1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2004 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Casa Cisca

2007 Ridge Geyserville




1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese – $34.81

We’re real big fans of off-dry German Riesling wines with some age on them.  The overt sweetness and tingly acidity mellow and integrate over time leaving a delicious, food friendly elixir.  These wines are better defined as rich instead of sweet.  Try an aged Riesling with a spicy dish and you will become a fan.


The alcohol in the wine is 9.5% and the bottle has a natural cork closure.


Winery history

Schloss Schönborn – famous wines with a long tradition.  Located in the heart of the Rheingau valley, the Domänenweingut Schloss Schönborn has long stood for premium wine culture.


Many of the vineyards along the slopes bordering the RhineRiver have been part of the Schönborn family estate since 1349, which has been added to continuously since then.  Several top sites were acquired in the 17th and 18th centuries, giving the estate a real boost.  The estate now covers 50 ha, of which 90% are planted with Riesling.  The remaining vineyards feature Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.  The Schloss Schönborn wine estate is one of the founder members of the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates (VDP) and has for many years been managing its valuable vineyards in tune with nature.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, golden yellow color. The very pleasing nose has petrol, apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, and some white pepper. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and nice sweetness. Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir. The wine has a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime. This may last a few more years in the cellar, but it tastes marvelous right now.  (93 pts)

1988 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spatlese




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 steal tanks with capacities that range from 11 to 260 hectolitres, for a total of 7000 hectolitres.


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




2004 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Casa Cisca – $18.99

I’d been waiting for a good reason to open the sealed wooden 6 pack case of this wine.  The Twitter #winechat theme for the week, Spanish Monastrell served as the perfect reason to dig out a screwdriver and pliers.


The 2004 Casa Cisca, the estate’s flagship wine, is 100% old-vine Monastrell (70+ years of age) aged for 14 months in American oak.  This wine is several steps up from most of the winery’s offerings.


This is bottle number 8793 out of 13,420.  Per the label, this has 15% alcohol and has a natural cork closure.  The bottle used is one of the VERY heavy types used for winery’s highest end wines, 1.9 kg (4.25 lbs).  I think this massive bottle would crack concrete if accidently dropped in the driveway (only a mild exaggeration).


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The exotic nose is full of warm berry pie, cherries, Asian spices, cedar, tobacco, earthy underbrush, minerals, dark chocolate, wild flowers, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is lighter and brighter on the palate than I was expecting based on the slightly brooding nose.  Asian spice and tart cherries lead off the show with minerals and cedar making an appearance on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with minerals, spicy oak and some earthiness adding to the complexity.  This is still on the younger side and some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  That said, with some air this vibrant and bright wine is immensely enjoyable today.  (92 pts)

2004 Bodegas Castano Yecla Casa Cisca




2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.


The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and the bottle uses a natural cork.


Winery history

The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge.  He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892.  This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility.  At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard.”


In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s.  From these vines — now the “middle vineyard”— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of “estate” cabernet.  That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California’s finest wines of the era.  Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and ’61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage.


The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge.  This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel.  The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres.  Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity.  By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership.  A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist.  His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward “hands off” approach pioneered at Ridge.  Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established.  Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage.  Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.


Lytton Springs, in SonomaCounty, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This still seems to be a touch on the young side but is still very enjoyable.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville




Connect with me

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


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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.