Wine of the Week – 2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena

 

 

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.

 

 

Logo

 

 

Overview

I’ve been a big fan of Cabernet Franc based wines for many years.  Unfortunately there just aren’t that many wines out there at decent prices with good availability other than ones from the Loire Valley.  I like a nice Loire Cab Franc, but they at times get a touch too “green” for my tastes.  Usually I have to settle for a blend with some Cab Franc in the mix.

 

This wine is a great exception.  The price exceeds most people’s (including mine) budget for a week night wine, even a week end wine, but a splurge every once in a while is not a bad thing.  There were 577 cases of the wine produced, so it is available, but it could take some work or a Google search to find it.  Luckily for me, I was able to grab a few bottles from a local store when it was on sale.

 

 

The Winery

Ehlers Estate 100% Organic Vineyard and Viticulture Profile

History: The Ehlers Estate vineyard is located on an historic winegrowing site in the northern part of Napa Valley’s acclaimed St. Helena appellation.  Grapes have been cultivated on this coveted site since the mid-1800s.  The vineyard was replanted using a diversity of clone and rootstock selections under the guidance of renowned enologist Jacques Boissenot in 1995.  Today, the Ehlers Estate vineyard, which is the source of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc, is farmed with strict adherence to organic and biodynamic farming standards.

 

Much more information on the winery, their wines, the people and their commitment to improving our planet is available by clicking here.

 

 

2

 

 

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena – $39.99

The local wine store put this on sale for a killer price a couple weeks ago, so I had to reduce their inventory by a few bottles.  I am a big fan of Cabernet Franc based wines and there are very few with a high enough percentage of the grape to be labeled with the varietal.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  This is 100% Cabernet Franc from 100% CCOF certified organic, 100% Demeter Certified Biodynamic estate vineyards.  The wine was aged in 100% French oak, 50% new.  There were 597 cases of wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The stunning nose has blackberries, cassis, dusty minerals, dried herbs, tobacco, violets, cedar, underbrush and baking spices.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate fruit, minerals and spices jump out first with a floral note and subtle earthiness coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a touch of cedar joining the nice lingering fruit.  This is on the young side but already showing very well.  I look forward to following the wine’s evolution over the next decade.  (94 pts)

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

 

A big bonus is that you can pick your own dates if you win, even a weekend. 

Winner can pick any 2 nights, including weekends (e.g. Check in Friday, Check out Sunday).

Winner can schedule any dates they choose through 2014, as long as Villa Terra Nova has availability.

 

 

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

 

The deadline to enter is Saturday, April 26th at midnight.  Winner will be announced on 30th.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014-5296/?viewall=1#ixzz2z411esZO

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

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!

 

Malbec World Day Online Tasting

 

 

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

 

 

2013 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Postales

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Serie A Valle de Uco

2012 Argento Malbec

2012 Alamos Malbec

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Santa Julia Reserva

2011 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Reserva

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

2011 Bodega Norton Malbec Privada Mendoza

 

 

logo

Overview

Malbec World Day (MWD) took place for the first time on April 17, 2011, with more than 72 events being held in 45 cities, across 36 countries.

 

The huge international significance which Malbec World Day has accomplished in each of its editions is also thanks to the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Trade of Argentina.Every year, around the world, more than 40 representatives of Argentina play a major role in the impact of Malbec World Day in the international media.

 

On April 17, 2012, in its second year, there were more than 142 events in 68 cities across 43 countries around the world. The key celebrations were held in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Seattle in USA, Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver in Canada, United Kingdom, Holland, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica and Buenos Aires (Argentina).

 

In 2013, 106 events were held in 76 cities across 50 countries. The whole world honored our country’s signature grape.

 

The fourth edition of Malbec World Day, an international celebration dedicated exclusively to the Argentine grape par excellence. The festivities of 2014 praise the musical culture under the slogan: “To the sound of Malbec” (or “Music for Malbec”). From their ancient origins, Bacchanalian parties appealed to the liberation of the senses through sensuality and movement. Therefore, this year we are to through music to enhance the rhythmic quality of our wine. The tempo of Malbec is like your taste: untamed, intense and vigorous.

 

Much more information on the event is available on the Wines of Argentina site by clicking here.

