Cliffs Wine Picks – November 2017 Vol 2

 

Locations AR-6

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley

 

 

 

Locations AR-6 – $16.48

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

First off, the AR in the wine’s name stands for Argentina, not Arkansas.  This is a non-vintage wine since it can include grapes from multiple vintages as deemed necessary by Dave Phinney to make the best wine possible.  I don’t know the exact blend for this bottling, but earlier editions were mainly Malbec with some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Uco Valley in Mendoza.  This is Locations wine’s fourth release of a blend from Argentina.

 

Much more information on Dave Phinney and Locations Wine is available on their website by clicking here.

 

The wine is an inky purple color.  The big and bold nose is full of blackberries, plums, fresh ground espresso beans, dry earth, roasted herbs, baking spices and dried wildflowers.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This is rich and velvety on the palate with loads of blackberries and plums quickly grabbing your attention on the front end with espresso beans, dry earth and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has nice length with roasted herbs and a dried floral note providing some depth.  For the massive fruit and overall size this could use a bit more backbone to hold everything together.  I’d drink this while it’s young before it gets bogged down from the shear size.  This has 15% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (88 pts)

Locations AR-6

Locations AR-6

 

 

 

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards – SRP $14

The grapes for this wine come from three Dry Creek Valley vineyards, the winery’s estate vineyard and two neighboring vineyards.  The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks and saw no oak.

 

The wine is a light yellow color with a slight green tint.  The crisp and clean nose has green apple, cut grass, white peach, lemongrass, grapefruit zest and a touch of chalky minerality.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and a touch of lingering sweetness.  This has nice upfront tart fruit and grassy notes with a tasty peach note coming in later.  The mouthwatering citrusy acidity on the lingering finish is buffered nicely with just a touch of residual sweetness.  This is very easy to drink by itself on a warm sunny day or with a lighter meal, preferably on a deck or patio.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards

 

 

 

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut – $19.99

As with a lot of the wines “direct imported” by Total Wines there isn’t much information available in the internet.

 

This is a light, bright red color, one of the darker Rosé wines I have seen, with sporadic bubbles after the initial big blast.  The slightly reserved nose has cherries, strawberries, orange zest and a touch of minerality.   This has medium body with light inner mouth effervescence and surprising sweetness for a sparkling wine labeled as being brut.  This is fairly one dimensional on the palate with mainly red fruit with a touch of orange zest on the back end.  This has a fairly short finish.  There are much better sparkling wines out there for the same price.  This was sealed with a standard sparkling wine cork and this has 12% alcohol.  (84 pts)

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut

 

 

 

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive – $25.49

This is a blend of 76% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah and 9% Syrah from Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 10 months in French oak, 30% new.

 

This is a deep maroon color.  The big and intimidating nose has blackberries, licorice, dead wood embers, blueberries, dry underbrush, violets and black pepper.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and decent acidity.  There is a fruit overload on the front end on the palate with some savory notes coming in later.  The finish has nice length and again is fruit dominated.  This is a big burly fruit bomb that would be a good choice for a party or gathering but would be hard to pair with a meal.  A pretty good bit of alcohol pokes through on the nose and finish.  Imagine a bottle of The Prisoner kicked up a notch or two.  This has 15.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (85 pts)

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive

 

 

 

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow – $15.99

As with a majority of the winery’s red offerings, there is a bit of Petite Sirah blended in with the Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine was aged for 17 months in French oak barrels.

 

This is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very inviting nose has cassis, black cherry, warm baking spices, plums, white pepper, charred wood and dusty minerals.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the fruit comes through on the front end with the savory notes coming in later and on the lingering finish.  This is an easy drinking, rich and flavorful Cabernet for any night of the week.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

 

 

 

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley – $15

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  This wine has a suggested price of $35, so Last Bottle’s price was almost 60% off.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This wine is a blend of 58% Malbec, 22% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, and 5% Zinfandel.  There were only 60 cases allocated to the US.  The winemaker is Jayson Pahlmeyer.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The exotic nose has blackberries, cherries, mint, dusty minerals, dry underbrush, violets and baking spices.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  This has a nice fruity element on the palate but the minerals, spice and underbrush compliment the fruit very nicely.  This isn’t a big, overly ripe wine, it is very “light on its feet” and nuanced.  This can use a year of two in the cellar and should last for several years.  This has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerate cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

 

What goes better with a big, juicy Cheeseburger that an flavorful red wine, in this case the Locations AR.

