2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section – $19.00


My comments

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 24th bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.


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.


Winery history

Stuart Miller is the winemaker and caretaker of the vineyard: this is truly a hands-on winery where every step of production from vineyard to bottling is overseen by Stuart himself.  His family are involved in all stages of the process, picking grapes, pruning vines, bottling, packaging and more.


Oliverhill was established in the early 1970s and the Miller family moved in during the early 1990s.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, 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.  This is a big, bold, and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level.  (93 pts)




2011 Villa Creek Pink – $12.80


My comments

Having a little Rosé tasting with a friend today, so my contributions are this wine and the Bedrock listed below.  These two along with the One Time Spaceman MCA Rosé were the work horse wines this Summer in my house.


Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.


The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage. The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water. In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache. They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.


My Tasting Note

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, and a touch of earthiness.  Light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness makes for a very nice, easy drinking wine 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 Rose with or without food.  (91 pts)




2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $18.00


My comments

Having a little Rosé tasting with a friend today, so my contributions are this wine and the Villa Creek listed above.  These two along with the One Time Spaceman MCA Rosé were the work horse wines this Summer in my house.



Winery history

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop. Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.


The winery’s objectives are:

.  To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.

.  To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the NorthCoast.

.  To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.

.  To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.

.  To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.

.  To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.

.  To dream big but keep production low!


My Tasting Note

A nice, light, pinkish salmon color. Minerals, strawberry, white pepper, melons, orange zest, and a bit of dusty earthiness on the very appealing nose.  Light body with crisp acidity.  A very dry rose with nice minerality and fruit with the white pepper and citrus making an appearance on the back end.  Nice, lingering, mouthwatering finish.  The real deal.  Even those who like a crisp French Rose will find pleasure in this wine.  (92 pts)




2005 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino – $26.91


My comments

I’ve been wanting to check in on this wine again.  We had a bottle about a year and a half ago and though it was enjoyable, I felt it needed some additional cellar time.


Winery history

The “Caparzo” name seems to originate from Ca’ Pazzo, as seen in several ancient maps.

The vineyards, cellars and all wine-making equipment were developed towards the end of the 1960s, with progressive adaptation and constant up-dating of both the land and the cellars.

Innovative cultivation systems and, in particular, several clones are still experimented today on the estates – extending over an area of 200 hectares (470 acres), comprising 90 hectares of vineyards, 4 of olive groves, 87 of woodlands and 19 of sowable land.


Caparzo aims to ensure top quality products through meticulous, craftsmanlike techniques while equally taking a modern approach to management, efficiency and business relationships.

More than forty years have passed from the first rows of vines and from the first wine-shop experiences.

Caparzo has since grown while keeping faith with the traditions of Brunello and the various local terroirs, at the same time as enhancing its wines with creative spirit and dedication to innovation as a means of ensuring the highest possible quality.

This is why Caparzo wines are served by the most famous restaurants in the world, as well as at international meetings and on official State occasions.


My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about two hours.  The wine is a ruby to garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  On the very nice nose there is cherry, raspberry, well worn leather, cedar, sautéed mushrooms, baking spices, dried herbs, wild flowers, and earthy underbrush.  This is medium body with moderate, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine has a nice initial attack on the palate but the oak eventually takes over.  The finish had nice length but the oak once again dominates.  A bit of excess oak can be over looked, but this is a couple steps beyond just excess.  Hopefully I’m just catching it at a bad time and the other elements will show up, but for now, let this one sleep unless an abundance of oak is not a problem for you.  Checking an earlier tasting note, I didn’t list excess oak as being a problem.  I’m leaning towards catching the wine at a bad point in its evolution.  If that is the case, my score will be dreadfully low.  (86 pts)




We had the Brunello with some Tortellini in Marinara Sauce with Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, and fresh Basil.  A fantastic pairing!




2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.97


My comments

The 2007 vintage of this wine was a show stopper for under $10.  When the local received a small cache of the 2008 vintage and made it available for $10 via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a case.  My first bottle wasn’t up to the level of the 2007, but it showed considerable promise.  I don’t know the story behind this vintage since the winery’s website says the 2007 was the last one produced.


Winery history

At Wild Hog Vineyard it is difficult to separate the wine from the winemaker. Daniel Schoenfeld began making wine as a home winemaker in 1977. He loved good food and wine and wanted to share his enjoyment with friends. He and Marion, his wife and co-owner, are both gardeners with a passionate belief in sustainable living. Marion tends a three acre organic garden which produces the vegetables and fruits that the family consumes. Daniel farms the five acre vineyard above the house. Together with their two children, Iris and Ariel, they harvest the bounty from the land. They take from the land only what they give in return.


