’s most respected growers and winemakers, he ended his consulting roles to focus exclusively on Soter Vineyards and his family.

 

Apart from being a culmination, Soter Vineyards is also a beginning.  Soter Vineyards is a family enterprise; with the eventual help of their children, Oregon natives Tony and Michelle Soter hope to establish a legacy of august, estate-bottled wines, in the fashion of the great family domaines of Burgundy.  The wines will consistently express this exotic flare, be sappy and fruit-driven, with lovely acid balance.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The elegant nose has cherries, Asian spices, minerals, cola, dried flowers, smoke and a touch of white pepper.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  This is intense on the palate with bright, focused cherries and spice up front, slowly giving way to minerals, cola and white pepper.  The finish has nice length but seems to lose just a touch of its zip and focus.  This is very nice now but will be better in another year of two.  (93 pts)

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs 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 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Steven Kent Wines – Lola White Blend

 

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

This sample was provided by the winery.

 

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Overview

Over the last couple of years, receiving samples from Steven Kent Winery (and La Rochelle) has always been a high point.  Steven Kent Winery produces some of the best Bordeaux varietal based wines coming out of California.  La Rochelle is at the other end of the varietal spectrum producing outstanding wines from the grapes of Burgundy.  This shipment was of one of my favorite warm weather wines, the new vintage of Steven Kent Winery Lola.  This is usually an outstanding blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the white grapes of Bordeaux.

 

 

The Steven Kent Winery Was Born.

In 2005, Steven joined forces with the Ghielmetti family who owned a spectacular vineyard site about three miles east of the winery.  The site was planted to Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, many of which he used to make small-lot releases for his burgeoning wine clubs.  Steven realized in 2007, though, that the farther he went down this path, the further away he’d be from the vision with which he started in the business – to make a single, great, statement wine.

 

Lineage—our Livermore Valley Red Wine—then, is the renaissance of that need to have the effort mean something; for the wine to be a symbol of the passion to create something of great quality, an emblem of one family’s generations-long commitment to the grape.

 

Also in 2005, Steven found an opportunity to close a circle.  His cousins, who had earlier sold the Mirassou brand to Gallo, had started a brand called La Rochelle, named for the town north of Bordeaux from which their progenitor had come to America in 1854.  La Rochelle had an amazingly talented winemaker, Tom Stutz, and a portfolio of wines whose only focus was family vineyard fruit from Monterey.  Steven acquired the brand and brought it and Tom up to Livermore with a new focus on Pinot Noir.  Seven years later, La Rochelle is making some of the best Pinot Noirs (and a newly released, small-lot production focus on Chardonnay) in California.

 

Much more information, links to the wineries, and purchasing information is available at their website.

 

Steven has a very nice blog here – Steven’s Blog.

 

 

Steven Kent Winery Info

“Steven Kent is producing today’s greatest Livermore Cabernets, wines that hearken back to the valley’s roots as one of California’s best wine regions.” – Wine Enthusiast

 

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet here in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.

 

Livermore Valley has a long, dedicated history of growing the “Bordeaux” varietals, and in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.  In the 1880s, pioneering winegrowers began to discover the potential of the Livermore Valley region.  Then, as today, L.V.’s climate and soils closely resemble those of Bordeaux’s famed left bank of the Gironde.  By the turn of the last century, Livermore Valley was already far ahead of its Napa Valley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties.  Our goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.

 

“We have worked joyously and strenuously to know our vineyards; to learn how our fruit expresses itself from those sites; to discover the best winemaking and barrel regimens that translates those grapes into world-class vintages.  We’re very gratified that customers, critics, and collectors alike consider our “historic Cabernet” to be an essential addition to their table, their “best of lists,” and their cellars”.  – Steven Kent Mirassou

 

More information is available at their website.

 

 

To check availability or to purchase any of these wine or other wines offered by the wineries in the Steven Kent Portfolio, visit their website.

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard – SRP $24.00

The fruit for both varietals was fermented separately in stainless tanks.  The Semillon was aged in neutral oak barrels for about three months then blended with the stainless steel aged Sauvignon Blanc.  To maintain as much of the racy fruit as possible Lola did not go through malolactic fermentation and was thus filtered before bottling.