 

 

Malbec – The Grape

While acreage of the Malbec is declining in France, in Argentina the grape is surging and has become a “national variety” of a sort that is uniquely identified with Argentine wine.  The grape was first introduced to the region in the mid 19th century when provincial governor Domingo Faustino Sarmiento instructed the French agronomist Miguel Pouget to bring grapevine cuttings from France to Argentina.  Of the vines that Pouget brought were the very first Malbec vines to be planted in the country.  During the economic turmoil of the 20th century, some plantings of Malbec were pulled out to make way for the jug wine producing varieties of Criolla Grande and Cereza.  But the grape was rediscovered in the late 20th century as the Argentine wine industry shifted its focus to premium wine production for export.  As the Argentine wine industry discovered the unique quality of wine that could be made from the grape, Malbec arose to greater prominence and is today the most widely planted red grape variety in the country.  As of 2003 there were over 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) of Malbec in Argentina.

 

The grape clusters of Argentine Malbec are different from its French relatives, having smaller berries in tighter, smaller clusters.  This suggests that the cuttings brought over by Pouget and later French immigrants were a unique clone that may have gone extinct in France due to frost and the phylloxera epidemic.  Argentine Malbec wine is characterized by its deep color and intense fruity flavors with a velvety texture.  While it doesn’t have the tannic structure of a French Malbec, being more plush in texture, Argentine Malbecs have shown aging potential similar to their French counterparts.  The Mendoza region is the leading producer of Malbec in Argentina with plantings found throughout the country in places such as La Rioja, Salta, San Juan, Catamarca and Buenos Aires.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

 

Argentina – The Country

The Argentine wine industry is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world.  Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain.  During the Spanish colonization of the Americas, vine cuttings were brought to Santiago del Estero in 1557, and the cultivation of the grape and wine production stretched first to neighboring regions, and then to other parts of the country.

 

Historically, Argentine winemakers were traditionally more interested in quantity than quality with the country consuming 90% of the wine it produces (12 gallons/45 liters a year per capita according to 2006 figures).  Until the early 1990s, Argentina produced more wine than any other country outside Europe, though the majority of it was considered unexportable.  However, the desire to increase exports fueled significant advances in quality.  Argentine wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity, making it now the largest wine exporter in South America.  The devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002 further fueled the industry as production costs decreased and tourism significantly increased, giving way to a whole new concept of enotourism in Argentina.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

 

Protocol

 

About Winechat

#winechat is a weekly, Twitter based discussion about something dealing with the world of wine.  Generally, each week’s chat session deals with a specific theme and is lead by an “expert” in that area.  This is generally a nice way to learn about a region, winery, type of wine, etc.

 

Mission

What is #WineChat?  Click here to learn more.

 

Description

How do you join #winechat? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winechat stream. Be sure to include #winechat at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!

 

Grab a glass and join in!

 

The #winechat schedule is available on their Facebook page by clicking here.

 

#winechat is hosted by Protocol Wine Studio.  For more information on them, click here.

 

 

City Winery

 

My lineup for the tasting:

Full line up

 

 

 

2013 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Postales

The wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a plastic stopper.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, plums, fresh ground coffee, baking spices, candied violets, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with soft tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate sweet, juicy berries and spice grab hold and slowly allows a floral note to slip into the picture.  The finish has decent length with a bit of dark chocolate and earthiness coming into play.  This is an easy drinking wine with just a touch of sweetness that would appeal to a lot of wine drinkers especially in a party setting.  (86 pts)

2013 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Postales

2013 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Postales

 

 

 

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Serie A Valle de Uco

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby to violet color.  The soothing nose has crushed berries, black cherries, plums, licorice, chocolate, vanilla and wild flowers.  This has medium body with soft tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate sweet, juicy fruit and vanilla jump out first with some dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has good length with a floral note adding some depth.  This wine leaves a sweet final impression which would make it a good choice for a friendly gathering.  (86 pts)

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Serie A Valle de Uco

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Serie A Valle de Uco

 

 

 

2012 Argento Malbec

This has 13.9% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a violet red color.  The open and appealing nose has currants, plums, Asian spices, dark chocolate, underbrush, dried flowers and a touch of smoke.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  The palate has a nice mix of fruit and savory notes with an earthy edge coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a solid dark chocolate element and earthiness balancing out the fruit.  This has nice depth.  (88 pts)

2012 Argento Malbec

2012 Argento Malbec

 

 

 

2012 Alamos Malbec

The wine has 13.7% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The nose has plums, blackberries, fresh ground espresso and toasty oak.  On the palate the plums jump out first and grudgingly allows some ground espresso to slip through.  The finish is a touch short and is dominated by toasty oak with a touch of fruit in the background providing some needed sweetness.  (85 pts)

2012 Alamos Malbec

2012 Alamos Malbec

 

 

 