 

 

The Michael-David Freakshow Cab went nicely with a mini meatloaf and some mixed peas from this Summer’s garden.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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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Cliffs Wine Picks – November 2017 Vol 1

 

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Head High Wines

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi

2012 Brangero Diano d’Alba Sorabino Soprano

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles

 

 

 

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc – $15.59

This wine is part of the winery’s “Coastal Collection.”  The winery add a touch of Semillon to give the wine a little extra acidity and a touch of lemon zest.

 

The wine is a very light, pale straw color with a very light green tint, this is actually not too much more colorful than water.  The crisp and clean nose has fresh cut grass, grapefruit zest, tart green apples and lemongrass.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, citrus zest and lemongrass jump out on the front end with a touch of grass coming in later.  The crisp finish has nice length with mouthwatering citrusy acidity buffered slightly with a touch of residual sweetness.  This is a nice Sauvignon Blanc to sip on a sunny day with a light meal.  This has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (89 pts)

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

2014 Head High Wines – $14

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.  This wine has a suggested price of $36 but Last Bottle sold it for an amazing $14.

 

This is a kitchen sink blend of 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Grenache, 16% Malbec, 15% Tempranillo, 10% Mourvedre, 8% Syrah, 7% Merlot, 3% Petite Sirah and 2% Cabernet Franc.  60% of the grapes are from Sonoma County, 32% from Lake County and 8% from Napa County.

 

This is a deep maroon color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, fresh ground espresso beans, dark chocolate, black cherries, dry underbrush, roasted leafy herbs, violets, baking spices and licorice.  This has a medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This has big fruit on the front end with nice savory notes coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with the savory elements taking center stage with the fruit providing nice background sweetness.  This is a nice, easy drinking wine that was a steal for Last Bottle Wines’ price.  This would be a hit at a party or gathering with friends.  This has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Head High Wines

2014 Head High Wines

 

 

 

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi – $10

I’m a big fan of wines from Lodi.  If your past experiences of Lodi wines are limited to big red wines, especially Zinfandel, I highly recommend checking out their crisp white and rosé wines.  These wine will make you a fan.

 

This is 100% “Musqué Clone” Sauvignon Blanc from the winery’s Jahant Vineyard in Lodi.

 

The wine is a pale yellow color with a very slight green tint.  The crisp and fresh nose has tart apples, dusty minerals, lemongrass, lime zest, under ripe pineapple and a spritz of grapefruit.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of residual sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, minerals and lemongrass quickly grab your attention with lime zest and a hint of pineapple coming in later.  The mouthwatering finish has good length with a touch of grapefruit joining the tart apples and minerals.  This would be perfect with a light meal on the deck or patio on a warm, sunny day.  The hint of sweetness would also make this a marvelous way to relax before dinner.  This has 12.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (89 pts)

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi

 

 

 

2012 Brangero Diano d’Alba Sorabino Soprano

Diano d’Alba is a tiny commune between Barolo and Barbaresco that only produces Dolcetto wines.  The small, family run Brangero winery is situated on a hilltop with views of the Langhe hills and the medival town of Diano d’Alba.

 

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The alluring nose has black cherries, dry forest floor, dusty minerals, dried wildflowers, black raspberries and white pepper.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate dark fruit and white pepper lead off with nice dry earth and minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note providing some depth.  This is very tasty but doesn’t offer much in the complexity department.  This has enough savory notes on the back end and finish to keep it interesting.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (90 pts)

2012 Brangero Diano d'Alba Sorabino Soprano

2012 Brangero Diano d’Alba Sorabino Soprano

 

 

 

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share – $22.99

Two Hands wines are a “house favorite” around here.  Unfortunately the prices have rapidly increased, almost to the point the “Garden Series” wines are now special occasion wines.  This wine is still fairly reasonably priced as long as you shop around, hint – check your local Costco.  The price I paid is several dollars below the usual price for this wine.  Its a good value at this price, but for over $30 the value starts to get a bit iffy.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The hypnotic nose has blackberries, plums, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, charred wood, dark chocolate, baking spices, wild flowers and dried herbs.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate crushed berries, minerals, baking spices and white pepper quickly take control with wild flowers and charred wood coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and a floral note providing depth.  This is a big, rich Shiraz that doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but is loaded with fruit and spice.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

 

 

 

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles – $14.14

This was another “steal” from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate $10 credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.  In this case, the wine had a suggested price of $28.

 

This wine is a blend of 50% Staar Ranch Grenache and 50% Kiler Canyon Syrah.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels.

 

The wine is a deep violet color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, fresh ground espresso beans, baking spices, black cherries, crushed stones, dark chocolate and white pepper.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, baking spices, crushed stones and white pepper quickly jump out on the front end with dark chocolate and black cherries coming in later.  The finish has good length with the mix of fruit and savory elements lingering nicely.  This is a very nice, easy drinking bottle of wine.  This has 14.37% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

 

I paired the Brangero Dolcetto with a Stromboli stuffed with pepperoni, salami and mozzarella cheese served with a meat sauce.

