Cliffs Wine Picks – Seriously Pink – Rosé Wines of Provence

 

2015 Château d’Esclans Rock Angel

2015 Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence La Symphonie

2015 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé

2015 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé

2015 Domaine de la Sangliere Côtes de Provence Cuvée Spéciale

 

(All wines were free samples provided for review purposes by Wines of Provence and Calhoun & Company.)

 

 

When I was approached to sample and review some rosé wines from Provence, I almost broke my fingers to respond too quickly.  This was an easy question, I love these wines.  I always have at least a case of Provence rosés in my cellar.  A nice rosé isn’t just for a hot summer day, they are outstanding the entire year.  If you are not familiar with the rosés from the area, I highly encourage you to check them out.  The wines below are a great starting point, but the fun is finding the one that will become your “house rosé”.

 

Don’t expect a sweet White Zinfandel style of wine, these are usually bone dry and are perfect with a lighter meal or a perfect to serve as guests arrive for a party or just conversation.

 

 

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For centuries, dry rosé wine has been a staple in the south of France, where it is embraced as the best lunchtime, seaside, and all-occasion wine. Particularly in the coastal Provence region, the heart of the world’s dry rosé production, a passion for dry pink permeates the culture. Provençal citizens know from centuries of wine growing history that vin rosé pairs with all the foods they like, any time of year. In fact, French rosé outsells white wine in France.

 

Provence, the site of France’s oldest vineyards, is the world’s largest wine region specializing in rosé. The region has a rich rosé tradition, and winemakers today are the beneficiaries of the region’s collective knowledge and time-honored techniques. Since rosé is a delicate wine and one of the most difficult to produce with success, these long-established traditions remain entirely relevant. The area’s deep-rooted rosé culture goes a long way toward explaining why the world’s best rosés still come from Provence.

 

Much more information on the region, the wineries and their wines is available on their website.

 

See below for a link to a free download of a recipe book full of great food to serve with these wines.

 

 

Here is the line up of wines for this post:

Rosé Wines of Provence

Rosé Wines of Provence

 

2015 Château d’Esclans Rock Angel – SRP $35

This wine is a blend of Grenache and Vermentino (Rolle).  After a manual harvest the grapes go through a manual and optical sorting.  This wine is 50% stainless steel fermented 50% crafted in oak barrels. Temperature controlled.

 

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The crisp and clean nose has strawberries, cherries, crushed stone minerals, white peach, leafy herbs and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate bright bruit, minerals and leafy herbs jump out first with white peach and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has great length with juicy citrusy acidity.  This is a step or two above your normal Rosé.  This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2015 Château d'Esclans Rock Angel

2015 Château d’Esclans Rock Angel

 

 

2015 Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence La Symphonie – SRP $18

This is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 20% Syrah.  The grapes were both mechanically and manually harvested, with the majority being harvested mechanically.  This organic wine went through a cold skin contact maceration before pressing and a temperature controlled vinification.  The wine was aged in vats on fine lees before being fined and filtered before bottling.

 

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The refreshing nose has strawberries, cherries, stony minerals, melon, orange blossoms and citrus zest.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  This is dry on the palate with strawberries, minerals and cherries on the front end with melon and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of citrus zest leading you to grab another sip.  This would be great with a light meal on the deck or patio on a sunny day or as something to sip before a festive meal with friends.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made stopper.  (90 pts)

2015 Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence La Symphonie

2015 Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence La Symphonie

 

 

2015 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé – SRP $18.00

This is a blend of 45% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 15% Syrah.  The grapes are harvested between 3:00 AM and 9:00 AM to avoid oxidation and to preserve the fresh characteristics.  The grapes are kept below 50F° for sorting and destemming to preserve the light color.  Vinification is mainly in stainless steel with frequent batonnage until bottling.

 

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The fresh and inviting nose has cherries, strawberries, wet stone minerals, white peach, orange zest, fennel and anise.  This has light to medium body with good acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate strawberry, cherry and minerals quickly take control with white peach and fennel coming in later.  The long finish adds orange zest and a hint of anise.  This is a crisp wine with just enough sweetness to add a bit of weight and make it extremely easy to sip.  This would be great on a sunny day sitting on the patio or deck.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper.  (90 pts)

2015 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé

2015 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé

 

 

2015 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé – SRP $15.00

This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Cinsault.  Only the best grapes were harvested under optimal weather conditions to ensure perfect balance between the sugar and acidity.  When the grapes reached the cellar it was still the cool morning ensuring the retention of all the fruit flavors, minerality and freshness.

