2006 Villa Creek Avenger
2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section
2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon
N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve
2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch
2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets
2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein
2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek
2006 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00
As anyone who has followed me on Twitter or read this blog for very long knows, Villa Creek is one on my top 5 wineries. Of all the wines offered by the winery, vintage after vintage, The Avenger is my favorite wine they produce. This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep purple color. The very enticing nose has blackberries, white pepper, smoked meat, dried herbs, underbrush, cherries, minerals, and dark chocolate. This is a full bodied wine with sold, ripe tannins and very nice acidity. This provides a mouth full of fruit and peppery spice with some nice earthiness and minerality in the background. This supplies a long, lingering finish with some nice dark chocolate cutting through the fruit and spice. Outstanding! (93 pts)
2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section – $19.00
This is one of my wife’s all-time favorite wines. How much does she like it? Per Cellar Tracker I bought a total of 33 bottles, and his will be the 26th bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.
I should add I like this wine as well. I still do not understand how it was such a slow mover at the local wine store. This is part of my last case which only cost me $19.00, a bottle. A steal based on the $35 release price.
This has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.
Stuart Miller is the winemaker and caretaker of the vineyard: this is truly a hands-on winery where every step of production from vineyard to bottling is overseen by Stuart himself. His family are involved in all stages of the process, picking grapes, pruning vines, bottling, packaging and more.
Oliverhill was established in the early 1970s and the Miller family moved in during the early 1990s.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep, inky purple color. The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, wild flowers, and dark chocolate. This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity. On the palate the wine gives a big blast of ripe, juicy berries with spicy oak and black pepper adding nice savory elements. This is a big, bold, and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level. (93 pts)
2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon – $51.75
Rudius is the personal winery for winemaker Jeff Ames, winemaker for several wineries including Tor.
This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a medium ruby red color. The exciting and inviting nose has cassis, mint, warm baking spices, tobacco, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. On the palate spices, cassis, cherries, and dark chocolate hit first followed by minerals and dried herbs on the back end. The finish is very long and seems to linger forever, with the minty note making a brief but appealing appearance. This is on the young side, but already drinking very nicely. I’m sure additional cellar time will be handsomely rewarded. (94 pts)
N.V. Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve – $24.99
We had a bottle of this wine while at a friend’s home several months ago. He told me Costco had the wine in a special box with 4 bottles of the Champagne and for glasses for under $100. As soon as we could we made our way to the local Costco and a box found its way into my cellar. This was a killer bottle of bubbles for $25 a bottle. I’m thankful I have a few more bottles to savor over the warm months ahead.
This has 12.0% alcohol by volume.
My Tasting Note
This is a yellow to light straw color with an abundance of small, pinpoint sized bubbles. The enticing nose has apples. pears, minerals, fresh baked yeasty bread, lemon zest and white flowers. This has a light, delicate body with crisp acidity. On the palate this has nice tart apples, pears and minerals up front with bread and citrus coming in on the back end. This has good length on the dry, crisp finish. (91 pts)
2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch – $37.00
Papera, Montafi and the Carlisle Vineyards are my favorite sources of Carlisle Zinfandels. This vineyard was planted in 1934 and is unusual for an old vineyard in that it is planted to over 95% Zinfandel. Most old vineyards have a much higher percentage of other grapes planted.
This 100% Zinfandel has 15.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. There were 779 cases of the wine produced.
There is no need to try and find the 2010 vintage of this wine. After a few months of cool weather, a day of sweltering heat on August 24th wiped out the entire crop.
Mother Nature blessed Papera Ranch with both quality and quantity in 2009, providing us with a wine that rivals our much-lauded 2007. If you are a fan of what we have done with this vineyard the last few years, I encourage you to take advantage of the quantity available. The grapes were picked October 10th, fermented indigenously and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Papera Ranch® (Formerly Carlo’s Ranch) – Russian River Valley
Just a stone’s throw from Carlisle Vineyard, this “grand dame” of the Russian River Valley was planted in 1934 by Charley (Carlo) Papera. Given its cool location, this vineyard is typically picked in late October.
If you would like to join the waiting list to get on the Carlisle mailing list, click here.
