2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard
2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard
2007 Saxum Broken Stones
2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige
2009 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una
Due to unpacking from a move from Wisconsin to South Carolina, some of these notes are short with very little background information.
2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $35.00
Villa Creek is one of my favorite wineries. This wine along with their Avenger wine are my favorites they produce. The winery produces several very nice red wines, most of them being innovative blends from the big name vineyards in the Paso Robles area. Besides the reds, they also produce a very nice white Rhone styled wine and a good Rosé. The winery is worth the effort of tracking down a few bottles either locally or through their website.
This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and is closed with a Stelvin LUX+ stopper.
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 red color. The very alluring nose has cherries, black raspberries, cola, warm baking spices, white pepper, violets, stony minerals, touch of pine needles, and some earthiness. This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and good acidity. On the palate the spicy, peppery cherries grab hold first, slowly allowing some minerals and earthiness to slip into focus. The finish has very nice length with a nice blend of fruit and savory elements. This has exceptional balance and should drink well for at least another 3 or 4 years. (93 pts)
2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard – $33.00
This is another of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced. Thus far, every one has been outstanding. This one is a Grenache from the Russell Family Vineyard in Paso Robles.
This has 14.9% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.
My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir. OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story. While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic. So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC. Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying. It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love. But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established. I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.
I’d made about 3 trips around the booths at the tasting without finding a single good Pinot Noir. So, being the open minded person that I am (remember I passed him up 3 times), I stopped at the Cottonwood booth. I was BLOWN away by Norm’s 1990 Santa Maria Pinot Noir. After a few years of attending every Cottonwood event and asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking, he offered to let come learn the process during the ’97 crush. I checked sugar levels, picked, crushed, punched down, pressed, filled barrels, and generally moved a bunch of stuff around with fork lifts and pallet jacks! It was the time of my life… I was totally hooked. And even though I hadn’t planned it, I ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir. That was the start of the Loring Wine Company. What had started out as a dream 15 years earlier was now a reality – I was a winemaker!
My Tasting Note
Bright red color with a slight ruby tint. The comforting nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, raspberries, roasted leafy herbs, licorice, and dried flowers. This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity. On the palate this is rich and lush with juicy cherries, berries and spice up front with raspberries and white pepper kicking in on the back end. The finish has nice length with roasted herbs adding some complexity. This is fairly ripe and juicy but with nice acidity holding everything together. I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar for too long, but it should drink nicely for at least the next few years. (91 pts)
2007 Saxum Broken Stones – $45.00
We shared this bottle with some friends so I did not have an opportunity for a good tasting note. Suffice it to say, this was an absolutely stunning bottle of wine and a steal at the (at that time) price of only $45. If you have this wine in your cellar, enjoy it now or over the next several years.
2011 Château Puech-Haut Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Drézéry Prestige – $15.99
This wine is a custom cuvee produced by Château Puech-Haut, Philippe Cambie and Eric Soloman, exclusively for the United States. This is a blend of 55% Grenache from 60 to 75 year old vines and 45% Syrah from 40 year old vines. After fermentation, the wine was aged in concrete vats.
This has 15.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep, dark maroon color. The very open and giving nose is full of black raspberries, chalky minerals, potpourri, cherries, earthy underbrush, pencil shavings and dried herbs. This has a fairly full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity. Chalky minerals and berries immediately coat the palate, slowly allowing dried herbs, pencil shavings and dried herbs to slip in. The long finish adds a nice dried floral note. This does show just a touch of alcohol on the finish but that is a minor quibble. (91 pts)
2009 Benovia Pinot Noir Bella Una – $40.84
The local store brought time in and put it on the shelf at a great price. On Cellar Tracker, the average cost for this wine was close to $55. Not one to question great values, I grabbed a few bottles.
This has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a bright ruby red color. The very approachable nose has cherry, raspberry, baking spices, licorice, violets, minerals and a touch of earthiness. This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity. This offers up nice juicy red fruit and spice up front with minerals and some subtle earthiness coming in on the back end. The finish has very good length with tart cherries seeming to last forever. (93 pts)
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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines. I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar. I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com. Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear. There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.
Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase. I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but 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.