 

 

The Two Hands Shiraz paired very nicely with a Stacked Enchilada Caserole.

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – Rías Baixas

 

2015 Martín Códax Albariño Rías Baixas

2015 Adega Condes de Albarei Albariño Rías Baixas

2015 Terras Gauda Rías Baixas Abadia de San Campio

2015 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal

2015 Pazo de San Mauro Rías Baixas

2015 Vionta Albariño Rías Baixas Limited Release

2016 Robalino Albariño Rías Baixas

2015 Bodegas Altos de Torona Rías Baixas

2015 Adegas Valmiñor Albariño Rías Baixas Edición especial 10 años

2016 Pazo de Señoráns Albariño Rías Baixas

2016 Bodegas Agnusdei Albariño Rías Baixas You & Me White Experience – Not part of the tasting event

 

These wines were supplied to me for a massive tasting of wines from Spain’s Rías Baixas region.  One bottle was supplied to me as a separate review sample and included as a bonus.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1980 “Denominación Específica Albariño” was created specifically to honor the Albariño grape variety.  In 1986 when Spain joined the European Union, the name had to be changed since EU wine laws did not recognize a DO named for a single grape variety.  This was the birth of DO Rías Baixas.  Since 1988, DO Rías Baixas has complied with all Spanish and EU wine regulations.  DO Rías Baixas is regulated by the Consejo Regulador (local governing body) which ensures adherence to permitted grape varieties, viticultural practices, winemaking and aging procedures.

 

 

 

2015 Martín Códax Albariño Rías Baixas – SRP $16.99

The wine is a pale straw color.  The bright and lively nose has tart apples, lemon and lime zest, chalky minerals, leafy herbs and orange blossoms.  This has a light body with crisp, citrusy acidity.  On the palate tart apples, lemon zest and minerals quickly grab control on the front end with lime zest and leafy herbs coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with orange blossoms joining the tart apples and lemon zest.  This is Spring in a bottle.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2015 Martín Códax Albariño Rías Baixas

2015 Martín Códax Albariño Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2015 Adega Condes de Albarei Albariño Rías Baixas – SRP $15

The wine is a bright yellow with a slight green tint.  The fresh nose has apples, pears, apricot, lime zest and a light herbal note.  This has medium body with decent acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate green apples, pears and lemon zest jump out immediately with lime zest and a touch of a green herbal note coming in later.  The finish has decent length with tart acidity buffering the residual sweetness.  This would be perfect on its’ own on a warm and sunny deck or patio.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (87 pts)

2015 Adega Condes de Albarei Albariño Rías Baixas

2015 Adega Condes de Albarei Albariño Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2015 Terras Gauda Rías Baixas Abadia de San Campio – SRP 19.99

The wine is a bright yellow color.  The soothing nose has green apples, pears, white peach, leafy herbs, stony minerals and lemon zest.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples and pears are joined by white peach on the front end with leafy herbs and lemon zest coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a hint of minerality making an appearance before the mouthwatering lemon zest cleans everything up and forces you to grab another sip.  The nice acidity would make this a great companion to a lighter seafood meal on a sunny day.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2015 Terras Gauda Rías Baixas Abadia de San Campio

2015 Terras Gauda Rías Baixas Abadia de San Campio

 

 

 

2015 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal – SRP $20

My bottle of this wine was unfortunately corked.  The over riding notes were musty paper, dry straw and dehydrated apples.  The palate was overly musty with tart acidity.  (Flawed)

2015 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal

2015 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal

 

 

 

2015 Pazo de San Mauro Rías Baixas – SRP $17

The wine is a light straw yellow color.  The vibrant nose has apples, pineapple, orange blossoms, chalky minerals, white peach, lemon zest and a hint of green leafy herbs.  This has medium body with good acidity.  On the palate tart apples, minerals and white peach come through on the front end with orange blossoms slipping in later.  The finish has good length with lemon zest and a touch of leafy herb providing extra depth.  This is a very nice Albarino with nice up front fruit and enough savory elements to provide balance.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a manmade cork like closure.  (92 pts)

2015 Pazo de San Mauro Rías Baixas

2015 Pazo de San Mauro Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2015 Vionta Albariño Rías Baixas Limited Release – SRP $15.99

The wine is a pale yellow color.  The soothing nose has ripe apples, white peach, pineapple, orange blossoms, lime zest and a slight leafy herb note.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate orchard fruit and sweet pineapple quickly grab your attention with orange blossoms and lime zest coming in on the back end.  The finish is full of fruit and has nice length.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but it is a very fruit driven, tasty wine.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (89 pts)