 

The wine is a light salmon color.  The nose reminds me of Spring full of strawberries, white flowers, white peach, crushed stones and a hint of leafy herb.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and perhaps just a touch of sweetness.  On the palate strawberries, minerals and white peach jump out immediately with a nice floral note and a touch of leafy herb coming in on the back end.  The finish has great length with nice, mouthwatering acidity leading you to grab another sip.  A wonderful rosé to pair with a light meal or to sip on its own on a sunny day.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made closure.  (91 pts)

2015 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé

2015 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé

 

 

2015 Domaine de la Sangliere Côtes de Provence Cuvée Spéciale – SRP $15.00

This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault.

 

The wine is a light salmon pink color.  The enticing nose has cherries, strawberries, white peach, orange blossoms, sea breeze, stony minerals and a hint of leafy herbs.  This has medium body with good acidity and just of hint of lingering sweetness.  Nice red fruit, minerals, orange blossoms and a slight saline element quickly coat your palate with white peach coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a subtle herbal note providing depth.  This is extremely easy to drink and would be perfect with a lighter meal on a sunny day or as an aperitif before a festive dinner.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made “cork”.  (90 pts)

2015 Domaine de la Sangliere Côtes de Provence Cuvée Spéciale

2015 Domaine de la Sangliere Côtes de Provence Cuvée Spéciale

 

 

Conclusion

These wines are perfect for a nice sunny day but they are also without peer any time of the year.  These wines are very food friendly with a wide range of foods.  Any serious wine consumer should have a few stashed away for any special occasion, like a Tuesday evening.  The wines are available everywhere at very wallet friendly prices, some under $10.

 

Since you’ve read this far, I wanted to point out a download full of delicious recipes perfect with these wines from their website.  Click here to download.

 

 

calhoun-logo

 

Calhoun & Company enjoys a diverse portfolio of wine and spirits clients. From family owned to corporate managed, luxury to everyday priced, small lot wines to nationally distributed, Napa to Oporto, we thrive on the varied media opportunities each of these categories presents. We are exceptionally proud of the breadth and depth of our practice, as illustrated by this partial list of brands we have worked with over the past 13 years.  For more information, visit their website.

 

 

 

 

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:

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 – January 2017 Vol 2

 

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Villa Creek Avenger

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

 

 

 

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte – $21.99

This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  The wine is aged for 12 months in two year old barrels and oak casks.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very inviting nose has blackberries, raspberries, dusty minerals, dried herbs, white pepper, scorched earth and dried wild flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate berries, minerals and white pepper jump out on the front end with dried herbs and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note providing adding depth.  This is drinking very nicely right now and it should hold through at least the end of the decade.  I really liked this one.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made closure.  (91 pts)

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte

 

 

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $14.84

This is a wine I always keep in the cellar for pizza and pasta nights.  I always grab a few bottles when I visit the local Total Wine when I can get it for under $15 with any frequent buyer sales or coupons.

 

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The very enjoyable nose has cherries, dusty minerals, dry underbrush, spices, white pepper and wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cherries, minerals and spics jump out quickly with underbrush and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with a floral note providing depth.  This is very food friendly and young.  This will improve with some cellar time and last for a decade.  This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

2010 Villa Creek Avenger – $36.00

This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.  There were 400 cases produced.

 

Some technical stuff from the winery:

Avenger is always Syrah based, but this wine is reminiscent of some of the first vintages of Avenger with its higher percentage of Mourvèdre.  Luna Matta Syrah is the backbone of this vintage.  Mourvèdre grapes come from Denner, James Berry and Luna Matta.  The Syrah was fermented 50% whole cluster and aged in 30% new French barriques.  The Mourvèdre was fermented without stems and aged in second fill French puncheons.  The Denner Grenache was destemmed and aged in neutral puncheons.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose is full of crushed berries, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, underbrush, licorice, baking spices, black cherries and wild flowers.  This has a full body with moderate tanning and nice acidity.  On the palate the crushed berries, white pepper and crushed stones grab hold and take control early with cherries, baking spices and earthy underbrush slipping in on the back end.  The finish is long and nicely layered.  The 15.2% alcohol is buried behind the wall of berries and spice and doesn’t poke through at any time.  This is drinking very nicely now with some air but will last in the cellar through the end of the decade, probably longer.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a wax covered natural cork.  (93 pts)