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Santa Julia Reserva

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red.  The slightly shy nose eventually offers up black cherry, baking spice, toasted oak and violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  This is much more giving on the palate with cherries and spicy oak up front with more spice and nice earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with the savory elements carrying the load with the fruit in the background.  This is not a fruit forward wine, the fruit is a supporting character adding nice sweetness.  (88 pts)

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Santa Julia Reserva

2012 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Santa Julia Reserva

 

 

 

2011 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Reserva

This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The exotic nose has blackberries, flinty minerals, roasted herbs, dark bittersweet chocolate, toasty oak and dried wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate to full tannins and good acidity.  On the palate mineral laden berries and roasted herbs hit first with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in later.  The finish has good length with the toasty oak and berries carrying the load.  This would be nice with a piece of juicy meat, hot off the grill.  (88 pts)

2011 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Reserva

2011 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Reserva

 

 

 

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The slightly different nose has an adhesive tape element to go with crushed blackberries, dark chocolate, minerals and earthy underbrush.  This has a medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the crushed berries and minerals initially take hold with dark chocolate and earthy elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with a reappearance of the adhesive tape (bret).  The apparent bret element will turn a lot of people off but it’s not that distracting for those of us who thinks it can add an element to a wine in small doses.  That said, this is pushing the limits of my bret tolerance.  (85 pts)

 

I should note, no one else noticed anything wrong with this wine, so the bret issue I encountered could be related to the dreaded “bottle variation”.

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

2011 Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón Malbec Don Miguel Gascón Reserva

 

 

 

2011 Bodega Norton Malbec Privada Mendoza

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The bold nose has crushed berries, game, dark roasted coffee, mocha, vanilla, cherries and potpourri.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy oak and fruit grab hold up front with coffee and mocha coming in later.  The finish is fairly long with vanilla and a gamy note coming in.  A solid wine that would go well with a hearty meat dish.  (89 pts)

2011 Bodega Norton Malbec Privada Mendoza

2011 Bodega Norton Malbec Privada Mendoza

 

 

 

Closing comments

These wines showed the range of Malbec wines being produced in Argentina.  Some were soft, fruity, easy drinking wines perfect for non-critical sipping with friends.  Other samples were perfect for casual week night dining with family and friends.  Still others were serious wines with a savory edge that would be perfect for the “wine geek” in your life or yourself.

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014-5296/?viewall=1#ixzz2z411esZO

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

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 – Apr 14, 2014 to Apr 20, 2014

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek – $9.50

Perennially a value priced favorite.  In this vintage, it seems to have a bit more oomph than most vintages.  Perhaps there was a surplus of very good grapes from some of the better vineyards or some grapes headed for single vineyard wines were declassified.  Either way, we’re the winners.  This is a jammy, fruity blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Syrah and Nebbiolo.

 

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

 

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 fairly deep ruby with a slight brick tint.  The enjoyable nose has blackberries, cherries, vanilla, baking spices, dark chocolate, dried flowers and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium body,  soft tannins and good acidity.  This has nice up front jammy fruit with spices and a touch of eathiness.  On the back end the fruit thins out a touch allowing the savory notes to take over.  The finish has decent length with the spicy oak and earthiness in control with the fruit in the background providing a bit of sweetness.  I’d advise drinking this one up over the next year or two before the fruit fades more on the back end and finish.  Even showing some age, this is still a nice bottle of wine for $10.  (88 pts)

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

 

 

 

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $19.99

This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.

 

Modus was first produced in 1997 from grapes selected in the vineyards of the Tuscan Estates of Ruffino.  It was not, though, a new wine in the real sense of the term.  Ruffino had, in fact, been experimenting with the coltivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The mesmerizing nose has black cherries, blackberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, warm baking spices, tobacco, smoke, subtle earthiness and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features up front fruit and spice with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and some earthiness.  This is on the young side but already very tasty.  (92 pts)

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT – $16.62

I bought 6 bottles of this wine from a local wine store e-mail offer based on a solid recommendation from a fellow wine lover.  This “Super Tuscan” is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah.

 

This is listed at 13% alcohol and has a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

The wine cellar of Borgo Scopeto renewed and enlarged over the last few years, is equipped with the most modern technology for vinification.

 

The cellar is composed of 50 stainless steel tanks with capacities that range from 11 to 260 hectolitres, for a total of 7000 hectolitres.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color, lighter at the edge.  The appealing nose has cherries, warm baking spices, blackberries, white pepper, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very good acidity.  Tart, spicy, earthy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and some chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length and is an extension of the palate with just a touch of spicy oak creeping into the picture.  For a very young wine, this is drinking very nicely today.  This should improve with another year in the cellar and drink well for a few additional years.  (91 pts)

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

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.

