Two White Wines from Ledge Vineyards

 

 

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

 

 

2012 Ledge California Soul (Mother Hips) White

2012 Ledge Catacombs White

 

Ledge_MC_Header

 

 

About the winery:

The Adams Ranch is in the Willow Creek region on the west side of Paso Robles and rests on a plateau with the Santa Lucia Mountains as a backdrop, with a steep drop to Vineyard Drive in the foreground.  The vineyard is almost entirely Syrah, with some Grenache and Mourvedre peppered in.  They expand every year at a snail’s pace, with 25 dry farmed acres as the ultimate goal.  The vines are own rooted and reared in the home nursery after pruning each year.  Once established, the vines are dry farmed, field-blended and co-fermented using only native yeasts and are aged in neutral oak barrels.

 

The winery’s site and mailing list sign up is available by clicking here.

 

If desired, you can order wine directly from the winery or just check out their current releases by clicking here.

 

 

Mark Adams

 

 

About the winemaker:

Mark Adams – Paso Robles musician and Winemaker

Mark is mister do-it-all, farmer, winemaker, musician, husband, father and formerly a sound effects editor for Sony.  Mark is also the assistant winemaker for the renowned Saxum Winery with his childhood pal, Justin Smith.

 

“Adams offers a bridge between Paso’s lavish ways and a more cerebral effort”

Jon Bonné – THE NEW CALIFORNIA WINE – A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind A Revolution in Taste

 

 

Much more information about Mark, both wine/beer and music related is available here.  I highly recommend giving a listen to some of Mark’s music available on this site.

 

There is an outstanding over view of Mark on the San Francisco Chronicle’s site in a story titled “Winemakers to Watch 2014: Mixing tradition and pioneering spirit by Jon Bonné.  The story is available here.

 

 

 

About the wines:

I received several bottles of wines to sample.  There were three different “labels”, California Soul (Mother Hips), Catacombs and Kazoo.  The first two labels included a white, red and rosé each.  Instead of trying to sample all seven wines at once I had to choose between sampling based on label or style.  I opted to sample the wines by style.  This post will cover the white wines.  I had previously posted about the red and rosé wines.

 

These wines may be available at your local wine store; I know my local store carries both of these wines.  If not these wines are available on the Ledge website by clicking here.

 

Here is the line up for this tasting:

Ledge White Wines

Ledge White Wines

 

 

 

2012 Ledge California Soul (Mother Hips) White – SRP $20

The Mother Hips is a rock band that is known for a style of west coast music that came to be referred to as California Soul.  Upon their 20th anniversary, Ledge paid tribute to them by blending 60 cases of wine, which to our surprise sold out in a few weeks.  This was never intended to be a “lasting” label, but the brand and the wines continue to attract new fans every day.  They expanded the line to include white and rose wines in addition to the red blends.

 

This is a blend of Viognier and Marsanne.  This vintage uses grapes sourced from west Paso Robles, but is designed to eventually be sourced from all over California.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden straw color.  The open and inviting nose has honeysuckle, green apples, stony minerals, pineapple, orange blossoms and lime zest.  This has medium body with decent acidity and a touch of residual sweetness.  On the palate ripe, juicy apples and minerals pop out first with pineapple and a floral note coming in later.  The finish has decent length with tart lime zest entering the picture.  The lingering sweetness would make this a hit at a friendly gathering.  (87 pts)

2012 Ledge California Soul White (Mother Hips)

2012 Ledge California Soul White (Mother Hips)

 

 

 

2012 Ledge Catacombs White – SRP $25

The concept of Ledge Catacombs is simply that it is farmed in close proximity to the family estate. The vines are sustainably farmed and offer us some insight with regard to our planting decisions at the Adams Ranch.  This wine is a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright straw to yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, white peaches, flinty minerals, lime zest and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with an oily texture and good acidity.  On the palate apples, minerals and peach hit up front with citrus and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a hint of sweetness ading a touch or richness.  This is very easy to sip on its own but would also pair nicely with food.  (89 pts)

2012 Ledge Catacombs White

2012 Ledge Catacombs White

 

 

 

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 – July 14, 2014 to July 20, 2014

 

 

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

N.V. Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres

 

 

 

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di 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 di Dogliani

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani

 

 

 

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

This was purchased from Underground Cellar.  Using some credits and getting free upgrades, my actual out of pocket cost was only $8.  This has an average price of well over $20 on Cellar Tracker, so it is VERY doubtful you will find it for anything close to my cost.