2015 Vionta Albariño Rías Baixas Limited Release

2015 Vionta Albariño Rías Baixas Limited Release

 

 

 

2016 Robalino Albariño Rías Baixas – SRP $18

The wine is a pale yellow color with a slight green tint.  The appealing nose has apples, white peach, beeswax, orange blossoms and lime zest.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, white peach and orange blossoms come through on the front end with beeswax slipping in on the back end.  The finish has good length with mouthwatering lime zest providing nice depth.  This would be right at home on a warm, sunny day.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2016 Robalino Albariño Rías Baixas

2016 Robalino Albariño Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2015 Bodegas Altos de Torona Rías Baixas – SRP $14

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The sensuous nose has ripe apples, white peach, pineapple, crushed stones, orange blossoms, lemongrass and lemon zest.  This has medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples, pineapples and crushed stones jump out on the front end with lemongrass, white peach and orange blossoms coming in later.  The crisp finish has good length with tart lemon zest providing nice depth.  This is made to enjoy on a sunny day with a light meal.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (90 pts)

2015 Bodegas Altos de Torona Rías Baixas

2015 Bodegas Altos de Torona Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2015 Adegas Valmiñor Albariño Rías Baixas Edición especial 10 años – SRP $18.99

The wine is a medium yellow straw color.  The appealing nose has apples, peach, leafy herbs, gardenia and orange zest.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate apples and peaches come through on the front end with leafy herbs and gardenias coming in later.  The finish has decent length with tart orange zest providing some depth.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but it is very easy to drink.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2015 Adegas Valmiñor Albariño Rías Baixas Edición especial 10 años

2015 Adegas Valmiñor Albariño Rías Baixas Edición especial 10 años

 

 

 

2016 Pazo de Señoráns Albariño Rías Baixas – SRP $25

The wine is a light straw yellow color.  The exuberant nose has apples, white peach, orange blossoms, lemon zest, pineapple, minerals and a hint of white pepper.  This has medium body with very nice acidity.  Ripe apples, white peach and minerals hit the palate on the front end with orange blossoms, pineapple and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with lemon zest providing depth.  This is a fresh and fruity Albarino with would excel on a warm, sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2016 Pazo de Señoráns Albariño Rías Baixas

2016 Pazo de Señoráns Albariño Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2016 Bodegas Agnusdei Albariño Rías Baixas You & Me White Experience – SRP $18

The wine is a light straw yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, minerals, bananas, melon, lime zest and a hint of leafy herbs.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate apples, minerals and lime zest jump out on the front end with melon and leafy herbs coming in later.  The finish has apples and mouth watering lime zest.  This has a creamy texture on the front end with zippy acidity coming in on the back end keeping it in balance.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (89 pts)

2016 Bodegas Agnusdei Albariño Rías Baixas You & Me White Experience

2016 Bodegas Agnusdei Albariño Rías Baixas You & Me White Experience

 

 

 

Conclusion

These wines excel during the Spring and Summer, but are also great any time of the year.  If you or a family member is a white wine lover, open a bottle for Thanksgiving instead of the normal Chardonnay.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – October 2017 Vol 5

 

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir – $40

This is 100% Mourvedre from top notch Paso Robles vineyards.  There were 205 cases produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, crushed stones, roasted meat, earthy underbrush, road tar, cedar, white pepper, freshly ground espresso beans and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, minerals and earthy underbrush quickly grab your attention with roasted meat, white pepper and cedar coming in later.  The finish has very good length with espresso beans and dark chocolate providing plenty of depth.  One of the best California Mourvedre wines I’ve had.  Even at 10 years of age, this will last in the cellar for at least another 5 years but it’s going to be hard to resist.  I really liked this one.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (94 pts)

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir

 

 

 

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $17.30

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

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 cultivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

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 upfront 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 still tastes young but it will be hard to resist after just one sip.  This has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch – $14

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This wine is a blend of 58% Syrah, 28% Grenache and 14% Viognier from Adams Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley), Big River Ranch (Alexander Valley) and Landa Vineyard (East side of Sonoma Valley).

 

Winemaker and JCK Wine Company founder John Kane lives for making dense, decadent and delicious Zinfandel and Rhone blends.  Sucker Punch is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Viognier from three distinct vineyards in Sonoma County.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, black cherries, espresso beans, dark bittersweet chocolate, scorched earth and violets.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate waves of ripe fruit, espresso beans and dark chocolate quickly grab control on the front end with scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with floral notes providing depth.  This is a rich, flavorful wine that would be a crown pleaser.  This isn’t one to stash away in the cellar, I’d open this easy to enjoy wine over the next few years.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch

 

 

 

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

This was a wine I received a couple years ago from Protocol Wines now defunct wine club.  It was misplaced in the cellar and I feared I would never find it.  With about 1400 bottles in the cellar, I gave up looking for it figuring it would never be located.  I was putting some new purchases away when I realized a slot that was supposed to be empty contained a bottle, found it!