 

Winery history

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)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $33.60

If you check out this blog very often or follow me on Twitter, you already know I’m a big fan of Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  Vintage after vintage produce outstanding blends revolving around the grapes from France’s Rhone Valley.  The Willow Creek Cuvée as well as their Avenger are two of my favorite VC wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from the Denner and James Berry vineyards.

 

This has 15.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and was dipped in wax.

 

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 ruby color.  The big and bold nose has raspberries, blackberries, minerals, licorice, dried herbs, warm baking spices, cherries, wood smoke, and a bit of earthiness.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit kicks off the show with minerals and some earthiness waiting in the wings.  The finish is long and

layered with nice fruit and savory elements taking turns stealing the show.  This is a touch young but still drinking very nicely with some air.  (92 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

 

 

 

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir – $16.14

I had to grab a bottle of this when I saw it on the local wine store’s shelf.  I’m a fan of Tony Soter’s much more expensive Pinot Noir wines, so I wanted to see how this much more affordable offering would compare.

 

This is from a VERY environmentally friendly project from Tony Soter.  “We work with growers that are Organic, Biodynamic, LIVE and Food Alliance certified — all of whom meet the Salmon Safe criteria in the process.”

 

This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

Behind this label is Tony Soter, an Oregon-born winegrower who is best known for making precious quantities of exquisite and often expensive wines of world-class status.

 

Tony is a passionate winegrower who has long been committed to sustainable farming.  He first began organic grape growing back in 1985.  Soter continues leadership today with his role in guiding the Oregon wine industry’s pursuit of verifiable carbon accounting and the labeling of certified sustainable Oregon wines.

 

Planet Oregon is his chance to make wines for a broader audience and make a bigger positive impact on the planet.  He wants Planet Oregon Wines to embody the conscious choice we all have to endorse and support sustainably produced wines.

 

Much more information on this project is available on their site by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The sexy nose has black cherries, crushed berries, white pepper, baking spices, violets and subtle earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, soft silky tannins and good acidity.  Cherries and spice initially grab hold on the palate, slowly allowing a floral note and white pepper to join the show.  The finish has good length with a touch of earthiness coming into focus.  The warmer vintage is obvious with the rich, ripe fruit.  This may not pack a lot of complexity in your glass, but it is mighty tasty.  (89 pts)

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014-5296/?viewall=1#ixzz2z411esZO

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

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!

 

WineChat Tasting with Youngberg Hill Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

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

 

 

tradegal_logo2-lg

 

 

Overview

Youngberg Hill is both a winery and an Inn.  If you go to their website, the first thing you’ll notice is the pictures and stories about their inn.  It looks beautiful but I will refrain from commenting about it since this piece is about their wine.  I will say, if you are planning a trip to the Oregon’s wine country, this should be at the top of your list of places to stay.

 

Youngberg Hill uses organic and sustainable practices with the goal of being certified a “Biodynamic” vineyard in a couple of years.  The winery’s vineyards measure 20 acres, divided into four distinct blocks.  Three of the blocks are used for Pinot Noir and one contains Pinot Gris.  All vineyards are dry farmed and well as utilizing the previously mentioned biodynamic practices.

 

 

The Winery

Youngberg Hill was started in 1989 with the noble goal of creating the best wine from the best grapes in every vintage.

 

In 1989, Ken Wright, who saw great potential in the soils of Willamette Valley, planted the vineyards (now known as the Jordan and Natasha blocks) on what was to become known as Youngberg Hill.  Wright, considered to be one of the “gurus” of Oregon wine, exclusively used the fruit from Youngberg for his Panther Creek wines.  In 1996, the first wine to be labeled Youngberg Hill Vineyards was produced.

 

By 2003, Wayne Bailey – the son of an Oakland, Iowa farmer, and with a mechanical engineering degree in tow – bought the property and launched what he describes as his “fifth career”, that of a wine grower and producer.  With the 2013 harvest, Wayne marked his 10th anniversary farming Youngberg.

 

The winery started practicing organic farming in 2003, are LIVE certified, and are moving toward biodynamic farming practices.   They are most interested in sustaining and even improving the quality and balance of the soil naturally.  They believe these practices produce the highest quality fruit possible, while maintaining the integrity of the soils and the rich nourishment they provide to the fruit.