 

Only the best parcels of Shiraz were selected for this wine.  This wine is made to be enjoyable in its youth but to also to reward some cellar time.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is dark as midnight.  The comforting nose has blackberries, warm baking spices, mocha, candied violets and a touch of vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate rich fruit jumps out first with nice layers of savory elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with enough acidity to hold everything in check.  This is a very nice Aussie Shiraz that has nice ripeness but does not push it to far.  Enjoy this one over the next few years.  (92 pts)

2010 Henry's Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

2010 Henry’s Drive Shiraz Pillar Box Reserve

 

 

 

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.29

This is a kitchen sink blend that changes every vintage.  This vintage is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 16% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Sangiovese, 3% Petite Verdot, and 1% Carmenere from the Columbia Valley in Washington.

 

The bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork and I could not find the alcohol level anywhere on the label.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to maroon color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, smoldering charcoal, vanilla, meat juices, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice, and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has a nice mix of fruity and savory elements that play well off of each other.  The finish has decent length leaning a bit more on the savory elements.  This is in a very nice drinking window and is a nice change of pace from the bigger, riper California wines.  (90 pts)

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

 

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir – $20.00

This wine was made my Morgan Twain-Peterson, currently of Bedrock, when he was 19 years old.  This was stashed away in their cellar and forgotten about for many years.  Upon finding it and trying it, this was released as part of a Bedrock offer.

 

The bottle does not seem to have the alcohol listed.  This was closed with a natural cork.

 

Here it the background on this wine from the release e-mail from the winery.  Sorry for the length, but I wanted to leave it as Morgan wrote it.

Yes, this is a wine that I made when I was 19 years old but at that point it was the 14th year I made Pinot Noir.  When I was five years old, I asked Angelo Sangiacomo if I could buy .5 of a ton of Pinot Noir from him.  Every year until I was 18 the Sangiacomo family delivered a bin of Pinot Noir, free of charge, to Ravenswood for me to make.  This gesture is, in large part, why I am a winemaker today and is emblematic of why I love the community I work in so much.  In 2000 and 2001, buoyed by placements of the older vintages on the wine lists of Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill, Aureole, Mesa Grill, and others, I made a little more wine.  However, academic pursuits took me away from the industry and the wine has sat in a cold warehouse for the last 11 years.  The wine is obviously evolved, but Chris and I both find the developed perfumed and aromatics to be quite enticing- full of rose petals, violets and that lovely kiss of funk that good older Pinot develops.  Yes, this is a bit of a Kalin-esque curiosity but I am quite pleased with it.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a murky/cloudy ruby to brick color.  The very inviting and sensual nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, earthy underbrush, and a touch of “Pinot funk”.  This has medium body, fully integrated tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and baking spice hit first, slowly allowing nice earthiness to slip into focus.  The finish has very good length with the tart fruit, spice and earthiness to take turns leading the show.  This is a stunning, aged California Pinot Noir.  (92 pts)

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir (Bedrock)

2000 Vino Bambino Pinot Noir (Bedrock)

 

 

 

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains – $40.00

The grapes for this wine come from the Harvest Moon, Elandrich and Chaine d’Or vineyards.  These vineyards are all located on the Eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The vineyards were fermented separately with native yeast.  This Cabernet Sauvignon based wine also includes 17% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.  The wine was aged in a mix of new and old French oak barrels.  The total production was a miniscule 94 cases.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet to purple color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, cedar, minerals, dried herbs, warm baking spices, white pepper, vanilla bean and a touch of wood smoke.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spices and minerals join rich cassis upfront with toasty oak and vanilla coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried herbs and white pepper adding nice savory layers.  This is still on the young side but coming around nicely with some air.  This still has plenty of upside potential.  (93 pts)

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

2008 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

 

 

 

N.V. Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau – $23.99

I bought this wine while on an unsuccessful local shopping hunt for some Crémant d’Alsace.  After being shut out, I decided I wanted to try something different and saw this Crémant de Loire.

 

This domain was established in 1931 and quickly gained its reputation based on the rich terroir of limestone and silica.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a vibrant yellow to straw color with very persistent, pinpoint sized bubbles.  The alluring nose has fresh baked bread, apples, minerals, pineapple and lemon zest.  This is light on the palate with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate honey dipped apples, minerals and a yeasty note grab hold slowly allowing a hint of pineapple and lemon zest to come in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a touch of sweetness balancing out the crisp, lemony acidity.  This is an easy sparking wine to like.  (90 pts)

Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau

Château Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire Alexandre Monmousseau

 

 

 

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres – $17.99

This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah.

 

This very old family estate’s name comes from a place of pilgrimage visited by the Provencal people in the Middle Age and due to protect them from the « bad fevers » (the plague).