2010 Villa Creek Avenger

2010 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County – $14.44

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The interesting nose has black cherries, forest floor, eucalyptus, white pepper, roasted leafy herbs, cranberries and chalky minerals.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate cherries, forest floor, white pepper and roasted herbs pop out on the front end with cranberries and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a hint of eucalyptus providing some depth.  At this time the wine doesn’t show a lot of complexity, perhaps some cellar time will allow some depth and complexity to develop.  None the less, this is a nice Pinot for under $15.  This has 13.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (87 pts)

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County

 

 

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve – $29.29

This was picked up at a Last Bottle Marathon, always a great source for special wines at every day prices.  See below for information on the site and a discount on your first purchase.

 

I can’t find, with 100% confidence, the exact blend of grapes for this wine but it appears to be 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.  I should note, I have even seen this noted as 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.  This means, your guess is as good as mine.

 

This is a light golden straw color with a steady stream of pinpoint sized, persistent bubbles.  The festive nose has tart apples, lemon zest, stony minerals, toasted yeasty bread, orange blossoms, white peach and a hint of berries.  This has light to medium body with great effervescence, crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness.  On the palate apples, minerals, orange blossoms and lemon zest quickly take control with a hint of white peach and berries slipping in on the back end.  The finish has good length and is crisp and clean thanks to lemony acidity.  This is a joy to sip on its’ own or with a light meal.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (92 pts)

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve

 

 

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache – $17.50

This is one of my favorite “new wineries”.  They are well worth your time to check them out on their website.

 

The wine is a garnet red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, white pepper, dusty minerals, licorice, baking spices, scorched earth and dried herbs.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate mineral laden cherries, white pepper and baking spices grab hold immediately with scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried herbs, white pepper and minerals pushing the fruit into the background…in a good way.  This tastes very good today and should hold through the end of the decade.  This has very good balance and it will pair nicely with a variety of meals.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

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:

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 – January 2017 Vol 1

 

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard

2015 Daou Vineyards The Pessimist

2013 Conn Creek Herrick Red

 

 

 

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard – $46.64

The wine is a nice garnet color.  The inviting nose has black cherries, forest floor, chalky minerals, white pepper, eucalyptus, raspberries and a dried floral note.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cherries, minerals, white pepper and forest floor grab control immediately with raspberries coming in on the back end.  The finish has great length with a dried floral note joining the cherries, minerals and forest floor.  This shows excellent balance and is a pleasure to drink.  This has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  For the wine geeks, the back label challenges Ridge for the most informative label in the business.  (94 pts)

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard

 

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke – $40.00

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The appealing nose has blackberries, crushed stone minerals, briny black olives, white pepper, wood embers, freshly ground espresso beans, vanilla and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate blackberries, minerals, black olives and wood embers jump out on the front end with espresso beans, vanilla and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate and a floral note providing nice depth.  To me, this was one of Copain’s lower rung vineyards, normally overshadowed by several others.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

 

 

 

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 32nd bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.  It will be hard to let her know it’s all gone when the last bottle gets cracked open.  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.

 

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, blueberries,  dry earth, 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.  The finish has very good length with blueberries, dark chocolate and a nice floral note providing great depth.  This is a big, bold and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level.  This has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (93 pts)

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section

 

 

 

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard – $36.66

And now for something totally different, a Dornfelder wine from California.

 

The wine is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  The impressive nose is full of blackberries, blueberries, dry underbrush, baking spices, chalky minerals and a hint of road tar.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate this tastes like a warm berry pie with subtle earthiness and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish is full of berries and spice with a hint of road tar.  This is a very unique wine from a “different” grape.  Though it lacks in the complexity department, there is no lack of flavor and overall taste.  I wouldn’t sit on this one for an extended time, enjoy this one over the next few years.  This has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with the standard Loring twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard

 

 

 

2015 Daou Vineyards The Pessimist – $18.99

This is a blend of 37% Syrah, 31% Petite Sirah, 27% Zinfandel, 4% Tannat and 1% Grenache.