This has 15.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep, dark, opaque purple color. The nose is absolutely stunning on this wine; it’s full of brambly berries, warm baking spices, licorice, minerals, roasted herbs, dried wild flowers, plums, well worn leather and freshly cracked black peppercorns. This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and good acidity. On the palate this is balanced, dense, rich and full of layers that slowly fade so the next one can take over. The flavor profile is loaded on this wine with a very nice mixture of fruit and savory elements. The finish is very long and again full of flavor. There are absolutely no rough edges or over powering elements on this wine. It is drinking wonderfully today and will continue to do so for a few more years. Stunning! (95 pts)
2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets – $28.80
I was on the McPrice Myers mailing list for a couple years. The winery produces full bodied, full throttle wines in a “take no prisoners” style. Though these are nice once in a while, they aren’t every day wines. I dropped the list because even though the wines are well made and enjoyable on occasion, I just don’t have the need for too many in my cellar.
Making a wine that is the best expression of the vineyard it comes from or a wine that is the most harmonious blend it can be, is a complex series of challenges that renew themselves with every vintage. It is my goal and my passion to produce the best for you that each unique harvest brings.
McPrice “Mac” Myers
This has 16.2% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.
My Tasting Note
This is a deep, dark purple color, almost black. This wine has a massive nose full of blackberries, plums, charcoal, minerals, vanilla, charred meat, wildflowers, and spicy oak. This is a full bodied wine with solid, chewy tannins and good acidity. This has solid walls of fruit and spice on the palate with some nice earthiness and dark chocolate in the background. There is a long lingering finish full of dark fruit, spice, and dark chocolate. This is an outstanding wine that should last several years in the cellar, but I’d probably drink on the young side before the alcohol (16.2%) becomes too noticeable. (93 pts)
2008 Friedrich Wilhelm Ritzman Riesling Qualitätswein – $4.75
I grabbed a half case of this wine when the local store had it on the close-out rack for under $5.00.
My Tasting Note
This wine is a light golden-yellow color. Apples, petrol, orange zest, and wet stone minerality are on the slightly reserved nose. Light bodied with crisp, mouthwatering acidity and just enough sweetness to give nice balance. This is rich and tart on the palate. Initially a very short finish but it filled out and got longer with air and warming up a bit. This was an absolute steal at $5 on close-out. (87 pts)
2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.97
The 2007 vintage of this wine was a show stopper for under $10. When the local received a small cache of the 2008 vintage and made it available for $10 via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a case. My first bottle wasn’t up to the level of the 2007, but it showed considerable promise.
According to the Wild Hog website, this wine does not exist, for some reason there is no mention of this vintage. As a final word on the subject, this is included in the comments about the 2007 vintage, “Dark fruit and violets on the nose. Black berries, round feel and good tannins. It is big, firm and supple. And pretty smooth to boot. This is the last vintage of this wine.” Oh well, they may need to update the web site.
The wine has 15.0% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.
At Wild Hog Vineyard it is difficult to separate the wine from the winemaker. Daniel Schoenfeld began making wine as a home winemaker in 1977. He loved good food and wine and wanted to share his enjoyment with friends. He and Marion, his wife and co-owner, are both gardeners with a passionate belief in sustainable living. Marion tends a three acre organic garden which produces the vegetables and fruits that the family consumes. Daniel farms the five acre vineyard above the house. Together with their two children, Iris and Ariel, they harvest the bounty from the land. They take from the land only what they give in return.
As a winemaker, Daniel has a very simple view-allow the fruit to speak for itself. All Wild Hog wines are unfiltered allowing the full flavor to be extracted. The grapes are picked ripe and crushed (or de-stemmed) into open top fermentors-1 to 4 ton size. Yeast is added and the must will ferment 10 to 21 days, until dry. The must is then pressed and the juice held in American oak barrels. After 12 months in the barrel for Pinot Noir and 18 months for Zinfandel, the wine is bottled at the winery, using our own equipment. Since we do no filtering, the wine is racked two or three times during its time in the barrel. The winery produces between 3000 to 4000 cases per year, depending on harvest and availability of good fruit.
My Tasting Note
The wine is a deep ruby to purple color. The intriguing nose has blackberries, black pepper, minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, violets, dried herbs, and some earthy underbrush. This is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity. On the palate the wine shows peppery, crushed berries, some earthiness and minerality, with the eucalyptus note coming in on the back end. The finish has very nice fruit and savory elements, and has decent length. I really like the mint/eucalyptus note that carries through from the nose to the finish. This shows absolutely no trace of the 15% alcohol. (90 pts)
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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.