 

This wine is a blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon from the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard located in the foothills 3.4 miles east of the Winery.  The wine has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  There was 500 cases of this wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a clear light straw yellow with a slight green tint.  The fresh and sexy nose has lemon zest, honey suckle, orange blossoms, crushed stone minerals, apples, cut grass, lime zest and a touch of spice.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples and lemon zest jump out quickly with minerals and white flowers coming in later.  The finish has very good length with lime zest and a slight grassy note coming in adding nice depth.  This is a killer bottle of wine for a nice au fresco meal on the deck or patio or to sip on its own on a warm day at the pool.  Count me in as a big fan.  (91 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2014 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Mar 23, 2015 to Mar 29, 2015

 

2007 Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

2012 ZAP Zinfandel The Heritage Vineyard

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto Dogliani

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Grenache Emma’s Crush Santa Barbara County

2011 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard

2004 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett – $19.00

I bought a six pack of this wine during a tasting at the local wine store several years ago.  I remember it being fairly sweet but loaded with acidity so I swore I’d keep my hands off the wine for at least 5 years.  I was almost successful waiting for that long and my patience was rewarded.  It’s been another year and a half, so it’s time to check in again.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very alluring nose has apples, honeydew melon, spice, minerals, vanilla, citrus zest, orange blossoms, and a touch of petrol.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity and solid residual sweetness.  The rich and creamy palate has ripe apples dipped in honey, minerals and melon up front with vanilla and lime coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long and full of sweet fruit, minerals and bit of closing citrus.  Definitely on the sweet side for a Kabinett, but the acidity does a valiant job holding everything together.  There’s no hurry on opening this one, it has several years of life, perhaps even more with good cellaring.  This wine has 7.5% alcohol.  (92 pts)

2007 Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

2007 Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

 

 

 

2012 ZAP Zinfandel The Heritage Vineyard

The Heritage Vineyard is an unusual and unprecedented collection of rare and famous Zinfandel vine cuttings grown throughout California.  The Heritage Vineyard stretches over one acre within the UC Davis Oakville Research Station in Napa Valley, California.

 

During the first phase of the project in 1995, 63 selections were planted; during the second phase in 1999, an additional 27, so that the total number of selections now totals 90.  The vines are grafted onto St. George rootstock in clay loam soil with a spacing of 9 feet x 8 feet.  Each vine is head-trained and spur-pruned in the “goblet” shape as they would have been in the nineteenth century.  These practices are not as typical today, since they insure a low (and high quality) yield.  ZAP began producing wine from this historical vineyard in 1997.

 

The first Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel was harvested by ZAP winery producer Nils Venge of Saddleback Cellars and Mary Buckles Pisor of PlumpJack Winery in Oakville.  The 1998 vintage by Robert Biale of Robert Biale Vineyards in Napa, the 1999 vintage was by Matthew Cline of Cline Cellars.  The 2000 vintage is by Rod Berglund of Joseph Swan Vineyards, 2001 vintage is produced by Joel Peterson of Ravenswood, 2002 vintage by Ehren Jordon of Turley Wine Cellars, vintage 2003 by Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards, 2004 by Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars, 2005 by Bill Knuttel of Dry Creek Vineyard and Ottimino, 2006 by Dr. J. Bernard Seps of Storybook Mountain Vineyards. 2007 by Joel Peterson of Ravenswood and 2008 produced by Tom Mackey of St. Francis Winery.  2009 by Ted Seghesio of Seghesio Family Vineyards. 2010 by Diane Wilson of Wilson Family Winery. 2011 by Scott Harvey of Scott Harvey Wines. 2012 by Chris Leamy of Terra d’Oro Winery.

 

More information on the project is available by clicking here.

 

Each year ZAP selects a distinguished winery member to craft a unique Zinfandel vintage from the Heritage Vineyard, which is available for tasting at many ZAP events and for purchase during the Zinfandel Festival.