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The open and inviting nose has ripe apples, minerals, white peaches, orange blossoms, lime zest and just a hint of roasted nuts.  This has medium body with nice acidity and seems to be just about totally dry.  On the palate this has nice upfront fruit and minerals with a nice citrus bite coming in later.  The finish has good length with more lime zest and a touch of roasted nuts giving the wine nice depth.  Before I opened the bottle I was afraid this would be over the hill, I was wrong.  This tastes wonderful, rich front end but with nice closing acidity.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

 

 

 

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine – SRP $44

This is based on a sample provided by the winery or another company working on their behalf.

 

This appears to be a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 8% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a mix of new and seasoned oak barrels with 80% French and 20% American.

 

Flora Springs puts out several “holiday themed” bottles a year.  Even though the labels are a bit whimsical, the wine in the bottle is serious stuff.  This year the winery produced three Halloween themed bottles under their “Ghost Winery” label.  The Ghost Winery label is named for the stone cellar on the winery’s property that was built in 1885.  In 1977 Flora Springs’ owners, Flora and Jerry Komes, renovated the “Ghost Winery”.

 

The exclusive wines made for the Ghost Winery series feature labels designed by the wildly creative Virginia-based artist Wes Freed, best known for his Drive-By Truckers CD cover art.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby red color.  The sexy nose has cassis, black cherries, espresso beans, white pepper, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, dusty minerals, roasted herbs and spicy oak.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate black cherries, blackberries, white pepper and minerals come through on the front end with dark chocolate and spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has nice length with vanilla bean and roasted herbs providing good depth.  This has great balance and should last in the cellar for several years but with a touch of air it tastes great now.  Don’t be fooled with the Halloween themed label, this is a serious, top notch Cabernet based blend.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine

 

 

 

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch – $25

This wine is 100% destemmed Pinot Noir that was aged 11 months in used French oak.

 

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The sexy nose has cherries, earthy underbrush, warm baking spices, raspberries, dusty minerals, dried herbs and cocoa powder.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tanins and very good acidity.  On the palate nice fruit, spice and earthiness jump out on the front end with minerals coming in later.  The finish has good length with a hint of dried herbs providing depth.  This is a well balanced Pinot that is in a nice drinking window.  This will provide drinking pleasure for at least a few more years.  Very tasty stuff!  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (92 pts)

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

It was a cool day here in South Carolina so we slow cooked a Corned Beef and at the end of the process we added carrots, onions, potatoes and cabbage from the garden to serve with the Sandler Pinot Noir.

 

The cool spell meant it was time for some pasta and freshly made meat sauce to go with the Ruffio Modus.

 

What goes better with a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine then a steak.  In this case, I cooked a thick Sirloin to rare with the Sous Vide and finished it in a smoking hot cast iron pan.  A fresh from the garden salad with assorted lettuce, onion and broccoli was perfect with the Flora Springs Ghost Winery wine.

 

I now live “in the South” so this was a nice Southern meal.  A boneless pork loin chop coated with chipotle seasoned panko and fried with fresh from the garden green peas and a couple types of cornbread.  One of the cornbreads had fresh from the garden roasted jalapenos the other had bacon and cheddar cheese.  A bottle of Villa Creek Mourvedre was a perfect companion to the meal.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – October 2017 Vol 4

 

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate

 

 

 

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi – $11.04

Mad Duck is a label owned by Truett-Hurst.  There isn’t much information on the wine on the internet, at least not that I could find.

 

The wine is a ruby red color, looking more like a Pinot Noir than a Zinfandel.  The exotic nose has brambly berries, cherries, baking spices, dry loamy soil, cranberries, white pepper and violets.  This has medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cherries, brambly berries and spice come through on the front end with loam and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has decent length with cranberries and a floral note entering the picture.  This is a leaner style of Zinfandel, especially for one from Lodi.  This could actually use a bit more body and some complexity.  Perhaps some time in the cellar will allow the wine to put on some weight and flesh out a bit.  As is, this is a balanced Zinfandel with nice tart fruit that will work with a lot of meals.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (87 pts)

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi

 

 

 