As a winemaker, Daniel has a very simple view-allow the fruit to speak for itself. All Wild Hog wines are unfiltered allowing the full flavor to be extracted. The grapes are picked ripe and crushed (or de-stemmed) into open top fermentors-1 to 4 ton size. Yeast is added and the must will ferment 10 to 21 days, until dry. The must is then pressed and the juice held in American oak barrels. After 12 months in the barrel for Pinot Noir and 18 months for Zinfandel, the wine is bottled at the winery, using our own equipment. Since we do no filtering, the wine is racked two or three times during its time in the barrel. The winery produces between 3000 to 4000 cases per year, depending on harvest and availability of good fruit.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, black pepper, minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, violets, dried herbs, and some earthy underbrush.  This is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows peppery, crushed berries, some earthiness and minerality, and the eucalyptus note on the back end.  The finish has very nice fruit and savory elements, and has decent length.  I really like the mint/eucalyptus note that carries through from the nose to the finish.  The label says 15% alcohol, but it seems much lower.  This is not a big, ripe, fruit forward wine like the 2007.  (90 pts)




2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard – $30.00


My comments

The Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Cabernets have been a personal favorite for several years.  The Mosisoli Cabernet, like a lot of the great Napa Valley Cabs taste very nice upon release, but some time in the cellar helps bring out the nuances and terrior, transforming them into something special.


Winery history

NapaValley’s Elyse Winery has two causes for celebration this harvest. In addition to a stellar looking 2012 vintage in NapaValley, it is the 25th harvest for the winery.


It was back in 1987 that Ray and Nancy Coursen crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine. While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food. Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.


Winemaking is cooking without a flame. Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in NapaValley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table. Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.


“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event. It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner


“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice, deep ruby color, showing absolutely no sign of age.  The outstanding nose has cassis, smoke, well worn leather, fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate, dried herbs, tobacco, and a faint hint of cedar.  This is medium bodied with nice, ripe, integrated tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is very civilized and refined on the palate with a nice fruit to savory balance.  The finish is long and full of cassis, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  Very food friendly, but I’m very much enjoying a post dinner glass.  This can easily rest in the cellar for a few more years, but it is stunning today.  (94 pts)




Mailing Lists


Loring Wine Company

This could get costly.  Loring is one of our favorite wineries.  They are mainly into making big and ripe Pinot Noirs, but have branched out a bit.  Now they are going about three steps beyond just branching out.  In their next release on October 24th, they will be releasing five wines, none of which is Pinot Noir based.  This release will include the following:


2011 Grenache

Amazingly pure high notes of blackberry, plum, and red and black cherry. Plush and rich, but the acidity keeps it bright and focused. Concentrated but not heavy. Spice and minerality round out the finish.


2011 Mourvedre

A symphony of blackberry, coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Great intensity and precision, with depth and richness. Once again, great acidity holds everything together in one seamless chorus of deliciousness.


2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

A dizzying array of blackberry, red and black cherry aromas and flavors, along with deep crème de cassis. Nice elements of baking spice and toasty oak. Muscular, dense, and concentrated on the palate, but still bright with a surprisingly elegant finish due to great acidity.


2010 Convergence (75% Grenache / 25% Mourvedre)

Super intense with layers of ripe raspberry, blackberry, baking spice, and vanilla that jump out of the glass. Deep and concentrated on the palate, with additional notes of smoked meat and minerality in the finish. An immense wine that’s still light on its feet.


2010 Divergence

The 2010 is a little less crazy than our past two vintages, but it’s still one of the biggest, baddest wines you’ll ever come across. Massive in every way, but still amazingly balanced. Blackberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla cascade over your palate. Insanely concentrated and mouth-coating, but with stunning acidity that keeps the finish bright and focused.


Visit http://loringwinecompany.com/ for more information or even better, to sign up for the mailing list.





Wines bought or received this week

Direct from the winery:

(6) 2007 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown DiamondMountain

(4) Villa Creek Mas de Maha

(3) Vila Creek Avenger

(2) Villa Creek High Road James Berry Vineyard


From local wine store:

(6) 2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc SantaRitaHills – Sta.RitaHills

(3) 2007 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino

(2) 2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvée 32”

(1) 2009 Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Riviera




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.