 

The wine is an inky purple color.  The big and bold nose is full of crushed blackberries, blueberries, baking spices, vanilla, toasty oak, crushed stone minerals and scorched earth.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This is big and lush on the palate with blackberries, blueberries, spicy oak and vanilla up front with minerals and dried earthy elements coming in later.  The finish has good length with baking spices and berries carrying the majority of the load.  This may be lacking in complexity but it is full throttle on the fruit and spice.  I wouldn’t sit on this for an extended period of time, enjoy this one over the next few years.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2015 Daou Vineyards The Pessimist

2015 Daou Vineyards The Pessimist

 

 

 

2013 Conn Creek Herrick Red – $15.99

This is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Syrah, 6% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Primitivo from the Napa Valley

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The easy going nose has cassis, blueberries, dark chocolate, plums, caramel, dry underbrush, vanilla bean and flinty minerals.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This is rich and velvety on the palate with a big fruit presence on the front end.  The back end provides some nice savory notes to keep the fruit from getting boring with dark chocolate and flinty minerals.  The finish has decent length and like the palate is fruit driven.  This isn’t built to age and lacks complexity but that doesn’t stop it from being very tasty.  This would be best served with appetizer platters to friends gathered for conversation and not to geek-out over the wine.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (88 pts)

2013 Conn Creek Herrick Red

2013 Conn Creek Herrick Red

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

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:

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 – December 2016 Vol 6

 

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

Domaine Chandon Brut Classic

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena

 

 

 

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $28.00

I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years.  A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release.  Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smooth out and open up.  That said, their Alesia wines, which are made from purchased grapes, though also needing some time in the cellar, seem to be ready to drink a couple years earlier.  I grabbed several bottles of this wine when it was offered on their e-mail release.  This is my last bottle and every bottle has been better than the previous bottle…always a good sign.

 

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The sexy nose has strawberries, raspberries, cola, baking spices, underbrush, minerals, cherries, dried flowers and a slight herbal note.  The wine has medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  The very complex palate has layers of fruit, spice, and earthy elements that slowly reveal themselves with each sip, with the nice cleansing acidity evident at all times.  The finish is fairly long and the mouthwatering acidity is ever present.  This is very food friendly and civilized.  There is no excess weight or overly extracted notes evident on the wine.  This is in a very good drinking window and should hold for another year or two.  This has 13.9% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

 

 

 

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley – $25.00

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

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has cassis, dried herbs, minerals, cedar, baking spices, cherries and a hint of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This has a medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate rich fruit and spice lead off with minerals and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with cherries, spice and a touch of dark chocolate lingering nicely.  This is drinking very nicely today and should continue doing so for at least a few more years.  This was a steal for $25.  This has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

 

 

 

Domaine Chandon Brut Classic – $15.49

This is a blend of traditional Champagne varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from multiple cool-climate vineyards.

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color with a steady stream of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The slightly shy nose has tart green apples, lemon zest, yeasty bread and a slight saline note.  This has light body with decent acidity and a touch of sweetness.  On the palate apples, lemon zest and a slight nutty element come through quickly.  The finish has decent length with lemon zest acidity and a slight lingering sweetness.  This is drinkable but not the most memorable or complex bottle of sparkling wine you will find.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne stopper.  (87 pts)

Domaine Chandon Brut Classic

Domaine Chandon Brut Classic

 

 

 

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.00

This wine is from the Rincon Valley in Sonoma County.  The wine is fermented using native yeasts entirely in barrels, with 5% being new Acacia wood.

 

The wine is a bright straw yellow color.  The open and expressive nose has apples, gooseberry, spice, lemon zest, orange blossoms, minerals, light leafy herbal notes and a hint of roasted nuts.  This has medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples, spice, slate minerals and gooseberry jump out on the front end with orange blossoms and a slight herbal note coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with orange blossoms and tart lemon zest leaving your mouth watering for another sip.  This is drinking wonderfully today and it should hold for another year or two.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena – $39.99

This is 100% Cabernet Franc from 100% CCOF certified organic, 100% Demeter Certified Biodynamic estate vineyards.  The wine was aged in 100% French oak, 50% new.  There were 597 cases of wine produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The stunning nose has blackberries, cassis, dusty minerals, dried herbs, tobacco, violets, cedar, underbrush and baking spices.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate fruit, minerals and spices jump out first with a floral note and subtle earthiness coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a touch of cedar and dried leafy herbs joining the nice lingering fruit.  This is on the young side but already showing very well.  I look forward to following the wine’s evolution over the next decade.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena

