2011 Villa Creek Pink – $12.80

This is one of my go-to summer rosé wines.  This usually has a nice mix of fresh fruit and crisp acidity.  There are rosés out there with crisper acidity and others with more fruit, but to me, this strikes a nice middle ground.  This generally pairs well with lighter warm weather meals but will also be welcomed as a sipper on a hot day.  This is a tank fermented, saignee, blend consisting of 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 10% Carignan from Paso Robles.

The artwork on the Rosé label was created by the owner’s daughter Camille.  As an added bonus, $2 from each bottle sold goes to Jack’s Helping Hand, a San Luis Obispo, CA charity that meets the needs of ailing and disabled children. Please visit http://www.jackshelpinghand.org/  for more information.

The wine is a very nice looking pinkish salmon color.  The very crisp and clean nose has strawberries, white peaches, cherries, Asian spices, citrus zest, minerals, and a touch of earthiness.  Light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness makes for a very nice palate on a warm evening.  The palate has nice crisp, sweet fruit and spices with some earthiness lurking in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the fruit and spice slowly giving way to a touch of mouthwatering, citrusy acidity.  A very nice Rosé with or without food.  (91 pts)


We paired the Villa Creek Rosé with a “house favorite” dinner, a Stuffed Zucchini with Tomatoes and Jack Cheese.  Well, that’s the name, but the “stuffing” also has potatoes, garlic, onion, and basil.  We use a recipe from “Cook’s Illustrated” magazine.  The crisp acidity, fruit and spice paired very nicely with the dish.  Here’s how the finished dish looked:



2007 Stolpman Syrah Estate Grown – $19.99

A little something to sip while working at the wine store today.  Need to make sure we don’t suffer from dehydration.  I had a bottle of this last November and felt it needed at least six months in the cellar for the finish to come together and the oak too begin to smooth out.  I want to see how this is coming along.

Deep, dark, inky maroon color. Big and open nose with blackberries, blueberry, smoked meat, fresh ground black pepper, dried herbs, violets, licorice, and earthy elements.  Full body with solid, chewy, ripe tannins and good acidity.  Big, bold and ripe fruit and spice on the palate with some oak popping out in the background.  Fairly long finish filled with the spicy fruit and a touch of excess oak.  This is still young and should improve as the oak more fully integrates.  (91 pts)



2008 Orin Swift The Prisoner – $29.58

This is usually a family choice when we’re having something a touch spicy that needs a red wine.  Burritos with enchilada sauce and some spicy refried beans meet these requirements.  This is usually a love it or hate it wine.  People who love it, generally go wild for it, those who don’t like it generally look at it as a gloppy mess.  To me, this wine varies heavily by vintage.  In hotter years it tends to be sweet and syrupy, in more moderate years it maintains enough acidity to hold the big fruit, body, and alcohol (15.2%)  in check.

This is big, ripe, full bodied red from Napa and is a blend of 46% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance consisting of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Grenache.

Note after bottle was opened about an hour but not decanted.  Deep, dark purple color.  Blackberries, licorice, pepper, smoke, dried herbs, cherry and a touch of alcohol on the very open nose.  Full body with solid, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Big, bold and ripe with just enough acidity to keep it from being syrupy.  Extreme ripeness but with no raisiny elements.  Enough spice and pepper to add nice complexity.  Long, rich and flavorful finish.  Absolutely nothing subtle about this wine.  Outstanding for what it was meant to be.  (91 pts)


Here was our Saturday dinner.  We had beef burritos with enchilada sauce, cheddar jack cheese, fresh lettuce, onions, and my wife’s fresh salsa.  A side of spicy refried beans with some cheese finished off the meal.  The Prisoner ended up being a pretty good pairing with the meal.



2010 Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc – $7.12

We like this on a warm afternoon while we are relaxing on the deck before starting to make dinner.  Always light, crisp, and refreshing with just a touch of sweetness.  A perfect wine in that regards for about $7.

Very light, yellow to straw color. Fresh cut grass, lemon zest, gooseberry, grapefruit, minerals and some apples on the fresh smelling nose. Very light body with crisp, mouthwatering acidity and just a touch of sweetness. Bright and zippy on the palate with the citrus and herbal notes with some minerality. The herbal notes continue into the mouthwatering finish with the citrus turning more towards lime. Finish could be a touch longer, but this is very nice for the price.  (89 pts)



2007 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $28.00

Our second Villa Creek wine of the weekend, we like this winery if you didn’t catch that drift.    I’ve had several of these over the last couple of years and everyone has been outstanding.  Generally offers nice earthy red fruit, spicy oak, and a nice pine/evergreen note.

While doing a bit of digging, I noticed the winery used a tasting note of mine from CellarTracker on their site.  http://bit.ly/NYaTJw

From a bottle that had been opened an hour but not decanted.  The wine is a nice deep ruby color.  Cherries, raspberries, cola, licorice, pine resin, baking spices, fresh wild flowers, minerals, white pepper, and a touch of earthiness are on the deep and alluring nose.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice spicy fruit grabs your palate with savory notes and the pine in the background adding depth.  Fairly long finish with the fruit slowly giving way to a bit of spicy oak.  This still tastes young and has several wonderful years ahead.  (92 pts)


We paired the Villa Creek Grenache with a grilled, thick cut, boneless pork loin chop served over a bed of thin, crunchy onion rings and sauteed fresh green beans with some shallot.  It was a delicious pairing.



News, Notes, and Questions


Wine Buying

Where do you buy your wine?  Supermarket, local wine store, direct from the winery, flash sale sites, large, internet based wine stores, etc.

Personally, I buy about 35% of my wine direct from wineries, 55% from my local wine store, and the remaining 10% mainly older vintages or hard to find wines from WineBid and Garagiste.



Mailing Lists


Loring Wine

One of my “must buy’ mailing lists, Loring Wine, sent out their “save the date” e-mail.  Their next offer goes live on August 15th and will include Pinot Noirs from Keefer Ranch, Durell, Rosella’s, and Garys’ as well as Chardonnays from Durell and Rosella’s.  Hopefully they will once again be releasing some of the Pinots in 375ml bottles.  These are big favorites of my wife when I’m traveling.  We generally have couple bottles of Loring Pinot Noirs every month.  Highly recommended!


Villa Creek

The next release from the Paso Robles based Villa Creek offer goes live on August 21st.  This is one of the few wineries that I take an automatic six bottle shipment.  I usually add at least enough to take it up to a case, but I have been known to get two cases in a shipment.  I absolutely love Villa Creek’s wines and highly recommend them and share bottles with friends.  In my opinion, Villa Creek wines need a few hours of air or preferable a few years in the cellar to come together and to show well.  I’m still slowly drinking my remaining bottles from the 2005 vintage and loving them.


Bedrock Wine

Finally placed my order this morning.  I love the generous and guaranteed allocations, not to mention the fantastic wines.  I ended up leaving more on the table than I was originally planning to leave.  That should help people who wishlisted some wine or enable new people to join the list and enjoy the wonderful offerings from Morgan.




Save the Date: August 30, 2012 will be the third annual global celebration of Cabernet.  You have a couple weeks to pick out a bottle to open.  Let us know which wine you choose.  #Cabernet Day


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


Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.


All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.