 

In their words – Oregon’s premier wine country estate and one of Wine Spectator’s favorite locations; set on a 50 acre hilltop surrounded by an organic vineyard.  We have an amazing 25 year old vineyard that is farmed organically.  We are well known for producing award winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines.  As passionate farmers and winemakers we are thrilled to share, educate, and talk wine.  We respect the environment and believe that we can make a difference in how we treat the land and each other every day.  We care for our wine and guests with this same respect and philosophy.   We are proud of our ‘Green’ approach to wine country living and look forward to sharing it with you.

 

 

Much more information on the winey and Inn can be found on their website by clicking here.

 

 

Protocol

 

 

About Winechat

#winechat is a weekly, Twitter based discussion about something dealing with the world of wine.  Generally, each week’s chat session deals with a specific theme and is lead by an “expert” in that area.  This is generally a nice way to learn about a region, winery, type of wine, etc.

 

Mission

What is #WineChat?  Click here to learn more.

 

Description

How do you join #winechat? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winechat stream. Be sure to include #winechat at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!

 

Grab a glass and join in!

 

The #winechat schedule is available on their Facebook page by clicking here.

 

#winechat is hosted by Protocol Wine Studio.  For more information on them, click here.

 

 

Youngberg Hill

 

 

 

2010 Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir Jordan Block – SRP $40

The four acre Jordan Block is the smaller of the two original block planted in 1989 by Ken Wright.  The Jordan Block is on a steeper slope then the other original block, the Natasha Block.  It is at an altitude of approximately 750 feet on Steiwer soil.  The vines are own-rooted with 60% Pommard and 40% Wadenswil clones.

 

2010 was a cool vintage that fortunately provided a nice “Indian Summer” that allowed the grapes to ripen.  Since the grapes had to “hang” until late October to ripen, birds became a major issue.  The birds liked the winery’s grapes as evidenced by the 30% of the crop they ate.  In most cooler vintages, the wines produced are highly structured but need some cellar time to show their best.  The wine was aged for 10 months in 25% new oak.

 

The wine has 12.9% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  I should note, the winery’s “technical” notes say the alcohol is 11.95%, but I am using the percentage off of the label.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby color.  The enticing nose has black cherries, minerals, baking spice, violets, anise, and subtle earthiness.   This barely has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the tart fruit, minerals and spice hit first with anise and violets coming in on the back end.  The finish gets a touch lean with some earthiness  coming into the picture to add to the tart fruit and minerals before a slight herbal note slips in.  This is very young and will be better with some cellar time which should allow it to fill out on the back end and fully open up.  (89 pts)

2010 Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir Jordan Block

2010 Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir Jordan Block

 

 

Closing comments

This wine really needs and deserves a couple years in the cellar for it to fill out on the back end and to open up.  As with most wines produced in cool vintages, patience will be rewarded.  If you drink this now, give it a considerable amount of air.

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

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 – 2007 Core Ground Around

 

 

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.

 

 

Core logo

 

 

Overview

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

 

 

The Winery

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

 

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

Arita Hills and Royal Oaks.

 

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

Orcutt, California.

 

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

  

 

Vineyard

 

 

2007 Core Ground Around – $20.59

This is a blend of 41% Tempranillo from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, 23% Tempranillo from Laetitia Vineyard, 18% Grenache from Alta Mesa Vineyard and 18% Syrah from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard.  I was able to buy a few bottles of this wine at a greatly discounted price, so there may be deals out there if you dig hard enough.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2007 Core Ground Around

2007 Core Ground Around

 

 

I see this wine is still available on Core’s website, click here for more info or to order.

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014-5296/?viewall=1#ixzz2z411esZO

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

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!

 

Germany’s Lesser Known Varieties with Rudi Wiest Selections

 

 

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

 

 

2012 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Scheurebe Kabinett trocken

2011 Graf v. Schönborn Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken

2012 Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz Pinot Blanc Dry

2012 Graf v. Schönborn Schloss Hallburger Pinot Gris Kabinett trocken

2011 Friedrich Becker Becker Family Pinot Noir

2011 Weingut Schnaitmann Lemberger Dry

 

 

Logo

 

 

 

I was happily invited to participate in a Wine Studio event presented by Protocol Wine Studio of Germany’s lesser known wine varieties chosen by Rudi Wiest Selection.  Like most people, most of my German wine knowledge involves the many style and classification of Rieslings they produce.