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz – $25

Don’t you hate it when you go to a winery’s website and there is almost nothing about wine.  In this case, the Estate appears to be a “destination”.  There is loads of info on the resort, restaurant, conference room and gift center.  If I checked out the site before buying the wine, I probably would have passed, but that would have been a mistake.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The open and giving nose has blackberries, roasted leafy herbs, dark bittersweet chocolate, dead wood embers, cherries, licorice, iron shavings, wildflowers and warm baking spices.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate berries, roasted herbs and iron shavings quickly grab your attention with charred wood and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate and a nice floral note providing depth.  This still tastes very young and primary.  I’d sit on this one for a couple more years.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (92 pts)

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz

 

 

 

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon – $48

This Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Livermore Valley also includes a few percent each of Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  The grapes come from Ghielmetti Estate, Home Ranch and Smith Ranch vineyards.  After a 5 to 7 day cold soak the wine was fermented in individual fermenters with an extended 14 day maceration.  The wine was then aged for 22 months in French oak barrels with 60% being new.  There were 1047 cases produced.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The alluring wine has cassis, licorice, roasted herbs, warm baking spices, black cherries, tobacco, dusty minerals and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cassis, minerals, baking spices and tobacco come through on the front end with black cherries and roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a nice floral note providing depth.  This is on the young side, some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  This just seemed to get better throughout the evening.  A solid California Cabernet that is very easy to like.  This has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard – $28.50

There are only one and a half acres of Grüner in Sonoma County, all of which is at Steiner Vineyard.  A very rare and special wine!  The production was ramped up this vintage from 92 cases in 2012 to 212 cases.  The production increased since a second block in the vineyard started producing.

 

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The exotic nose has pineapple, lemon zest, green pea pods, crushed stone minerals, lime zest, orange blossoms, white peach and vanilla bean.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, under ripe pineapple, minerals and lime zest quickly grab your attention with green pea pods and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with lemon zest and vanilla bean providing depth.  This has very nice balance and the touch of residual sweetness buffers the tart acidity.  This won’t get mistaken for an Austrian Gruner, but who cares, it’s delicious.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor – $19

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This is a blend of 45% Zinfandel, 26% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 8% Grenache, 5% Carignane, 3% Mourvèdre, 2% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Black Muscat and 1% Viognier from vineyards in Sonoma, Napa, Paso Robles and Amador County.  The total production was 1,913 cases.

 

The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  The flamboyant nose is full of blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, black peppercorns, warm baking spices, scorched earth and dried wild flowers.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate waves of crushed berries, black pepper and scorched earth dominate the front end with baking spices and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish is again loaded with fruit and spice with a dried flower note joining the picture.  This is a big, ripe and rich wine that would be a crowd pleaser.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor

 

 

 

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate – Gift

This wine was a very special bottle.  It was a gift from a friend when he had dinner (and a lot of wine) at the house while he was on a business trip.  I was supposed to visit him in Nebraska one day so he could reciprocate, but he passed away before we could get together again.  This was the only time we ever met in person.  Cheers Fred!

 

There is 8% Viognier included with the Syrah.  This is from the Lytton West Vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, cherries, cedar, baking spices, crushed stone minerals, licorice, violets, white pepper, raspberries, dry underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate and potpourri.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate there is great balance between the fruit and savory elements with nothing being too prominent.  The finish has very nice length and again it has no rough edges.  This has aged very nicely and is in a superb drinking window.  Drink this one over the next few years.  This just seemed to get smoother and richer as the bottle was drained.  I wish I had a couple more bottles to open over the next few years.  This is a great, restrained Syrah.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

I paired the Mad Duck Zin with one of my favorite cooler weather dishes, a Stacked Enchilada Casserole with layers of spicy, meaty filling loaded with black beans and Monterrey Jack cheese and flour tortillas.  Think of it as a Mexican Lasagna.

 

 

Another cool weather favorite is Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya.  In this case I paired the dish with the Balgownie Shiraz.  Another perfect pairing, at least it was for me.

 

 

The cool spell lasted a few days, so we were able to pull out a true Southern meal, Fried Cubed Steak with rice and Cream Gravy with mixed peas from this Summer’s garden.  The Steven Kent Cabernet had the body, structure and flavor to pair nicely with this Southern cuisine.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – October 2017 Vol 3

 

2011 Benessere Phenomenon

2016 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé

2011 Cypher Winery Monarchy

NV Pommery Champagne Brut Royal

2013 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard

2013 McPrice Myers Syrah Head Honcho

 

 

 

2011 Benessere Phenomenon – $24.27

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from the winery’s estate vineyard in the Napa Valley.