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, crushed stone minerals, blueberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs and candied violets.  This has a fairly full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Crushed berries and minerals coat the palate initially slowly allowing some dried herbs and a candied floral note to slip into the picture.  The finish is long with some dark chocolate coming into play.  This is on the young side but already very impressive.  (91 pts)

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres

2010 Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières Gigondas Les Mourres

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn – Oakville Cuvee

 

 

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.

 

 

Pozzan Logo

 

Overview

I’m always on the lookout for value priced quality wines.  When I saw an Oakville Zinfandel on the local wine store’s shelf for under $20, I had to grab a bottle.  How often do you see a wine from a specific AVA in the Napa Valley that can be opened on a week night without blowing the budget.  This must be a brand new release since the winery’s website is still featuring their 2011 vintage in their current releases.

 

I’ve had a couple of Pinot Noir wines produced by the winery and they all delivered superior quality for their selling price.

 

Here’s what the winery says about their “Gold Series” wines:

Our Gold Series wines are the best of the best wines we produce, wines to sip and savor.  Produced in very limited quantities from grapes hand-selected from premier vineyards in California’s Napa Valley, Michael Pozzan Gold Series Wines may vary from year to year.  We currently only produce Gold Series in Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.  We will soon be releasing our latest vintage of Back Barn Zinfandel, a single-vineyard Oakville appellation, and the sole Gold Series varietal to be released in 2010.

 

The Winery – in their words

The pleasure of good wine is not just about balanced flavors, a fragrant nose, or lush colors.  It’s also about the moment when that first sip is taken, with family or friends, over favorite foods or during special occasions.

 

Michael Pozzan creates wines for moments like those, wines that capture the best of the varietals he blends, vintage after vintage.  His long-time experience with growers from premier Napa and Sonoma vineyards allows him to seek out and then hand-select exceptional fruit each growing season.  Michael then works closely with winemaker Richard Bruno to craft those grapes into stylish wines you can enjoy every day, or serve with great pride at those events in your life that deserve something special.  These are wines of high quality and exceptional value — wines you’ll want to share with those you love, and with those who love wine.  Michael Pozzan Winery currently produces 125,000 cases per year and distributes wine under four labels — Michael Pozzan, Annabella, Dante and Marianna — in select markets throughout the United States.

 

 

The winery’s website has a map that shows the states where the wine is distributed that is available by clicking here.  The map is out of date since it does not show the wine is distributed in Wisconsin, but it most certainly is in at least one store in the state.  The link also has the winery’s contact phone number and e-mail address.  This is a value priced wine that is definitely worth a bit of effort to track down.  Did you miss the part about this being a single vineyard Zinfandel from Oakville?

 

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

 

 

 

2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn – Oakville Cuvee – $16.19

This is a 100% Zinfandel from a single unnamed vineyard in the Oakville AVA.  I couldn’t find any of the technical specs for this vintage but the previous vintage was aged 14 months in French oak.

 

The wine has a very manageable 14.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby to purple color.  The enticing nose has brambly berries, black pepper, stony minerals, dead wood embers, candied violets, baking spices, vanilla bean and a touch of bittersweet chocolate.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate peppery berries and charred wood come through first with minerals and spice coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate and a candied floral note popping out.  This is a keeper for well under $20.  (92 pts)

2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn - Oakvile Cuvee

2012 Michael Pozzan Winery Zinfandel Back Barn – Oakville Cuvee

 

 

 

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 – June 30, 2014 to July 13, 2014

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Avenger

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00

As anyone who has followed me on Twitter or read this blog for very long knows, Villa Creek is one on my top 5 wineries.  Of all the wines offered by the winery, vintage after vintage, The Avenger is my favorite wine they produce.  This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberries, white pepper, smoked meat, dried herbs, underbrush, cherries, minerals, and dark chocolate.  This is a full bodied wine with sold, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  This provides a mouth full of fruit and peppery spice with some nice earthiness and minerality in the background.  This supplies a long, lingering finish with some nice dark chocolate cutting through the fruit and spice. Outstanding!  (93 pts)

2006 Villa Creek Avenger

2006 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section – $19.00

This is one of my wife’s all-time favorite wines.  How much does she like it?  Per Cellar Tracker I bought a total of 33 bottles, and his will be the 26th bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.

 

I should add I like this wine as well.  I still do not understand how it was such a slow mover at the local wine store.  This is part of my last case which only cost me $19.00, a bottle.  A steal based on the $35 release price.