 

 

 

About Rudi Wiest Selections

Rudi Wiest Selections is a leading importer of fine German wines in the United States market. Since 1978 our sole focus has been rebuilding the image of legendary Germany wine estates through education of consumers and persons in the wine trade alike. We are committed to giving the best service and information regarding the selection of fine German wine. Visiting Germany two to three times a year, we personally maintain relationships with every estate and exhaustively involve ourselves with the selection process. Our commitment assures only the finest wines earn the Rudi Wiest Selections quality seal.

 

Much more information on Rudi Wiest Selections, the Estates they represent and the wines are available on their website by clicking here.

 

 

“Rudi Wiest is one of the one of the most important, and some say the most important importer of German wine in the United States.”

“Rudi Wiest – A pioneer, visionary and tireless crusader for German wine.”

Two quotes about Rudi Wiest from the article “Mr. German Wine” (translated from German) from the September 2005 ussue of Alles Uber Wein.

 

 

Protocol

 

About WineStudio

#WineStudio PROTOCOL wine studio presents an online twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! It’s part instruction and wine tasting, with discussions on producers, grapes, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food and wine matching and what all this means to us as wine drinkers.

 

Wine Studio events generally last multiple weeks and can border on “information overload” at times.  These events provide a complete picture of all elements involved in the event’s theme.

 

Description

How do you join #winestudio? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winestudio stream. Be sure to include #winestudio at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!

 

You don’t have to have the wines that are being discussed to become much more knowledgeable in the subject matter but having them will make the event a lot tastier.  Check out the Protocol Wine Studio site for information on upcoming events and information on purchasing the packages that will be discussed.

 

Grab a glass and join in!

 

If you are in San Diego, Protocol Wine Studio hosts a lot of events onsite.  Again, check out their site for information.

 

 

 

The line up for the four week long #WineStudio series.

Lesser Known Varieties from the Rudi Wiest Selections

Lesser Known Varieties from the Rudi Wiest Selections

 

 

 

The first week of Wine Studio did not include imbibing in specific wines.  This week was an introduction into the world of Rudi Wiest Selections.  This was an opportunity to get to know the team behind the man who created one of the top German wine portfolios.

 

 

 

The second week of WineStudio included these two wines, a Silvaner and a Scheurebe:

Silvaner and Scheurebe

 

 

 

2012 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Scheurebe Kabinett trocken – SRP $27

Now in its 14th generation, the Wirsching family has been making wine since the 1630′s.  Wirsching winery ranks among the best known and largest privately held wine estates in all of Franconia.  The village of Iphofen, is named Franconia’s “historic treasure box” the soils are prized.

 

DNA work in late 90’s revealed Scheurebe is likely cross of an unknown wild grape and Riesling.  Not as previously thought Riesling and Silvaner.  This style of bottle is called a “Bocksbeutel” in German, which translates to “goat scrotum” and is very common in wines from Franken.

 

“Scheurebe (shoy-ray-beh) offers all that is Dirty and Fun. It is Riesling’s evil, horny twin.” Terry Theise

 

The wine has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellow to straw color.  The very open and inviting nose has white peach, apples, warm spices, orange blossoms and lemon zest.  This has a light body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate the apples, spice and lemon zest grab hold first, slowly allowing some peach to slip through.  The finish has very nice length with a nice orange blossom note to grab hold before some mouthwatering lemon zest takes over.  (90 pts)

2012 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Scheurebe Kabinett trocken

2012 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Scheurebe Kabinett trocken

 

 

 

2011 Graf v. Schönborn Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken – SRP $20

Schloss Hallburg is currently practicing organic and will be Certified Organic in 2015.

 

Silvaner is an offspring of a spontaneous crossing of Traminer and Österreichisch Weiss (literally Austrian White).  This variety has been widespread since the early 19th Century; by mid 20th Century it had become the most important grape variety in Germany.  It has since continuously declined but has settled down and is holding steady at about 5200ha or 5% of total plantings in Germany.  Of the 5200 ha, 1,300 is in Franken.  Silvaner wines can age gracefully for many years, especially ones done as Spätlese or Auslese with some residual sugar.

 

This wine has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, pale straw color.  The initially slightly shy nose opened as the wine warmed up a bit has apples, pears, melon, minerals, dried straw and a slight nutty element.  This has light to medium body and decent acidity.  On the palate this is a touch soft and round with lemon, pears and apples leading off with nice minerality coming in on the back end as well as a slight saline element.  The finish has decent length with apples, minerals and citrus zest.  This wine, while nice, left me wanting a little bit more of something, probably a little more zippy acidity.  (88 pts)

2011 Graf v. Schönborn Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken

2011 Graf v. Schönborn Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken

 

 

 

The third week line up included a Pinot Blanc and a Pinot Gris:

Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris

 

 

 

2012 Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz Pinot Blanc Dry – SRP $20

Hansjörg Rebholz was chosen Winemaker of the Year in 2002 and since has been awarded 5 grapes by Gault-Millau – its highest rating.  Rebholz was awarded Collection of the Year in the Gault-Millau 2013.  For many years they have been one of the top 10 in Germany.  Pinot Blanc accounts for about 15% of Rebholz’s annual production.  There were only 125 cases of this wine produced.  This wine is certified organic.

