2003 Carlisle Two Acres – $29.50


My comments

I’ve been buying wine from Mike Officer’s Carlisle winery for several years.  His Red Rhone Blend, known as Two Acres has been a long time favorite.  I thought about saving this and having a party around the 8 year vertical I have in the cellar.  After opening this bottle, it will be down to a 7 year vertical.  This vintage is a blend of 75% Mourvèdre, 18% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, and 2% Alicante Bouschet.


Normally this is where I’d tell you to go to their website and sign up for the mailing list, but not this time.  Unfortunately the Carlisle mailing list is full, the best you could do is get on the waiting list.  The problem with that one is big, the wines are so good and fairly priced, very few people drop off the list.  My best advice is to find someone on the list and beg them to share a bottle or two of their allocation with you.


Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, saturated maroon color with a touch of bricking at the edge.  The very pleasing and inviting nose features blackberries, licorice, tree bark, leather, meat juices, dried herbs, violets, and a touch of Asian spices.  The wine is fairly full bodied with nice, ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there are nice, spicy berries with just a touch of earthiness and a hit of dark chocolate.  Even though the nose and palate are top notch, the finish is probably the best part of the wine.  The finish is very long and loaded with berries, chocolate, dried herbs, and earthiness with just a bit of a meaty element.  The length is incredible!  There are absolutely no rough edges or any overly dominant tastes or aromas in this wine.  This wine is in a perfect drinking window, if I had more, I’d recommend drinking over the next year or two.  (95 pts)




2006 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – $18.99


My comments

Buehler Vineyards was a winery we really liked before we paid them a visit.  After the visit we liked them even more.  We were met by John P. Buehler in his SUV.  He proceeded to drive us all around their vineyards including all the fantastic views of the area.  Next stop was the wine making facilities and barrel storage.  After the tour, John took us back to the tasting room and poured us several of their wines.  It was a marvelous couple of hours.  I highly recommend paying them a visit, but call first, their tours and tastings are by appointment only.  The one caveat is watch out for the fairly long one lane road.


Winery history

The winery is located six winding miles east of St. Helena and nestled in the mountains below HowellMountain, Buehler Vineyards encompasses three hundred acres of NapaValley hillside terrain.


In 1971, John Buehler, Sr., a 1934 West Point graduate who served twenty years in the Army Corps of Engineers and another twenty years as a Bechtel Corporation executive, was ready to retire.


Along with his wife, Helen, he bought a remote NapaValley hillside property that  had been the site of a “ghost winery” before prohibition.  As John Sr., built his retirement home, his son, John Jr., began to fulfill his life-long ambition to become a wine grower.


Dabbling as a home winemaker during the early years, John Jr. was satisfied selling grapes to other wineries. Only after years of constant praise for the quality and complexity of his hillside fruit did John decide to make the first vintage of Buehler Vineyards wine.


In 1978, John hand-crushed 700 cases of wine. Pleased by the results, he gradually increased production until 1982, when he hired a talented young winemaker, Heidi Peterson  Barrett. By the time she left in 1988, Heidi had become a rising star, and Buehler Vineyards was building a worldwide reputation.


John reassumed the winemaking role at Buehler until 1993, when he found another talented young winemaker, David Cronin.  Under David’s direction, Buehler has proven itself to critics and consumers alike as a winery that can be relied upon for excellent wines, vintage after vintage, at prices real wine-lovers can afford.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep maroon color.  This has cassis, licorice, dried herbs, tobacco, and a touch of cedar and violets on the elegant nose.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and has very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows nice fruit and spice with just a touch of toasty oak and some nice dried herbs adding depth.  The finish is fairly long with the berries and dried herbs slowly dissipating.   One of the better values out there for a Napa Cabernet and in a very nice drinking window.  (90 pts)




Here’s a picture of my wife and John P. Buehler from a visit to the winery a few years ago.




2001 Aminea Taurasi Baiardo – $12.99


My comments

I’ve been looking forward to trying this wine since I grabbed a few bottles in 2008 from Garagiste.  I held off when I realized some of the professionals had drinking windows from 2009 to beyond 2020.


This is from the Campania region in Italy and made with the Aglianico grape.  Taurasi is the first southern Italian wine to obtain DOCG status, and is widely considered the most noble red wine from Campania.


