2009 Domaine Roche Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne – $16.14

There’s nothing, in my opinion, better than a nice Côtes du Rhône when you want something interesting without dropping a load of money.  I grabbed three of these from the local wine store several months ago but until tonight, have not opened one.  This is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah that aged in mostly cement, with a small portion in older barrels.


The wine is a deep garnet color.  There are cherries, licorice, roasted meat, dried herbs, minerals, black pepper, raspberry, and nice earthiness on the open and expressive nose.  This is medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Loads of fruit, spice, and minerals on the palate with some dried herbs and earthiness in the background.  The finish is fairly long and again showcases the spicy, mineral driven fruit.  Very nice today, but will last in the cellar for a few years, at a minimum.  (91 pts)




 2007 Clos La Coutale Cahors – $13.29

I’ve been a big Cahors fan for several years, but due to lack of a decent selection locally, I got my Malbec fix from Argentina the last few years.  I always loved the big and tannic 100% Malbecs from Cahors.  Unfortunately, I was in the minority.  Over the last several years, a lot of the wineries in the region have begun blending in varying amounts of Merlot to tame the tannins and allow for earlier drinking.  This one is 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot.  I took the plunge on this one purely due to the #76 ranking in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2009 and the killer price.  I guess I’ll find out tonight if the risk paid off.


The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  On the deep and dark nose there are blackberries, fresh ground espresso, Asian spices, dark chocolate, black cherry, and some nice earthiness.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and zippy acidity.  Not as big and bold on the palate as the nose led me to expect, it is much more restrained and laid back.  There are nice fruit and spice flavors on the palate with the acidity brightening it up considerably.  In the background some dark chocolate, walnut, and earthiness add nice depth.  Decent length on the finish, where I wish it had a bit more length and complexity.  All in all, very nice for the price, but not what the nose lead me to expect.  (88 pts)




2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek – $9.50

I perennial value priced favorite.  In this vintage, it seems to have a bit more oomph than most vintages.  Perhaps there was a surplus of very good grapes from some of the better vineyards or some grapes headed for single vineyard wines were declassified.  Either way, we’re the winners.  This is a jammy, fruity blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Syrah and Nebbiolo.


The wine is a deep ruby color.  Blackberries, black cherries, baking spices, licorice, underbrush, with some earth and violets on the very open and interesting nose.  This is medium body with soft, ripe tannins and nice acidity.  Loads of jammy, spicy fruit grab the palate, followed by some toasty oak and earthiness.  Decent length on the spicy fruit filled finish.  Not much complexity but very tasty.  Killer QPR for under $10.  (89 pts)




2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan – $19.94

Just got back home from a business trip and was in the mood for something a little different.  This is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Carignan from the ColumbiaValley in Washington.  I’ve had a couple bottles of this wine over the last year, but felt it would be better with a bit of cellar time.  I guess it’s time to check in to see how it’s going.  As an added bonus, the wine is closed with a glass stopper.  In my opinion the best stopper for wines that will be consumed in three to eight years.  I need to see some research before I can extend the top end of that range.  I think these stoppers are a bit too costly to use on wines meant to be consumed not long after release.


The wine is a bit lighter than a medium ruby color.  This has a very nice nose with raspberry, meat juices, cherries, minerals, underbrush, licorice, fresh wild flowers, and baking spices with just a hint of an herbal note lingering in the background.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine has a nice mix of fruit and spices with some earthiness and toasty oak adding depth and some complexity.  Decent length on the finish where the slight herbal/stemmy note reappears.  Not a big, overly ripe, and bold style of wine, but very tasty and refined.  (90 pts)




I was out of town on a business tip most of the week.  Instead of having my wife live without wine, I have a pretty nice selection of 375ml half bottles.  I currently have 20 different wines for her to choose from when I am away.  Here are the wines she enjoyed this week.  2004 Copain Garys’ Vineyard Syrah, 2006 Scherrer Old and Mature VinesScherrerVineyardAlexanderValley Zinfandel, and a 2006 ScherrerRussianRiverValley Pinot Noir.  Sorry, no notes on these wines, all I got from her was, “they were all good”.  Luckily I have at least one bottle of all of these, so maybe I’ll be able to try them the next time one is opened.




Mailing Lists




Helioterra is a new discovery for me.  I met the owner/winemaker, Anne Hubatch, when she came back to visit her family in Wisconsin.  We tasted through her whole line up and I was very impressed.  I recommend getting in on the ground floor of this exciting Oregon winery.  Their next release is coming shortly, for more information, visit http://bit.ly/Q5TmSl



Elyse Winery

This is Elyse’s 25th year.  You can help them celebrate the momentous occasion.  They are offering 25% off all purchases made through September 25th.  I have been a big fan of the winery since my first visit there in 2000.  They make some of my favorite, mid-priced, red wines.  I think their Cabernets, Zinfandels, Petite Sirahs, and Rhone blends are all very good to outstanding.  Visit http://www.elysewinery.com/25.html for more information.



Ledge Vineyards

This is one of my latest “finds”.  Mark Adams is the owner/winemaker for this family owned winery.  He releases one wine, and the grapes all come from the family owned vineyard.  The vineyard is about 7 acres currently and is located in Paso Robles not far from Denner and the James Berry Vineyards.  Mark is also been the assistant winemaker at Saxum where he has worked since 2004.  I highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this exciting list.  Visit http://www.ledgevineyards.com/index.php for more information or to join the list.



Remember to support your local wine store!




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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.