2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc St. Helena

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

 

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:

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 – Misc California Red Wines

 

2011 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Chalone Boer Vineyard

2012 Ledge Tempranillo Los Topos

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2012 Ledge Garnacha Los Topos

2009 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo

2008 Villa del Monte Merlot Moon Vineyard

2008 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard – $39.67

This was a no-brainer buy for me.  I love Brian Loring’s wines and Grenache is one of my favorite grapes.  The price of admission was a touch steep for a total unknown, but I had to grab some.

 

Winery history

My philosophy on making wine is that the fruit is EVERYTHING.  What happens in the vineyard determines the quality of the wine – I can’t make it better – I can only screw it up!  That’s why I’m extremely picky when choosing vineyards to buy grapes from.  Not only am I looking for the right soil, micro-climate, and clones, I’m also looking for a grower with the same passion and dedication to producing great wine that I have.  In other words, a total Pinot Freak!  My part in the vineyard equation is to throw heaping piles of money at the vineyard owners (so that they can limit yields and still make a profit) and then stay out of the way!  Since most, if not all of the growers keep some fruit to make their own wine, I tell them to farm my acre(s) the same way they do theirs – since they’ll obviously be doing whatever is necessary to get the best possible fruit.  One of the most important decisions made in the vineyard is when to pick.  Some people go by the numbers (brix, pH, TA, etc) and some go by taste.  Once again, I trust the decision to the vineyard people.  The day they pick the fruit for their wine is the day I’m there with a truck to pick mine.  Given this approach, the wine that I produce is as much a reflection of the vineyard owner as it is of my winemaking skills.  I figure that I’m extending the concept of terroir a bit to include the vineyard owner/manager… but it seems to make sense to me.  The added benefit is that I’ll be producing a wide variety of Pinots.  It’d be boring if everything I made tasted the same.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The exotic and inviting nose has black cherries, black raspberries, white pepper, chocolate, crushed rocks, dried herbs, Asian spices, forest floor, and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has medium to full body, moderate ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate features ripe, juicy cherries and berries, minerals, spice, chocolate and some earthiness.  The finish has nice length with dried herbs and white pepper adding some kick to the chocolate and fruit.  This is a ripe and rich style of wine but it doesn’t carry excess weight and is not syrupy.  This will never be mistaken as a Rhone wine, but it is outstanding in its own right.  (92 pts)

2011 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2011 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Chalone Boer Vineyard

Sandler Wine Company is the personal label of ever-present consulting winemaker, Ed Kurtzman.  Sandler Wine Company is devoted to small bottlings of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache, from some of Ed’s favorite vineyard and grower sources.  Production of most wines very seldom exceeds 100 cases and in some cases don’t even reach 25 cases.  This is a highly recommended mailing list to check out if you want very reasonably priced, small production wines.

 

For more information, checkout their website.

 

The wine is a nice, bright ruby red color.  The civilized and refined nose has raspberries, minerals, warm baking spices, mint, cherries, wild flowers, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spice grab hold initially, eventually allowing a touch of mint, earthiness, and a floral note to come through.  The finish has nice length with mint and cherries carrying the load.  This is very good now, but will be much better in another year or two.  This has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Chalone Boer Vineyard

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Chalone Boer Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Ledge Tempranillo Los Topos – $18.75

This is a limited production, 100% Tempranillo sourced from premium Paso Robles Vineyards.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The enticing nose has black cherries, white pepper, dry underbrush, baking spices, crushed stone minerals, dried leafy herbs, wild flowers and licorice.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Black cherries, white pepper and crushed stones immediately grab hold of your palate with dried herbs and underbrush coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with licorice and a floral note entering the picture.  This will probably age and maybe even improve in the cellar but this is very hard to resist.  One of the better Tempranillo wines coming out of California.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (92 pts)

2012 Ledge Tempranillo Los Topos

2012 Ledge Tempranillo Los Topos

 

 

 