 

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

 

This wine was provided to me by Protocol Wine Studio for a tasting during #WineStudio online tasting and chat.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, dusty minerals, warm baking spices, tart cherries, freshly cracked black peppercorns, dried earth and a touch of mint.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate bright cherries, spice and brambly berries jump out first with dusty minerals and black pepper coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with dried earthiness and a touch of mint adding nice depth.  (92 pts)

2012 ZAP Zinfandel The Heritage Vineyard

2012 ZAP Zinfandel The Heritage Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto Dogliani – $15.19

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto Dogliani

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto Dogliani

 

 

 

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks – $39.99

I bought a few bottles of this wine hoping it was going to be a nice Cabernet for weekend dinners.  My first bottle was a bit disappointing since the wine lacked everything that makes a Howell Mountain Cab distinctive and interesting.  I’m hoping the first bottle was a bit off but based on a couple other notes, I’m afraid my initial opinion was right.  I guess I’ll see this evening.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep maroon color.  The big and fully open nose is full of cassis, licorice, warm baking spices, black pepper, leather, dried herbs, and a touch of cedar.  This has medium to full body with soft, ripe tannins, and decent acidity.  On the palate this is soft and jammy for a Howell Mountain wine.  Big, ripe, juicy, berries and spice hit the front end of the palate coating it in flavor with dried herbs and spicy oak coming in on the backend.  The finish has good length and shows jammy fruit and spice with an oaky overlay but could use some additional complexity.  This is an easier drinking wine than I expected, this isn’t one to stash in the cellar for an extended time.  (89 pts)

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks

 

 

 

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Grenache Emma’s Crush Santa Barbara County – $16.90

This was about as easy of a purchase that I ever made.  I love the Grenache grape, the wines coming out of Santa Barbara County, and the value the Treasure Hunter label provides.

 

Winery history

Each Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from our panel of nine called The De-Vine Nine.  Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs, they are the best of the best and they pour through hundreds of wines before they are deemed worthy.

 

Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink seminal wines of great importance.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, raspberries, dried herbs, baking spices, white pepper, crushed stone minerals and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy, peppery cherries and raspberries grab hold, slowly allowing some dried herbs and earthiness slip into focus.  The finish had decent length with a nice mix of the fruit and savory elements.  This is drinking very nicely at this time and should hold for another year or two.  This has 14.7% alcohol.  (91 pts)

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Grenache Emma's Crush Santa Barbara County

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Grenache Emma’s Crush Santa Barbara County

 

 

 

2011 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard – $24.00

When Mike Smith, the owner/wine maker of Myriad Cellars sent out an e-mail offer for this wine as well as three others with a total combined production of well under 200 total cases, I was lucky enough to get a small allocation.  This was one of those offers you couldn’t refuse.  There was a total production of only 48 cases of this wine.  How can you pass on a single vineyard, Rutherford Sémillon for $24?  I couldn’t!  In the same offer, I had to also grab a few bottles of their Rutherford sourced Petit Verdot, which had an even lower production of only 22 cases.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow with a golden tint.  The crisp and clean nose has melon, pineapple, lemon zest, toasted almonds, minerals, spices, honey, and a very slight herbal note.  This has medium body, tart citrusy acidity, and a touch of tannins.  On the palate this has rich fruit and minerals up front with a big jolt of citrus coming in to hold everything together very nicely on the midpalate.  The finish has nice length with a touch of an herbal element coming into the picture.  This is drinking nicely, this can be enjoyed now or over the next year, maybe two.  This has 14.4% alcohol.  (92 pts)

2011 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard

2011 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard

 

 

 

2004 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – $60.00

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

For much more information on the winery or to join their mailing list click here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to garnet color with just a touch of lightening at the edge.  The sensuous nose features cassis, cedar, tobacco, dried herbs, cherries, smoke, well worn leather, dried violets and just a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with moderate ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and velvety on the palate with dried herb laced berries and cherries up front with nice savory notes and spicy oak adding considerable depth and complexity.  The long finish adds a touch of dark chocolate and earthiness to the fruit and dried herbs.  The wine is in a perfect drinking window with absolutely no rough edges or overpowering elements, but it should hold for at least a few more years if not longer.  This wine has 14.7% alcohol and sports a natural cork.  (95 pts)

2004 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

2004 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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