 

This has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

Stuart Miller is the winemaker and caretaker of the vineyard: this is truly a hands-on winery where every step of production from vineyard to bottling is overseen by Stuart himself.  His family are involved in all stages of the process, picking grapes, pruning vines, bottling, packaging and more.

 

Oliverhill was established in the early 1970s and the Miller family moved in during the early 1990s.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, wild flowers, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine gives a big blast of ripe, juicy berries with spicy oak and black pepper adding nice savory elements.  This is a big, bold, and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level.  (93 pts)

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

 

 

 

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon – $51.75

Rudius is the personal winery for winemaker Jeff Ames, winemaker for several wineries including Tor.

 

This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color. The exciting and inviting nose has cassis, mint, warm baking spices, tobacco, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. On the palate spices, cassis, cherries, and dark chocolate hit first followed by minerals and dried herbs on the back end. The finish is very long and seems to linger forever, with the minty note making a brief but appealing appearance. This is on the young side, but already drinking very nicely. I’m sure additional cellar time will be handsomely rewarded.  (94 pts)

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve – $24.99

We had a bottle of this wine while at a friend’s home several months ago.  He told me Costco had the wine in a special box with 4 bottles of the Champagne and for glasses for under $100.  As soon as we could we made our way to the local Costco and a box found its way into my cellar.  This was a killer bottle of bubbles for $25 a bottle.  I’m thankful I have a few more bottles to savor over the warm months ahead.

 

This has 12.0% alcohol by volume.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a yellow to light straw color with an abundance of small, pinpoint sized bubbles.  The enticing nose has apples. pears, minerals, fresh baked yeasty bread, lemon zest and white flowers.  This has a light, delicate body with crisp acidity.  On the palate this has nice tart apples, pears and minerals up front with bread and citrus coming in on the back end.  This has good length on the dry, crisp finish.  (91 pts)

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve

N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve

 

 

 

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch – $37.00

Papera, Montafi and the Carlisle Vineyards are my favorite sources of Carlisle Zinfandels.  This vineyard was planted in 1934 and is unusual for an old vineyard in that it is planted to over 95% Zinfandel.  Most old vineyards have a much higher percentage of other grapes planted.

 

This 100% Zinfandel has 15.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 779 cases of the wine produced.

 

There is no need to try and find the 2010 vintage of this wine.  After a few months of cool weather, a day of sweltering heat on August 24th wiped out the entire crop.

 

Mother Nature blessed Papera Ranch with both quality and quantity in 2009, providing us with a wine that rivals our much-lauded 2007.  If you are a fan of what we have done with this vineyard the last few years, I encourage you to take advantage of the quantity available.  The grapes were picked October 10th, fermented indigenously and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

 

Papera Ranch® (Formerly Carlo’s Ranch) – Russian River Valley

Just a stone’s throw from Carlisle Vineyard, this “grand dame” of the Russian River Valley was planted in 1934 by Charley (Carlo) Papera.  Given its cool location, this vineyard is typically picked in late October.

 

If you would like to join the waiting list to get on the Carlisle mailing list, click here.

 

This has 15.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, opaque purple color.  The nose is absolutely stunning on this wine; it’s full of brambly berries, warm baking spices, licorice, minerals, roasted herbs, dried wild flowers, plums, well worn leather and freshly cracked black peppercorns.  This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is balanced, dense, rich and full of layers that slowly fade so the next one can take over.  The flavor profile is loaded on this wine with a very nice mixture of fruit and savory elements.  The finish is very long and again full of flavor.  There are absolutely no rough edges or over powering elements on this wine.  It is drinking wonderfully today and will continue to do so for a few more years.  Stunning!  (95 pts)

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch

 

 

 

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets – $28.80

I was on the McPrice Myers mailing list for a couple years.  The winery produces full bodied, full throttle wines in a “take no prisoners” style.  Though these are nice once in a while, they aren’t every day wines.  I dropped the list because even though the wines are well made and enjoyable on occasion, I just don’t have the need for too many in my cellar.

 

Making a wine that is the best expression of the vineyard it comes from or a wine that is the most harmonious blend it can be, is a complex series of challenges that renew themselves with every vintage. It is my goal and my passion to produce the best for you that each unique harvest brings.

McPrice “Mac” Myers

 

This has 16.2% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  This wine has a massive nose full of blackberries, plums, charcoal, minerals, vanilla, charred meat, wildflowers, and spicy oak.  This is a full bodied wine with solid, chewy tannins and good acidity.  This has solid walls of fruit and spice on the palate with some nice earthiness and dark chocolate in the background.  There is a long lingering finish full of dark fruit, spice, and dark chocolate.  This is an outstanding wine that should last several years in the cellar, but I’d probably drink on the young side before the alcohol (16.2%) becomes too noticeable.  (93 pts)

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

 

 

 

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein – $4.75

I grabbed a half case of this wine when the local store had it on the close-out rack for under $5.00.