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard – $32.00

This was another very easy buy, one of my favorite grapes, from a top notch vineyard, from one of my go-to wineries.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The inviting nose is full of crushed blackberries, dusty minerals, violets, blueberries, white pepper, road tar, dried violets and vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  For a Hayne Vineyard Petite Sirah this is bright and lively on your palate with crushed berries, minerals and white pepper hitting on the front end and blueberries, vanilla and dried violets coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with berries and white pepper seeming to linger forever.  This is on the young side but very easy to enjoy even at this stage in its development.  This has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Ledge Garnacha Los Topos – $18.75

This is 100% Grenache from Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, baking spices, licorice, white pepper, crushed stones, dried leafy herbs, raspberries and dried flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Tart cherries, white pepper and crushed stones jump out quickly on the front end with baking spices and licorice coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dried herbs and dried flowers joining the cherries and white pepper.  This is already very tasty but will probably improve with a year in the cellar.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (90 pts)

2012 Ledge Garnacha Los Topos

2012 Ledge Garnacha Los Topos

 

 

 

2009 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo – $25.20

I’ve joined the Vincent Arroyo mailing list with the 2000 vintage.  I was hooked after our first visit to the winery.  I was fortunate enough to get in on a sale of their library wines so I have had the wines from as far back as the 1995 vintage.  If you ever make it to the Calistoga area, I highly recommend a stop at Vincent Arroyo.  They generally have a couple bottles open but the highlight is the barrel tasting.  You have the opportunity to pre-order the exact wines you sample from the barrel.

 

Winery history

Walking into the Vincent Arroyo Winery, one gets the sense that it has been here forever.  Is it just the comfortable atmosphere of a big barn full of oak wine barrels that lends to the sense of permanence?  Vincent Arroyo, himself, may feel like he has been here forever, as well.  He left behind a career as a mechanical engineer in the Silicon Valley during the early 70’s and headed to Calistoga, at the northern tip of the Napa Valley.  He felt much more at home close to the land, being able to see and taste the fruits of his labors.

 

The purchase of the 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch property in 1974 began the evolution of what is seen today, 85 acres cultivating 9 different wine grape varietals.  Vince has always been a farmer at heart, taking care of the land to produce the best that it can.  He began to transform the Greenwood Ranch by ripping out existing prune trees and unhealthy vines and planting new vineyards.  For many years, he did it all alone, the tractor work, cellar work and a one-man sales force.  Originally he made just a few hundred cases of his favorites, Petite Sirah and Cabernet, selling the majority of the grape tonnage to other Napa wineries.  Today, he produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals.

 

More information is available at: http://www.vincentarroyo.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color.  The slightly reserved nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, licorice, earthy underbrush, wild flowers, dried herbs, and cedar.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows cherries with a touch of spicy oak up front with some dried herbs and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch short but again has nice spicy cherries.  This doesn’t offer a lot in the complexity department but it is tasty.  A worthy entry in the Napa Valley Tempranillo category, which doesn’t have many competitors.  (88 pts)

2009 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo

2009 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo

 

 

 

2008 Villa del Monte Merlot Moon Vineyard – SRP $33

This was a sample provided by the winery for review purposes.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, cherries, cedar, baking spices, mint, freshly ground coffee beans, dark bittersweet chocolate and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart fruit, spice and coffee beans jump out on the front end with cedar and a touch of mint coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and dried flowers adding nice depth.  This is drinking very nicely today but will hold for the remainder of the decade, maybe longer.  A solid effort!  (92 pts)

2008 Villa del Monte Merlot Moon Vineyard

2008 Villa del Monte Merlot Moon Vineyard

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $29.75

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The sensuous nose has plums, cherries, baking spices, roasted herbs, scorched earth, white pepper, violets, crushed stones and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate sweet cherries, white pepper, scorched earth and crushed stones jump out quickly with roasted herbs and spices coming in later.  The finish has good length with a touch of eucalyptus providing extra depth.  A few years in the cellar have been very kind to this wine.  (91 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2008 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  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:

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 – December 2016 Vol 5

 

2012 Cairdean Vineyards Merlot

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut

1993 Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese Fuder #9

2004 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection

 

 

 

2012 Cairdean Vineyards Merlot – $16.00

This wine was purchased from Last Bottle Wines.  Information on the site including a $10 credit for joining is below.

