2009 Anthill Farms Syrah Sonoma Coast – $18.00


My comments

Though mostly noted as a Pinot Noir producer, I have been loving their cool climate Syrahs the last could of vintages.  Though ripe as often happens with California fruit, these normally don’t push the envelope when it comes to ripeness.  These have the nice California fruit flavors, but generally maintain the savory elements that are sometimes lost when the fruit is picked at higher brix levels.


Winery history

In 2011 Anthill Farms was named one of the top 100 wineries in the world by Wine & Spirits magazine.


Founded in 2004, this new producer with the quirky name and unique label has burst on the scene with startling good Pinot Noirs made from purchased grapes. This project is one of many that has ties with the Williams Selyem winery. Three young Pinot amigos, who had worked together as cellar hands at the distinguished winery on Westside Road launched their own winery with three Pinot Noir releases in 2004. Anthony Filiberti grew up in SonomaCounty and was lured to wine at an early age. He learned winemaking at Bergstrom Winery in Newberg, Oregon, Hafner Vineyards in the AlexanderValley, and Williams Selyem. David Low grew up in Kansas but got hooked on wine while attending University of California Berkeley. A short stint as a computer programmer was followed by a change of heart and he later worked at both Williams Selyem and Papapietro Perry. Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast and attended college in Virginia. Here he began working as an assistant winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards. He then moved to SonomaCounty where he joined Williams Selyem. Currently he is the assistant winemaker at Belvedere Winery in Healdsburg. The trio’s goal is to craft Pinot Noirs which “express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage, and above all else, taste good.” Their emphasis is on the vineyards and have named their winery Anthill Farms to emphasize the many tiny individual vineyards that form “the link between place and product.” Their grape sources are NorthCoast vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The deep and dark nose has smoked meat, blackberries, minerals, fresh cracked black pepper, baking spices, licorice, and dried flowers.  This has a medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Like the nose, this is deep and dark on the palate with the blackberries, minerals, pepper, and a meaty element.  The fruit brightens a bit on the lengthy finish, adding some raspberry and even a touch of cherry to go with the meaty notes.  Still on the young side, but already stunning.  (92 pts)




2007 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard – $42.00


My comments

This is a wine I tried due to Russell Bevan being the winemaker.  It absolutely blew me away.  I quickly ordered more and put the word out on Twitter.  I suggested to Jeb Dunnuck that he should track down a bottle to try, he then gave it 95+ on his The Rhone Report.  A wine store owner friend from Napa (yes, you Carrie) bought some for the store based on my recommendation, and had to restock since it became very popular.  I’m not sure the status of the winery’s mailing list, but I’d recommend checking to see if it is still open.


Winery history

Not much history, but I was able to get this from their website:

Westerhold Family Vineyards is located southeast of Santa Rosa in the Bennett Valley AVA of Sonoma County. We are a small winery dedicated to the production of estate grown Syrah, and in 2013 we will release our inaugural estate grown Pinot Noir.


If you would like to be added to our mailing list or would like more information, please send an email to info@westerholdwines.com.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The irresistible nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, charcoal, dried herbs, melted licorice, baking spices, and a hint of violets.  This is fairly full body with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  This is lush and ripe on the palate but not really pushing the ripeness to the edge.  The palate shows nice peppery berries, licorice, and some smoked meat with baking spices and dried herbs in the background.  The finish is very long and highlights the fruit initially but as the fruit slowly fades, the savory elements keep going.  Still extremely young but already outstanding.  (95 pts)




2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard – $45.00


My comments

I’ve said many times in the past, I really like the Loring Pinot Noirs.  I’d have a hard time choosing my favorite vineyard though between Garys’ and Clos Pepe.  I’ll just have to say, I stock up on both when they are offered.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The very nice nose has cherries, raspberries, baking spices, a bit of earthy underbrush, white pepper, wild flowers, and a hint of cola.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  This is rich and lush on the palate with the spicy berries leading the charge with nice earthiness and white pepper adding depth.  The finish is long and full of the spicy fruit with the earthy underbrush coming in on the close.  This is in a very nice place right now, but should hold for a few years.  (92 pts)




2003 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donís Barrica – $11.96


My comments

This was an old favorite that I purposely saved one bottle to see how it would age.  I felt it had the stuffing to last and potentially improve with some extended cellar time.  This bottle has sat untouched in the cellar for about 7 years.