 

My Tasting Note

This wine is a light golden-yellow color.  Apples, petrol, orange zest, and wet stone minerality are on the slightly reserved nose.  Light bodied with crisp, mouthwatering acidity and just enough sweetness to give nice balance.  This is rich and tart on the palate.  Initially a very short finish but it filled out and got longer with air and warming up a bit.  This was an absolute steal at $5 on close-out.  (87 pts)

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein

 

 

 

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.97

The 2007 vintage of this wine was a show stopper for under $10.  When the local received a small cache of the 2008 vintage and made it available for $10 via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a case.  My first bottle wasn’t up to the level of the 2007, but it showed considerable promise.

 

According to the Wild Hog website, this wine does not exist, for some reason there is no mention of this vintage.  As a final word on the subject, this is included in the comments about the 2007 vintage, “Dark fruit and violets on the nose. Black berries, round feel and good tannins. It is big, firm and supple. And pretty smooth to boot. This is the last vintage of this wine.”  Oh well, they may need to update the web site.

 

The wine has 15.0% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

At Wild Hog Vineyard it is difficult to separate the wine from the winemaker.  Daniel Schoenfeld began making wine as a home winemaker in 1977.  He loved good food and wine and wanted to share his enjoyment with friends.  He and Marion, his wife and co-owner, are both gardeners with a passionate belief in sustainable living.  Marion tends a three acre organic garden which produces the vegetables and fruits that the family consumes.  Daniel farms the five acre vineyard above the house.  Together with their two children, Iris and Ariel, they harvest the bounty from the land.  They take from the land only what they give in return.

 

As a winemaker, Daniel has a very simple view-allow the fruit to speak for itself.  All Wild Hog wines are unfiltered allowing the full flavor to be extracted.  The grapes are picked ripe and crushed (or de-stemmed) into open top fermentors-1 to 4 ton size.  Yeast is added and the must will ferment 10 to 21 days, until dry.  The must is then pressed and the juice held in American oak barrels.  After 12 months in the barrel for Pinot Noir and 18 months for Zinfandel, the wine is bottled at the winery, using our own equipment.  Since we do no filtering, the wine is racked two or three times during its time in the barrel.  The winery produces between 3000 to 4000 cases per year, depending on harvest and availability of good fruit.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, black pepper, minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, violets, dried herbs, and some earthy underbrush. This is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity. On the palate the wine shows peppery, crushed berries, some earthiness and minerality, with the eucalyptus note coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice fruit and savory elements, and has decent length. I really like the mint/eucalyptus note that carries through from the nose to the finish.  This shows absolutely no trace of the 15% alcohol.  (90 pts)

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

 

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 – Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

 

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.

 

 

Logo1

 

 

Overview

We’ve been really getting “into” sparkling wines over the last several months.  When Garagiste Wine offered this wine via one of their e-mail offers, I had to jump in for three bottles.  This offer didn’t include the typical Jon Rimmerman flowery prose; it only included the tasting note from Steve Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.

 

 

 

The Winery

The family’s rich history can be traced back to being growers in 1753 in the village of Chamery.  There are other documents that suggest the family grape growing tradition may have existed as early as 1533.

 

The family wine production is now on the ninth generation in the form of Nicolas.  He returned to the area in 2003 after completing his studies in engineering and oenology.  Nicolas is working on continuing the almost 300 year old family tradition and philosophy of bringing out the full potential of the Champagne terroirs in their wines.

 

The winery isn’t only clinging to the past, it is looking toward the future.  In 2009 the winery installed 130 square meters of photovoltaic panels.  These panels now supply 90% of their power requirements, greatly reducing their carbon footprint.

 

Much more information is available on their website by clicking here.

 

 

d42

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

 

 

 

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!

 

Alsace Rocks with Four Cremant d’Alsace Wines

 

 

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

 

 

 

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut

Gustave Lorentz Crémant d’Alsace

Dopff & Irion Crémant d’Alsace Rosé

Charles Baur Crémant d’Alsace

 

 

logo

 

 

Overview:

Not too long after writing about four Crémant d’Alsace wines, I was invited to participate in an online Wines of Alsace Twitter Taste & Chat featuring four different Crémants d’Alsace sparklers.  Since I loved the first four wines, this was a very easy invitation to accept.  For this event, Wines of Alsace teamed up with Binny’s.  Binny’s had all Alsace wines on sale.