 

The wine is a ruby red color.  The pleasing nose has cherries, underbrush, cassis, cedar, baking spices, dusty minerals and violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, underbrush and spices quickly jump out on the front end with dusty minerals and a touch of cedar coming in later.  The finish has nice length with cassis and violets providing good depth.  This seems to have just a touch of residual sweetness but the acidity keeps it in check.  This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Benessere Phenomenon

2011 Benessere Phenomenon

 

 

 

2016 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé – $10.35

This Pinot Noir Rosé is from the Vin de Pays d’Oc appellation from France’s Languedoc Roussillon region.

 

The wine is a very light pink color.  The energetic nose has strawberries, cherries, orange blossoms and subtle minerals.  This has light body with nice acidity.  On the palate bright red fruit and minerals pop out on the front end with orange blossoms and lime zest coming through later.  The mouthwatering finish has good length with red fruit and lime zest.  This is a light, crisp rosé with nice up front red fruit.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2016 d'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé

2016 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé

 

 

 

2011 Cypher Winery Monarchy – $15

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  This was a real steal at over 60% off the suggested price of $40.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This wine is a rather unusual 50/50 blend of Malbec and Petit Verdot from Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The big and burly nose is full of crushed blackberries, blueberries, scorched earth, dried wildflowers, white pepper and baking spices.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate waves of berries grab control quickly with scorched earth and dried flowers coming in later.  The finish has nice length with baking spices and white pepper providing depth.  This is a big, rich, velvety wine with impressive fruit on the front end.  This doesn’t offer much in the complexity department but the rich fruit and spice make up for that shortcoming.  I wouldn’t sit on this one for too long, enjoy this one over the next year or two.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the impressive bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  I love the “label less” bottle, everything is “painted” onto the glass.  (90 pts)

2011 Cypher Winery Monarchy

2011 Cypher Winery Monarchy

 

 

 

NV Pommery Champagne Brut Royal – $50.99

This is a blend of the three “classic” grapes used in Champagne, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color with a steady stream of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The festive nose has green apples, yeasty bread, lime zest, toasted nuts and crushed stone minerals.  This has light body with great effervescence.  On the palate apples, lemon zest and fresh baked bread jump out on the front end with minerals coming in later.  The nicely lingering finish has good length with toasted nuts entering the picture.  This was enjoyable but for about the same price there are better selections out there.  I should note, even though I bought the bottle just a few months ago, it did seem a touch tired which is unusual, so this could have encountered some subpar treatment before it reached my cellar.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (87 pts)

NV Pommery Champagne Brut Royal

NV Pommery Champagne Brut Royal

 

 

 

2013 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard – $44

This 100% Cabernet is from the winery’s estate vineyard in the Napa Valley that is certified organic and was planted in 1989.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The sexy nose has cassis, warm baking spices, cedar, tobacco, dusty minerals, dark chocolate, roasted leafy herbs and vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cassis, cedar and baking spices grab your attention on the front end with tobacco and roasted herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with minerals and vanilla bean providing nice depth.  This has nice balance and shows good restraint.  This just kept getting better and better the more air it received.  No hurry on this one, some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 15% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2013 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard

2013 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 McPrice Myers Syrah Head Honcho – $18

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  This was about half off the suggested price of $35.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This was originally to be released under the Barrel 27 label but all wines destined for that label are now released as McPrice Myers in their “Blue Collar” series.  This wine is 96% Syrah with 2% each Viognier and Roussanne.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, blueberries, cedar, baking spices, black olives, black pepper, crushed stone minerals, and roasted meat.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate waves of berries, cedar and spices jump out quickly on the front end with black olives, crushed stones and roasted meat coming in later.  The finish has nice length with some black pepper entering the picture.  As with most McPrice Myers wines, don’t expect a lot of subtlety, these are beasts.  This is big and full but smooth and seamless.  Personally, I’d like a bit more acidity to help hold everything in check.  This has 15% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2013 McPrice Myers Syrah Head Honcho

2013 McPrice Myers Syrah Head Honcho

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

This was a simple Ravioli Lasagna, fresh from the garden salad and garlic bread paired with the Benessere wine.

 

The classic steak and cab.  In this case, a Strip Steak that was cooked with the Sous Vide to rare and finished on a hot grill with a fresh from the garden salad and grilled potatoes paired with the Turley Cabernet.