 

This winery changed their name from Cairdean to Brasswood Napa Valley.  That was the reason Last Bottle Wines was able to sell this wine at such an incredible price.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The inviting nose has black cherries, white pepper, vanilla, dusty minerals, cedar, eucalyptus, baking spices, dark chocolate and a touch of blueberry.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate black cherries, baking spices, minerals and white pepper take control on the front end with eucalyptus, dark chocolate and vanilla coming in later.  The finish has good length with spicy cedar and a hint of blueberry providing good depth.  This tastes great now but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2012 Cairdean Vineyards Merlot

2012 Cairdean Vineyards Merlot

 

 

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut – $45.99

One of the most popular “special occasion” Champagnes in the marketplace.

 

This is a pale straw yellow color with several persistent streams of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The appealing and festive nose has apples, lemon zest, minerals, fresh baked yeasty bread, orange blossoms and white peach.  This has light body with big effervescence and crisp acidity.  On the palate apples, lemon zest, minerals and orange blossoms come in on the front end with yeasty bread and white peach coming in later.  The finish has very good length with crisp, mouthwatering lemony acidity leaving you quickly reaching for another sip.  This has 12.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (90 pts)

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut

 

 

1993 Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese Fuder #9 – $19.70

I have a special place in my heart for a well aged German Riesling.  In their youth these wines may seem disjointed with plenty of residual sugar and an overload of acidity.  Over time in the cellar everything comes together, the sugar and acidity evolve into a rich, silky wine that is so easy to drink they can get addictive.

 

The wine is a bright yellow color with a slight golden tint.  The fresh and vibrant nose has apples, flinty minerals, orange blossoms, honey, lychee nuts, white peach and just a hint of petrol.  This has medium to full body with great acidity and nice lingering sweetness.  On the palate apples, minerals, honey and lychee nuts jump out quickly on the front end with orange blossoms and white peach coming in later.  The finish is long and lingering with a hint of petrol.  This is rich and luxurious, a wonderful bottle of wine that does not taste 23 years old.  I have no idea how long this will hold in the cellar but I am not in any hurry to open my remaining bottles.  This has 8% alcohol and the bottle was sealed with a pristine natural cork.  (95 pts)

1993 Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese Fuder #9

1993 Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese Fuder #9

 

 

2004 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé – $59.29

This wine was purchased from Last Bottle Wines.  Information on the site including a $10 credit for joining is below.

 

The wine is a light yellow color with a slight green tint with very persistent pinpoint sized bubbles.  The festive nose has apples, lemon zest, wet stone minerals, roasted nuts and white flowers.  This has great acidity with nice effervescence.  Tart apples, minerals and lemon zest quickly greet the palate with roasted nuts and white flowers coming in later.  The mouthwatering finish has great length with the lemony acidity causing you to quickly reach for another sip.  No hurry with this one, it will last for several years.  Great job!  This has 12% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (94 pts)

2004 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé

2004 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé

 

 

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection – $91.04

One of the original “cult” Napa Cabernet wines.  There are a lot of people who have to grab every vintage as soon as it is released.  This wine has been produced in every vintage since 1975 except 1977, 1993 and 1996 when the wine was not produced.

 

This was the first vintage of this wine to not be 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this includes 14% Merlot.  The grapes for this wine do not come from a single vineyard like a lot of winery’s top end releases.  This is a blend of grapes from Rutherford 32%, Atlas Peak 15%, Oak Knoll 14%, St Helena 9% and Yountville 6%.  The remaining 24% come from “lesser known” areas in the Napa Valley.

 

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The open and inviting nose has cassis, baking spices, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dried herbs, dusty minerals, cherry, dark chocolate, vanilla and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has a full body with moderate to solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine is rich and plush on the palate with loads of crushed berries, baking spices, and dark chocolate.  There are dried herbs and cherries coming in on the back end filling out the palate and adding depth.  The finish is long and rich with a bit of vanilla creeping in as well a some eucalyptus and dark chocolate.  This is delicious right now but with all the richness, I don’t know if this will be one to hold long term. I’d advise enjoying over the next few years.  This has 15.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

 

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:

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 – December 2016 Vol 4

 

2010 Treasure Hunter Caitlin’s Cuvee Paso Robles

2011 Mark Herold Wines Flux

2008 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Franc Estate Grown Patzimaro Vineyard Napa Valley

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

2015 Macchia Petite Sirah Dubious

 

 

 