 

 

wine glasses

 

 

About the region:

AOC Crémant d’Alsace is the jewel in the crown of the sparkling wines produced in Alsace.  Fresh and elegant, Crémant d’Alsace is developed by secondary fermentation, and predominately made from Pinot Blanc, but also from Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling or Chardonnay.  These varietals are in general picked at the very beginning of the harvest, an auspicious moment when the grapes offer the best balance and harmony for vinification.

 

As early as the late 19th century, several companies in Alsace were producing sparkling wines by the traditional method, not only in the vineyard area but also in the cities of Strasbourg and Mulhouse.  This tradition, while less commonplace during the first half of the 20th Century, was continued until the creation of AOC Crémant d’Alsace, by the decree of August 24, 1976.  For the wine houses of Alsace, this decree produced the new framework necessary for the production of a high-quality sparkling wine, applying similar, strict demands to those applied in the Champagne region.  Today, more than 500 producers are united under the Syndicate of Producers of Crémant d’Alsace.

Because of its unique personality and outstanding quality, Crémant d’Alsace is currently the top AOC sparkling wine to be consumed in homes across France.  It has also earned considerable international recognition.

 

AOC Crémant d’Alsace represents 22% of the region’s wine production.

 

For more information on Crémant d’Alsace please click here.

 

To follow the key players on Twitter, consider the following:

@drinkAlsace – Wines of Alsace

@binnysbev – Binny’s Beverage, largest Chicago retailer and co-­‐host of the tasting

@teuwencomm – Teuwen Communications, agency of record for Wines of Alsace

@dopffirion  – Dopff & Irion

@quintwines – Quintessential Wines, importer of Gustave Lorentz

@pasternakwine – Pasternak Wine, importer of Lucien Albrecht

 

 

Teuwen logo

 

I want to thank the wineries and especially Teuwen Communications for providing me with this opportunity to try these wines.  For more information on Teuwen Communications, please click here.

 

 

 

Here is the line up for this tasting:

Cremant d'Alsace Sparkling Wines line up

Cremant d’Alsace Sparkling Wines line up

 

 

 

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut

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

 

This wine is a blend of 80% Pinot Auxerrois, 10% Pinot Blanc and 10% Chardonnay.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color with persistent pinpoint sized bubbles.  The very inviting nose has apples, lemon zest, minerals, orange blossoms and a hint of yeasty bread.  This has a light body and a mouthful of bubbles with crisp lemony acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate lemon, apples and minerals take charge with a light floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch short with lemon zest, minerals and a yeasty note carrying the load.  (88 pts)

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut

 

 

 

Gustave Lorentz Crémant d’Alsace

The grapes are carefully selected and vinified according to the “Methode Champenoise.” After traditional fermentation “vin de base” in tanks, a second fermentation (“prise de mousse”) takes place in the cool cellars.  Ageing is done “sur lattes” with daily bottle rotation, going from a horizontal to vertical position, in order for the yeast deposit to accumulate in the neck of the bottle.   At the time of “degorgement,” the neck is frozen and, enclosed in ice, the sediment is ejected by natural pressure, after which the bottle is corked and wired.

 

This wine is a blend of equal amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color with abundant very small bubbles after a nice frothy mousse.  The refreshing nose has apples, cherry skin, orange blossoms, peach pit and lemon zest.  This has a light body with crisp acidity and just a touch of lingering sweetness.  On the palate tart green apples and lemon zest grab hold initially, eventually allowing cherry skin, peach pit and stony minerals to come in on the back end.  The finish has good length with apples and lemon zest taking control.  (89 pts)

Gustave Lorentz Crémant d'Alsace

Gustave Lorentz Crémant d’Alsace

 

 

 

Dopff & Irion Crémant d’Alsace Rosé – SRP $17

The Irion and the Dopff families were already wine connoisseurs in the 16th century and have been closely involved in the fortunes of the village of Riquewihr throughout the ages.  The firm of Dopff & Irion was established when Rene Dopff joined fortunes with the widowed Madame Irion.  Rene Dopff was the first to have faith in the concept of “terroir,” the restructuring of the vineyard by dividing it into five “domains” or estates, and then planting each one with the most suitable grape variety.