 

Weissburgunder is Pinot Blanc in German; other synonyms are Klevner, Feher Burgundi, Pinot Bianco, Rulandske Bile, Rulandske biele, Blanc Vrai.  Pinot Blanc is a late-ripening, thin-skinned, tight-clustered grape that does well with a variety of vinification techniques

 

This wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light, pale yellow to straw color.  The crisp and refreshing nose has apples, stony minerals, orange blossoms, lemon zest and peach pit.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate crisp apples, minerals and lemon zest grab hold first, slowly allowing orange blossoms and a touch of peach to slip into the picture.  The finish has nice length with lemon zest and minerals leading the show.  (89 pts)

2012 Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz Pinot Blanc Dry

2012 Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz Pinot Blanc Dry

 

 

 

2012 Graf v. Schönborn Schloss Hallburger Pinot Gris Kabinett trocken – SRP $20

In 1806, Schloss Hallburg became a part of the many von Schönborn holdings.  Georg Hünnerkop, the estate manager, in 2009 was chosen Estate Manager of the Year in Germany by Gault –Millau.  Schloss Hallburg is practicing Organic and is on track to become Certified Organic in 2015.

 

You will see on some German labels Grauburgunder which is Pinot Gris in German.

 

This wine has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow color.  The open and enjoyable nose has apples, flinty minerals, lemon zest, peach skin, melon, spice and white flowers.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate apples and minerals hit first with tart lemon zest coming in right behind.  The finish has very good length with citrus, apples, minerals and white flowers seeming to hang on forever.  Outstanding effort!  (92 pts)

2012 Graf v. Schönborn Schloss Hallburger Pinot Gris Kabinett trocken

2012 Graf v. Schönborn Schloss Hallburger Pinot Gris Kabinett trocken

 

 

 

The fourth week’s line up included the red grapes Pinot Noir and Lemberger:

Pinot Noir and Lemberger

 

 

 

2011 Friedrich Becker Becker Family Pinot Noir – SRP $20

Becker earned “Newcomer of the Year” in 2006 and for 8 of the last 9 years produced Germany’s top Pinot Noir as chosen by Gault-Millau.  Becker’s two flagship vineyards are St. Paul & Kammerberg, both consist primarily of Limestone.  Plantings are 60% Pinot Noir/Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris, 22% Riesling and the remaining 18% Silvaner, Gewürztraminer & Muskateller.

 

Spatburgunder is the German name for Pinot Noir.

 

Vineyard Sourcing of 2011 Becker Pinot Noir is 80% Schweigener Sonnenberg.

This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby color.  The relaxing nose has cherries, earthy underbrush, baking spices, orange zest, minerals, smoke and a touch of anise.  This has medium body, soft tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the earthy cherries and minerals kick in first with orange zest and spices coming in later.  The finish has good length with the spices, smoke and earthiness closing the show.  (89 pts)

2011 Friedrich Becker Becker Family Pinot Noir

2011 Friedrich Becker Becker Family Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2011 Weingut Schnaitmann Lemberger Dry – SRP $20

Rainer Schnaitmann was chosen newcomer of the year in 2007 by Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide just 10 years after he founded the estate.  In 2005 Fritz Jr. took over the winemaking at the estate and his father continues to oversee the outside vineyard work.  Schnatimann’s plays classical music FOR his wines in the cellar.

 

The official designation is Blauer Limberger, but the synonyms Lemberger and Blaufränkisch are permitted.

 

Lemberger is cultivated almost exclusively in Württemberg, where it accounts for more than 14% of the region’s vineyard area.  For years there has been a gradual increase in the vineyard area devoted to this variety, just the opposite in the states.  Within a short time Rainer has already had significant influence 2 bring focus back to the long neglected Württemberg region.  Lemberger is a black skinned grape variety that buds early, ripens late and thrives best in a warm environment.

