2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines
2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT
2009 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Papera Ranch
2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard
2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $28.00
I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years. A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release. Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smoothen out and open up. That said, their Alesia wines, which are made from purchased grapes, though also needing some time in the cellar, seem to be ready to drink a couple years earlier. I grabbed several bottles of this wine when it was offered on their e-mail release. I’ve had a couple bottles and every bottle has been better than the previous bottle…always a good sign. I’m glad I still have a few bottles to follow over the next few years.
This has 13.9% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a nice ruby red color. The sexy nose has strawberries, raspberries, cola, baking spices, underbrush, minerals, cherries, dried flowers, and a slight herbal note. The wine has medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity. The very complex palate has layers of fruit, spice, and earthy elements that slowly reveal themselves with each sip, with the nice cleansing acidity evident at all times. The finish is fairly long and the mouthwatering acidity is ever present. This is very food friendly and civilized. There is no excess weight or overly extracted notes evident on the wine. This is still on the young side and can be enjoyed over the next several years. (92 pts)
2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines – $23.71
To me, one of the better values out there is the Turley Old Vines Zinfandel. Along with the appellation wines from Carlisle and Bedrock, these prove you can get a great bottle of California Zinfandel for $25 or less.
This is a blend of Zinfandel grapes from some of the older vineyards in California that don’t produce enough wine to allow for a single vineyard bottling.
This wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley. Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.
Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.
As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.
In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.
By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars is annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color. The very nice and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, incense, and some subtle earthiness. This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. On the well behaved palate the spicy berries and black pepper take charge with some dark chocolate, vanilla, and earthy elements coming in later. The finish has nice length and again highlights the spicy berries and earthiness. If you think Turley zins are all overblown, you should give this one a try, it will change your opinion. (92 pts)
2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT – $14.24
I had this wine on my list of the Top Value Wines of 2012. This is still a favorite with week night Italian fare, like tonight’s Veal Parmesan. I like the extra body and richness imparted by the drying of the grapes but the wine generally retains enough acidity to stand up to the tomato based sauces. This is also a personal favorite with a nice, meaty pizza.
The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
Allegrini is the leading producer in the Valpolicella Classico area and one of the most highly acclaimed wineries in Italy and throughout the world. The family’s roots in Valpolicella date back to the 16th century. Today the winery consists of more than 100 hectares (247 acres) set amongst the rolling hills of the “Classico” appellation. All wines made under the Allegrini label are produced exclusively from these estate vineyards. Through research and experimentation over the years, Allegrini has introduced radical innovations in the vineyards, in the grape drying process and in the cellar, with the objective of enhancing the intrinsic quality of Valpolicella.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep maroon color. The very appealing nose has blackberries, smoke, dried herbs, plums, warm baking spices, minerals, vanilla, and dried flowers. The wine has a medium body with soft, ripe tannins and good acidity. The wine is rich and plush on the palate with the spicy berries and dried herbs up front and some earthiness and dark chocolate coming in later. The finish has very nice length with the spicy berries and dried herbs carrying the load. If you can find this for $15 or less, load up, I did. (92 pts)
2009 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Papera Ranch – $21.75
Novy is another long time favorite winery. I realize I have several “favorite wineries” and they represent a high percentage of the wines I review, but there is a reason for that…I review wines from my cellar that I have bought and I generally buy a lot of wine from certain wineries, because I like them. Generally, I will buy multiples bottles of wine from these wineries because I know they will make the best wine possible with the grapes. This wine falls into that category. I like Novy well enough that I loaded up on this wine with no reviews or tasting notes available because it was from Novy, it was a Zinfandel and it was from Papera Ranch. By the time there are reviews available of wines like this, they are sold out.
Our winemaking goal is to produce wines that best capture the distinct flavor and character of a given vineyard site. To that end, we focus on sites that provide us with exceptional fruit. We are fanatical in our protection of the vineyard flavor and are determined not to let any overt winemaking components mute the personality of an individual site.
In the cellar, we vinifiy each wine separately by block, clone and barrel type in order to maximize the individual components and provide greater complexity to the final blend. This approach also provides us with much more flexibility in crafting a wine using only the best and most harmonious lots.
Given that the majority of our wines are single vineyard offerings, it is critical for us to maintain the site’s individual character in order to provide you with a truly diverse offering of wines. To that end:
- We believe in minimal intervention, “gentle” winemaking. In other words, we let the wine make itself. We do not want to do anything to the wine that isn’t absolutely necessary.
- We believe in bottling our wines unfiltered and unfined whenever possible, convinced as we are that fining and filtering strip wines of flavor and character.
- We believe that the best wines express their origins. Our goal is not to produce the world’s best Syrah or Zinfandel but rather to produce the very best wine from a given site.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a medium ruby color. The very interesting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, minerals, smoke, vanilla bean, warm baking spices, and a touch of earthiness. This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. The palate shows tart, spicy, peppery berries with minerals and some earthiness coming in on the back end. The finish is kicked up a couple notches with the crisp acidity accentuating the fruit and spices leaving your mouth watering for another sip. Not a big, bruising style of zin. Very food friendly and one that should last for years in the cellar. (91 pts)
2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Tietjen Vineyard – $34.50
Everything Elyse produces is a winner in my house. A top notch cab from them with well over a decade in the cellar should be a wow wine.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep maroon color. The magical nose is full of cassis, baking spices, cedar, dusty minerals, dried herbs, melted licorice and subtle dried earth. This has medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity. On the palate rich cassis, spice and cedar jump out first followed by dusty minerals and dried herbs. The finish has very nice length cherries entering the picture to join the cassis and spice. This is drinking very nicely but has tons of life remaining. (93 pts)
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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.