Winery history

CAPÇANES, a village hidden away in the Priorato hills inland from Tarragona is the source of many fine wines today but has a long wine growing history.


Prior to Phylloxera at the turn of the 19th century  was very densely planted but after the devastation caused by this insect only about 1/5th of the original vineyards was replanted predominantly with Garnacha which was the popular grape variety. Some of those vineyards, approaching 100 years old, still exist and are in production although yields are low.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby color with a fair amount of brick at the edge.  The elegant and refined nose had soft black raspberry, leather, dried herbs, black pepper, cherry, and just a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft, integrated tannins, and very nice acidity.  As with the nose, the palate can be defined as elegant.  There are no sharp or harsh edges and the flavors are subtle.  By subtle, I do not mean they are weak, they are just toned down and not “in your face”.  Nice cherry and raspberry flavors intermix with savory notes of dried herbs and black pepper with just a touch of earthiness in the background.  The finish has nice length and lean more towards the savory side.  This wine is in a wonderful place right now and with the subtle flavors, I wouldn’t hold for too much longer.  (91 pts)




2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – $49.99


My comments

I’ve never really been a big fan of the Silver Oak style of wines, but when a local store was blowing these out for $50, I had to grab a bottle.  At that price, this was a no brainer to revisit the wine.


Winery history

Silver Oak is single-minded in the pursuit of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. For 40 years, we have produced delicious and distinctive Cabernets from our NapaValley and AlexanderValley wineries. Each Cabernet is food-friendly, extensively aged to be drinkable upon release, and perfect for enjoying with friends or family.



When Raymond T. Duncan first visited the NapaValley in the late 1960s, he was taken by the region’s rugged beauty. He was also wise enough to understand the potential of the fledgling wine industry. He began to buy land in both Napa and AlexanderValleys with the goal of planting vineyards. But with his home and business in Colorado and no viticulture expertise of his own, Ray approached Justin Meyer, whom he’d met through mutual friends, and asked him to plant and manage the vineyards. Then working at Christian Brothers, Justin agreed with one condition: in addition to managing the vineyards, he wanted to create a winery that would forever raise the standards of California wine. The year was 1972, and Silver Oak Cellars began.


Ray and Justin had a bold and unconventional vision for their winery. Rather than producing six or seven varietals, they would devote all their resources to producing a single wine – Cabernet Sauvignon. What’s more, their wine would be a new style of Cabernet Sauvignon, rich and complex, deliciously drinkable from the day it was released, yet worthy of cellaring for years to come. To achieve this end, they committed to an extensive aging program of approximately 25 months in American oak barrels, and 15–20 months of cellaring in bottle.


My Tasting Note

The wine was decanted for about an hour.  This is a medium ruby color, much lighter at the edge.  The fairly typical Silver Oak nose has cedar, cassis, dried herbs, plums, mocha, vanilla, fresh ground espresso, and just a touch of eucalyptus.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a nice balance between the fruit and savory elements, but as usual there is a lot of oak influence.  The finish is fairly long with the fruit grudgingly giving way to the spicy oak.  Not my preferred style, but this is a solid, well made bottle of wine.  If you like the style, you’ll love it, it you don’t like oak taking center stage at times, you’ll hate it.  I’m more in the middle of the road.  (90 pts)




Mailing Lists


It’s the joyous time of the year called “Shipping Season”.  I think the mailing season is done for the year, but there could still be a early mailer this Winter for Spring shipping.




Wines bought or received this week


(From Garagiste Wine)

(3) 1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

(6) 1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

(3) 1992 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese Fuder #8

(6) 2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

(6) 1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

(6) 2007 Domaine de Piaugier Gigondas

(6) 2007 BeresanWineryCabernetSauvignonWalla WallaValley


(From Vincent Arroyo winery)

(3) 2010 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

(4) 2010 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo

(2) 2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve




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.