2010 Treasure Hunter Caitlin’s Cuvee Paso Robles – $18.59

There isn’t much information available on this wine.  I do know it is a Bordeaux blend but I don’t know the exact blend.  I do know the winemaker is Mark Adams from One Time Spaceman and his own winery, Ledge.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The exotic nose has cassis, blackberries, roasted herbs, baking spices, cherries, dry underbrush, wild flowers and a hint of cedar.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate cassis, blackberries, roasted herbs and baking spices grab your attention quickly with cherries and underbrush coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a floral note and a touch of cedar providing extra depth.  This isn’t one to stash away, I’d drink this one in the next year or two and enjoy the upfront fruit.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2010 Treasure Hunter Caitlin's Cuvee Paso Robles

2010 Treasure Hunter Caitlin’s Cuvee Paso Robles

 

 

2011 Mark Herold Wines Flux – $15.40

This wine was purchased from the “flash sell” site, Last Bottle.  More information and a credit for signing up is lower in this post.

 

This wine is a Grenache based blend with some Syrah and Mourvedre included in the blend.

 

The wine is garnet red color.  The enticing nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, raspberries, scorched earth, dusty minerals, roasted leafy herbs and wildflowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate black cherries, baking spices and minerals jump out first with raspberries and roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has nice length with scorched earth and a floral note entering the picture.  This is an easy drinking and tasty wine.  I wouldn’t stash this away for an extended time, open this one in the next couple of years.  This has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Mark Herold Wines Flux

2011 Mark Herold Wines Flux

 

 

2008 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Franc Estate Grown Patzimaro Vineyard Napa Valley – $38.75

This wine was purchased from the “flash sell” site, Last Bottle.  More information and a credit for signing up is lower in this post.

 

This wine is a blend of 84% Cabernet Franc and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine was aged in 100% new French oak Chateau-style 60 gallon barrels.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The enjoyable nose has cassis, cedar, dusty minerals, roasted herbs, baking spices, cherries, white pepper and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cassis, cedar, minerals and baking spices jump out quickly with roasted herbs and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with cedar and dark chocolate providing depth.  The only negative is the herbs turn a touch green on the finish.  All in all, a very good wine with a piece of juicy meat hot off the grill.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2008 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Franc Estate Grown Patzimaro Vineyard Napa Valley

2008 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Franc Estate Grown Patzimaro Vineyard Napa Valley

 

 

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – $38.50

This wine is a blend of 87% Zinfandel and 13% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Tempranillo, Muscadelle, Malvasia, Muscat, and over 30 other varieties).  The vineyard was planted in 1927.  The winery has undertaken the time consuming job of identifying the variety of every one of the 6000 vines in the vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has brambly berries, black peppercorns, licorice, warm baking spices, pencil shavings, stony minerals, black cherries, scorched earth and violets.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate waves of dark fruit, minerals, baking spices and pencil shavings immediately grab your attention with black pepper and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with licorice and violets providing great depth.  This is a rich, lush and powerful Zinfandel that has great balance.  There is no hurry with this wine, it will drink very nicely through at least the end of the decade, probably even longer.  This has 15.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha – $29.75

This is a blend of 60% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Carignan from Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The spellbinding nose has raspberries, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dried herbs, vanilla, wildflowers, baking spices, plums and dry earth.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate red and black fruit, minerals and baking spices immediately grab your attention with vanilla, dried herbs and plums coming in later.  The lingering finish adds a nice floral note and some subtle earthiness.  This is at a great stage in its’ evolution, it is big and powerful with no rough edges and displays great balance.  I really enjoyed this wine and the cellar time has been rewarded.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (94 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

 

 

2015 Macchia Petite Sirah Dubious – $24.99

This wine is a blend of grapes from both Lodi and Amador County, so it carries the “California” appellation on the label.

 

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The luxurious nose is full of blackberries, wood embers, black pepper, vanilla, blueberries, scorched earth, wildflowers and crushed stone minerals.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, wood embers, black pepper and vanilla quickly take control with blueberries, minerals and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a big floral note joining the fruit to provide nice richness.  This probably won’t be one to stash away for some extended cellar time, open this one in the next few years and enjoy the upfront fruit.  This has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2015 Macchia Petite Sirah Dubious

2015 Macchia Petite Sirah Dubious

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

 

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 2016 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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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