 

This is made from 100% Pinot Noir.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pink salmon color with abundant pinpoint bubbles after a foamy mousse.  The enticing nose has red currants, orange blossoms, minerals and a touch of yeasty bread.  The wine has light body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  Red fruit and orange zest greet the palate with minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with nice the orange zest leaving your mouth watering for another sip.  This is a very tasty and easy drinking sparkler to start off an evening or to pour for friends.  (91 pts)

Dopff & Irion Crémant d'Alsace Rosé

Dopff & Irion Crémant d’Alsace Rosé

 

 

 

Charles Baur Crémant d’Alsace

Wine at Domaine Charles Baur has been made by many generations of the Baur family.  Armand Baur took over the property from his father, Charles, who began selling the property’s own wine in bottles beginning in 1946.  Today, Armand Baur and his son Arnaud produce wine from 30 acres of vines of which 7 acres are in the Grand Cru Eichberg and Pfersigberg.  The property is located in the village of Eguisheim, which is just west of the city of Colmar, in the southern portion of Alsace.  The terroir is composed mainly of clay and old limestone and marl which give the wines of Domain Baur a rich creaminess and depth of flavor as well as an interesting complexity in both the aromas and flavors.

 

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light salmon color with small persistent bubbles.  The enticing nose has cherry skins, strawberry, minerals, yeasty bread, orange blossoms and lemon zest.  This has a light body with crisp acidity and just a slight hint of sweetness.  On the palate the bright fruit and minerals jump out first with more minerals and citrus coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with some orange and a yeasty note joining the fruit and minerals.  This is a nice, easy drinking sparkling wine that would be a hit with light appetizers at a party.  (89 pts)

Charles Baur Crémant d'Alsace

Charles Baur Crémant d’Alsace

 

 

 

Closing Thoughts

These sparkling wines were all delicious.  Some may have lacked some complexity but that did not hurt the taste.  These had just a touch of closing sweetness but also had plenty of acidity to make your mouth water for another sip.

 

If you are looking for an easy to drink sparkling wine, I would wholeheartedly recommend checking out one of these wines or another Crémant d’Alsace.  These offer outstanding value when compared to a bottle of Champagne.

 

 

 

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 – June 23, 2014 to June 29, 2014

 

 

2010 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

2007 Carlisle Two Acres

1974 Moillard Aloxe-Corton

2012 Emerson Vineyards Pinot Noir

2007 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 

 

 

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 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty – $16.62

This is a wine I bought based on a local wine store’s e-mail offer.  We generally like Aussie Shiraz as long as it doesn’t cross the line and end up on the sweet and syrupy side.  Based on reviews of previous vintages, this was worth grabbing a six pack.  The first bottle we opened about a year ago showed promise but needed some cellar time.  It’s time to check in again.

 

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

 

Winery history

Betts & Scholl is a cooperative effort between Richard Betts, Master Sommelier & winemaker and Dennis Scholl, contemporary art collector and joyous wine drinker, who typically finds himself either in Aspen or Miami Beach.  Together, they created special relationships with star growers and winemakers from around the world to share in the Betts & Scholl vision.

 

This partnership is totally dedicated to making great wine as Richard & Dennis see it, which is, ultimately, wine that they like to drink.  No trophies, no wine for competition, just wine for the table – wine made to be enjoyed in the spirit of those wines that got Richard hooked on the whole deal in the first place.  This is to say wine you can drink everyday – a grocery, if you will – something that is on the table at lunch, at dinner, in harmony with food, an essential part of the meal.  This notion is fundamental to great living all over Europe, and it’s one that Betts & Scholl aims to bring back and live every day.

 

So Betts & Scholl chose to make the good stuff! Richard & Dennis’ shared aesthetic spoke for elegant, complex, balanced wines of great perfume and finesse with the power to seduce.  The object of the B&S fancy is neither the obvious nor the forceful.  Instead it is those wines that transport: They taste only of the place from where they’ve come.  Come take the trip.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color. The very outgoing nose has blackberries, baking spices, underbrush, black pepper, cherries, licorice, and wild flowers. This has a full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity. On the palate there are ripe, juicy crushed berries and baking spice up front then the acidity kicks in and tart cherries and a bit of earthiness takes over. The finish is fairly long and leans on spicy, earthy cherries. This is a bit disjointed at this time showing distinct, different “personalities” on the palate. This needs some cellar time for the acidity to better integrate or a couple hours of air.  (88 pts)

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Two Acres – $34.00

This wine is a blend of 84% Mourvedre, 6% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, 3% Alicante Bouschet and 2% Syrah from a restored 1910 vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

 

Normally this is where I’d tell you to go to their website and sign up for the mailing list, but not this time.  Unfortunately the Carlisle mailing list is full, the best you could do is get on the waiting list.  The problem with that one is big, the wines are so good and fairly priced, very few people drop off the list.  My best advice is to find someone on the list and beg them to share a bottle or two of their allocation with you.