 

When you have some leftover steak, what can beat steak tacos?  I paired this with the Head Honcho Syrah.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – October 2017 Vol 2

 

2010 Buccella Remnant

2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé

2015 Owl Ridge Wines Zinfandel Hunted Lodi

2012 Sapphire Hill Rubino Cuvee

2011 Mueller Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stars & Goats Diamond Mtn

 

 

 

2010 Buccella Remnant – $41.40

This wine is a blend of 67% Carignane, 17% Petite Sirah and 16% Grenache from Mendocino County.  I saw this on the shelf at a wine store in Pinehurst, NC during a business trip and had to grab a bottle to try out.  I can’t find much information on the wine on the internet, even the winery’s website.  This seems to be a one-off wine since this appears to be the only vintage that was produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The alluring nose has blackberries, black cherries, crushed stones, dry underbrush, black peppercorns, baking spices, plums, cocoa powder and dried flowers.  This has a medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate clack cherries, berries, minerals and baking spices quickly grab your attention with black pepper, plums and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note and dry underbrush providing good depth.  This is a bit of an unusual blend that works nicely.  This has nice balance and doesn’t push the ripeness or extraction.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2010 Buccella Remnant

2010 Buccella Remnant

 

 

 

2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard – $28.17

This 100% Pinot Noir comes from a vineyard at the western base of Sonoma Mountain.  The coastal location provides cool ocean breezes and Petaluma Gap fog helps keep the heat in check.  The wine was aged in French oak, 50% new.  1,150 cases of this wine was produced.

 

The wine is a ruby red color.  The sensuous nose has black cherries, Asian spice, plums, crushed stone minerals, white pepper, strawberries, licorice, dry underbrush and dried wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, Asian spice and stony minerals take control quickly with white pepper, strawberries and plums coming in later.  The finish has very good length with underbrush and a dried floral note adding great depth.  This is drinking very nicely right now but there is absolutely no hurry on this one, it will easily last through the end of the decade.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard

2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard

 

 

 

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé – $10.35

This is a blend of 73% Grenache and 27% Syrah.  I grabbed a few bottles of this at the local Total Wine in Columbia, SC on a visit to stock up on Rosé wines for the warm South Carolina weather.

 

The wine is a deep salmon pink color.  The riveting nose has cherries, strawberries, minerals, white pepper, orange blossoms and a hint of dry earth.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate red fruit, minerals and white pepper immediately grab your attention with orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of dry earth providing depth.  This is a little fuller body than most Rosés from the region but it has the bolder flavors and nice acidity to support the extra weight.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper.  (91 pts)

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé

 

 

 

2015 Owl Ridge Wines Zinfandel Hunted Lodi – $10.19

I grabbed a bottle of this wine on my latest stop at Total Wine.  If you check out this blog very often, you’ll notice I drink a fair amount of wines from Lodi.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very open and giving nose is full of crushed berries, baking spices, white pepper, scorched earth, licorice and wildflowers.  This has medium to full body with soft tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate juicy berries, baking spices and white pepper come through on the front end with scorched earth and licorice coming in later.  The finish has decent length with wildflowers providing depth.  This finishes with a touch of lingering sweetness and gets a bit soft.  The soft tannins and touch of sweetness makes this a perfect companion to some spicy barbecue.  This is an easy drinking wine to open with friends over the next year.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (87 pts)

2015 Owl Ridge Wines Zinfandel Hunted Lodi

2015 Owl Ridge Wines Zinfandel Hunted Lodi

 

 

 

2012 Sapphire Hill Rubino Cuvee – $11.54

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

Rubino is a Blend of Alexander Valley Cabernet, Dry Creek Valley Merlot, Russian River Valley Syrah and Napa Valley Petite Sirah. Aged in French Oak for 20 months.

Aged in French Oak for 24 months.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The alluring nose has cassis, baking spices, raspberries, dry underbrush, plums, dark chocolate and dried wildflowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate nice front end fruit is buffered by spices and dry underbrush coming in later.  The finish has nice length with plums and dark chocolate providing depth.  This isn’t a power house wine, but it has nice balance and a smooth texture.  I wouldn’t hold this one for more than a year or two.  For under $12 (my cost from last bottle) this is a QPR star.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2012 Sapphire Hill Rubino Cuvee

2012 Sapphire Hill Rubino Cuvee

 

 

 

2011 Mueller Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stars & Goats Diamond Mtn – $29.12

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the winery’s Diamond Mountain vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very appealing nose has cassis, roasted leafy herbs, baking spices, tobacco, licorice, cedar, crushed stone minerals, white pepper and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate cassis, baking spices and minerals jump out on the front end with roasted herbs and tobacco coming in later.  The lingering finish adds cedar, white pepper and a nice dried floral note.  This isn’t a powerhouse, but it has great balance and is a big success for the vintage.  This has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Mueller Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stars & Goats Diamond Mtn

2011 Mueller Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stars & Goats Diamond Mtn

 

 

 

Here are a few meals that featured some of the wines reviewed above.

 

A piece of Slow-cooked Chuck Roast with Gravy over Egg Noodles with the Stars & Goats Cabernet

 

 

BBQ Chicken Wings with my dry rub, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and the Hunted Zinfandel

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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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