 

To me, the Lemberger is almost a softer version of a zinfandel with the dark fruit and spice

 

This has 13.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, minerals, plums, black pepper, roasted herbs, baking spices, licorice and candied violets.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the berries and plums provide nice up front sweetness with roasted herbs, pepper and minerals coming through on the mid-palate.  The finish has very nice length with a bit of chocolate and licorice coming into the picture adding good depth.  This is very tasty.  (91 pts)

2011 Weingut Schnaitmann Lemberger Dry

2011 Weingut Schnaitmann Lemberger Dry

 

 

 

Conclusion

If your German wine knowledge revolves around Riesling, these wines will serve as a great starting point in the advancement of your wine knowledge.  This was an outstanding mix of wines that may be “lesser known” but make no mistake, these are NOT lesser wines.

 

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

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 – Apr 7, 2014 to Apr 13, 2014

 

 

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta. Rita Hills

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT – $19.94

This wine has been a favorite Italian wine in my house for several years.  This is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine was #36 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list for 2011.

 

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

 

Winery history

In the medieval times Podere Terrabianca found itself in the ambiguous situation of being situated in the part of the countryside under the rule of Florence and, at the same time, also in the diocese of the Bishop of Siena.  The very first documents mentioning its presence, dated 1085, describe it as being a country estate as, in fact, its name clearly implies.

 

Today the winery Terrabianca is located at the heart of the Chianti Classico region, in the middle of Tuscany, 12 km from Siena and 50 km from Florence.

 

The soil which consists of layers of chalk, sand and clay from the palaeozoic and mesozoic ages has the ideal composition to grow grapes of highest quality.  On the 124 ha, 307 acres, there are vineyards surrounded by olive groves and woods.

 

They are in the best position, south and southeast exposure, at 250 to 500 mt. above sea level.  The grape variety are Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Canaiolo, Chardonnay, Malvasia and Trebbiano Toscano are grown to produce a total of 350.000 bottles a year.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color.  The deep and exotic nose has blackberries, cherries, cocoa powder, licorice, underbrush, dried herbs, minerals, and some well worn leather.  This has a medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has loads of spicy, earthy fruit with dried herbs, and cocoa powder adding considerable depth.  The finish has nice length, but a bit of oak pops out.  This tastes very nice now but should be even better in another year.  Hopefully by then the excess oak on the finish will smoothen out or integrate.  (92 pts)

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta. Rita Hills – $4.75

I bought a large stash of this wine when it was on a blow out sale at the local wine store about a year ago.  Unfortunately after this bottle I’ll only have one left in the cellar.  I don’t know why this wine was still available in a distributor’s warehouse a few years after it was released, but I’m glad the local store took all they had and blew it out at a give away price.

 

The bottle is sealed with a twist off cap and the alcohol is 13.8%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color. The light and refreshing nose has lemon curd, apples, stony/flinty minerals, orange blossoms, a touch of spice and a bit of pineapple. This has light to medium body, is dry and has crisp, citrusy acidity. This is very bright and lively on the palate with crisp apples, lemon zest, and flinty minerals, on the backend a touch of spice and orange zest add some depth. The finish has nice length with the citrus, apples, and minerals holding on nicely. This was an absolute steal on closeout for under $5.  (90 pts)

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta Rita Hills

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta Rita Hills

 

 

 

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré – $29.88

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

 

 

 

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon – $25.00

I enjoyed a bottle of the 2008 vintage of this wine at a friend’s house in October over dinner.  A few days later, Invino had this at a great price, so we split a case.

 

This vintage is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec.  The grapes are sourced from a short list of vineyards the winery considers to be among the best in the state including Ciel du Cheval, Red Heaven, Red Mountain, Weinbau and Shaw vineyards.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has cassis, dried herbs, minerals, cedar, baking spices, cherries and a hint of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This has a medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate rich fruit and spice leads off with minerals and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with cherries, spice and a touch of dark chocolate lingering nicely.  This is on the young side but that doesn’t stop it from still being delicious.  This was a steal for $25.  (91 pts)

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – $48.00

This is a mailing list I jumped on based on the top flight labels Mike Smith had worked with in his brief career.  I have never been let down by any wine Mike has been involved with including his Cabernets, Syrah and even an outstanding Sémillon.

 

This wine has 15.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

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 deep, dark ruby to purple color.   The very open and expressive nose has cassis, plum, fresh ground espresso, Rutherford dust, cedar, licorice, dark chocolate, dried herbs and baking spices.  This has a fairly full body with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  This has a long finish with spicy fruit and dried herbs dominating.  This is still on the young side but stunning with an hour or two of air.  (94 pts)

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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 2013 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:

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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