 

This has 13.7% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark garnet color.  The scintillating nose has blackberries, raspberries, warm baking spices, minerals, earthy underbrush, well worn leather, smoke and licorice.  This has a medium body with moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  Nice black and red fruit with spices and minerals coat the palate initially with some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with red fruit and minerals stealing the closing act.  This is drinking very nicely and should hold for another year or two.  (93 pts)

2007 Carlisle Two Acres

2007 Carlisle Two Acres

 

 

 

1974 Moillard Aloxe-Corton – Current Price Unknown

This is a bottle of wine with a sketchy past.  A customer at the local wine store was moving and had some older bottles of wine that the didn’t want to move.  Some of the bottles were in the house’s wine cellar when they bought the home, at least that’s what I think I heard in the way of a back story.  He gave the bottles to the owner of the local store.  The store owner decided he’d share the bottles with friends, good customers and employees.  I work at the store a couple hours a month, luckily I was working on Saturday so he decided it was a good time to open  a bottle, this was the lucky bottle.

 

The wine had 12.5% alcohol by volume.  The bottle was sealed with a natural cork.  I’m using the word “sealed” very loosely.  The cork was not in good shape.  It was covered with “junk”.  I decided to wipe off the cork and bottle top to avoid contaminating the wine.  I could feel the cork was in bad shape.  I very slowly tried to slip an Ah-So style opener between the cork and bottle, but the cork just disintegrated.  That just meant a quick decant through a wire mesh strainer.

 

My Tasting Note

Just to prove first impressions are generally not right, the wine seemed to be dead.  The wine was a deep brick color and the nose was very earthy with stewed fruit.  The process of straining the wine into a decanter solved multiple problems.  Besides removing all the pieces of cork, most of the funkiness blew off and in the decanter the wine showed a deep ruby core with nice bricking.

 

The wine was a deep brick color. The nose had stewed fruit, earthy underbrush, baking spices and well worn leather.  The wine was light to medium body with fully integrated tannins and had good acidity.  On the palate earthy cherries and spice slowly gave way to a slight medicinal note.  The finish had nice length with a nice blend of fruit, spice and earthiness.  For a 40 year old bottle of wine with uncertain provenance, this was not only drinkable but enjoyable.  I gladly took a small second glass.  I left before the decanter was emptied so I don’t know for sure how long it held on before fading into the sunset.  This type of wine is hard to rate, but I can easily give the experience 100 pts.

1974 Moillard Aloxe-Corton

1974 Moillard Aloxe-Corton

 

 

 

2012 Emerson Vineyards Pinot Noir – $18.99

This wine was totally new to me.  I saw it on the shelf at the local wine store and had to grab a bottle to try out.  Over the last couple of years I have become a big fan of Oregon Pinot Noirs.  They provide a nice chage of pace from my usual bigger, bolder California Pinots.

 

This has 13.7% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, minerals, baking spices and candied violets.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, spice and minerals pop out first with a slight herbal note coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a touch of oak peeking through the fruit and minerals.  This could use a few month in the cellar to help the oak and herbal notes to better integrate.  (87 pts)

2012 Emerson Vineyards Pinot Noir

2012 Emerson Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2007 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape – $37.99

The local wine store brought this in and offered it at an “end of vintage” sale price.  Being a fan of CdP, I had to grab a few bottles.  I had a bottle about a year ago and felt it could use a bit more time in the cellar.  Time to see if the year in the cellar was worth the wait.

 

This is a blend of 48% Grenache Noir, 29% Syrah, 22% Mourvedre and 1% Cinsault.

 

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

 

The Winery (from the winery website)

Château La Nerthe was born in the 12th Century around the time vines were first planted  in the stone-strewn soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (literally the “Pope’s new castle”), the place the pontiffs chose for their summer residence when the papel court relocated to Avignon.

 

The uncontested nec plus ultra of the historic domains of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château la Nerthe, has always been graced by the attentive care of its successive owners: men of firm conviction, aristocrats, and notable experts on Châteauneuf-du-Pape,

Marquis Tulle de Villefranche, Commandant Joseph Ducos, famille Richard, have all contributed to the reputation for excellence that La Nerthe has acquired and maintained.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The energetic nose has blackberries, minerals, black cherries, wild flowers, dried herbs, scorched earth, licorice and warm spices.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and velvety with a nice balance between the sweet fruit and savory elements, with nothing dominating.  The finish has nice lingering fruit with minerals and spice ever present, but in the background.  This is drinking very nicely and should have a long life ahead of it.  (93 pts)

2007 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2007 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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