Winery history

I couldn’t get too much of the winery’s history since the English portion of their site appears to be broken and since I’m American, I don’t really speak any other language fluently.


A little of Jon Rimmerman’s colorful prose from his Garagiste offering:

From grapes grown at high elevation (almost 2000 ft above the sea), the cool-toned nature of the vineyard is the cerebral key to the wine’s success. From an area known for sun-baked and overripe wine, the Aminea combines the best of all worlds, almost like a mini version of Galardi with a similar influence of moderation from the climate (you know how well received the 2001 Galardi was). The result is a sophisticated but still wild red fruited wine with all the nuances of a top Tuarasi. All in all, this is just a terrific example with the ability to age for at least 10-15 years


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby color with some bricking.  This has a fantastic wine with blackberries, loads of minerals, dried herbs, tobacco, plums, and a very nice dusty element.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine seems very young, not 11 years old.  Nice plums and berries are in the forefront of the palate with dried herbs and minerals providing nice depth and “seasoning”.  The finish is fairly long with the dried herbs and dusty element in front and the fruit in the background.  A very nice wine that may show additional improvement with some more time in the cellar.  I will hold off at least a couple of years before opening another.  (92 pts)




2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Helen’s Helm – $18.04


My comments

My local wine store has to be one of the bigger sellers of the Treasure Hunter wines in the country.  It seems like they get just about everything they release.  Treasure Hunter isn’t really a winery, more of a wine business.  They buy excess grapes/juice/wine and sell it as is or blend different lots to create their wines.  These are generally very good to outstanding wines that sell for prices well below their level or quality.


In this case, this is a blend of 59% Syrah, 18% Grenache, 18% Mourvedre, and 5% Tempranillo from Paso Robles.  I don’t know exactly where the grapes came from, but you can taste the quality of the grapes in the wine.  This wine could easily pass for one of the $40 or more blends coming from the region, and this cost me under $20.


Winery history

Treasure Hunter is a label under the 3 Finger Wine Company family of wines.


Each Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from our panel of nine called The De-Vine Nine. Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs, they are the best of the best and they pour through hundreds of wines before they are deemed worthy.

Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink seminal wines of great importance.


My Tasting Note

This is a deep maroon color.  The wine has blackberries, grilled meat, vanilla, blueberries, baking spices, minerals, dark chocolate, licorice, cherries, and a bit of earthiness on the very open and exuberant nose.  This is full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  Big, ripe, juicy berries and spice hit the palate with meat, earthiness, and dark chocolate in the background.  The wine has a long, lingering finish featuring the berries, dark chocolate, and a touch of spicy oak.  Very impressive wine that drinks well above the price point.  (93 pts)




Mailing Lists




I’ve been on the Rudius mailing list since the beginning.  Rudius is Jeff and Brittany Ames.  Jeff’s name may not ring a bell, but here’s a bit of his bio:

In 2001 Jeff became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor.  Two years later, Jeff was named the head winemaker at Tor, a position he still commands.   Rudius is the culmination of Jeff’s goal of owning his own wine brand.


I have purchased a fair amount of Jeff’s wines and every one that I have opened has been outstanding.  I have had several of his cabernets and wines made by the Rhone varietals.  I highly recommend the Rudius mailing list.  More information about Jeff and Brittany, Rudius, and most importantly a link to join the mailing list is available on their site.  Visit http://www.rudiuswines.com/



McPrice Myers

The newest offer from McPrice Myers hit the inbox today.  I am part of their 6 bottle Wine Club.  This means I will automatically receive two bottles of each 2010 Altas Vinas, 2010 Larner Syrah and 2010 Les Galets Syrah.  Now I have a week and almost 2 weeks to decide if I want to add any more of these or a few library wines the still have in stock.



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.



Herman Story

I’m not on the Herman Story mailing list, but a friend who is on the list shares some of his allocation with me.  These are big, ripe, bold wines and every once in a while that’s what I get in the mood for.  These wines aren’t for Francophiles.  If my friend wasn’t on the list, I’d join.  If you like that style of wine as much as I do, I highly recommend checking them out, perhaps you can get something from the just released offerings.  Visit http://hermanstorywines.com/ for more information.




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.