2008 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table – $19.99


My comments

I’ve had this wine a couple of times and always found it to be pretty good, but not that special.  I thought it may just have needed a bit more cellar time for it to fully open and express itself to the fullest.  It has been close to a year since I last visited the wine, time to see if the additional cellar time will be rewarded.


This is a bend of 24% Zinfandel, 22% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Blaufrankish, and 4% Malbec.


Winery history

There’s really no Oregon wine quite like Owen Roe “the Abbot’s”.  A blend of five different red wine grapes, it’s a conversation starter.  Five distinctly different wines blended together make the scent and flavor like nothing else around.  It makes people curious and then wins them over.  For an intriguing, delicious wine made from unusual blends of varietals, look no further than Abbot’s Table.


“Abbot’s Table is a wine for all occasions and all people” says Owen Roe winemaker David O’Reilly.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The very interesting nose has cherries, minerals, earth, licorice, underbrush, blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, violets, and a faint herbal note.  This has medium body with soft tannins and very nice acidity.  The civilized and food friendly palate has a nice mix of fruit and savory elements with no rough edges or any one flavor dominating.  The finish is very flavorful but a touch short with the herbal note making an appearance.  A nice bottle of wine for a good week night dinner.  (88 pts)




2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico – $18.59


My comments

It’s another cold, wet day in the Milwaukee area.  We decided it was a perfect day to defrost some of my wife’s meat sauce and cook up some pasta.  I grabbed a bottle of this from the local store a few weeks ago.  I wanted to try it so I could grab several bottles to last us over Winter if it was acceptable.


Winery history

Many of the wineries in the Chianti Region double as tourist attractions.  Not Paolo De Marchi’s Isole e Olena; when you turn right at the main gate and drive by the burnished steel fermentation tanks, you will come to a muddy square where you may find someone working on a wagon with an arc welder.


“We don’t have time for tourism,” says Paolo.  “It would distract us from our wines.”  His dedication is our gain; Isole e Olena’s wines are superb.  In addition to Chianti Classico, there is Cepparello, a pure Sangiovese of towering complexity and finesse, and a breathtaking Vinsanto.  The winery also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, and L’Eremo, a Syrah.


Syrah is an ancient grape from the RhoneValley, which Paolo originally intended to use to add color and depth to his Chianti Classico (he feels that the Cabernet used in most Tuscan wineries can overwhelm Sangiovese).  However, he has since decided that the best way to improve Chianti is by careful selection of Sangiovese (Chianti’s principal grape), and is working to that end.  Meanwhile, L’Eremo placed fourth in a world-wide blind tasting of Syrah, after three wines from the RhoneValley.


Isole e Olena is also worth visiting if you like to talk wines.  Though Paolo has dropped out of the Consorzio del Marchio Storico (formerly Gallo Nero) for philosophical reasons, he firmly believes in the Chianti Classico region, and his opinions are the result of much thought.  For example, there is a movement to establish extra-high quality subzones within the Chianti Classico region.  “Since one of these zones includes Isole e Olena, it would be good for me,” he says with a grin.  “But so long as wineries can double their quality by hiring new enologists, I’m against it — it’s too soon.”


My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, ruby red color.  The very nice and pleasing nose has plums, black cherries, baking spices, underbrush, dried herbs, and fresh flowers.  This is barely medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with plenty of acidity holding everything together very nicely.  The finish has very nice length with red fruit, spice, and nice earthiness.  A very nice Chianti Classico, I need to pick up some more.  (91 pts)




2008 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines – $25.00


My comments

I’ve always been a big fan of both the Juvenile and Old Vines Zinfandels from Turley.  Even though most people feel these are good to go upon release, I thing the Juvenile needs a year in the cellar and the Old Vines needs two years to lose some of the “baby fat” and to show their best.  These are two of the better priced zins on the market at $20 for the Juvenile and $25 for the Old Vines.


The Old Vines Zinfandel is made for “left over” juice from the single vineyard wines and from vineyards too small to warrant a single vineyard offering.


Winery history

In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley.  Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.


Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.


As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.


In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.


By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars is annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The very nice nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, black cherry, minerals, smoked meat, and some dried herbs.  This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is a bit brighter on the palate with cherries and black raspberries, roasted herbs, and black pepper.  The wine has decent length on the finish.  This is a very nice zinfandel that is tasty but could use a bit more complexity.  Not as big and lush as some Turleys but still very enjoyable.  (90 pts)




2007 Core Tempranillo C3 Reserve – $17.06


My comments

Since it is International Tempranillo Day, I guess I better open a Tempranillo.  This is a new one for me.  This was part of a set of Core wines that was offered on WineWoot a few weeks ago.  To me, Tempranillo is a grape the California wineries have been struggling with.  I’ve had a few Tempranillo based blends from Villa Creek that have been nice, but most have been disappointing.   Some have been too ripe and jammy, others have seemed under ripe and very tart, too tart.  It’s time to see if Dave Corey is having better success with this Spanish powerhouse grape.


Winery history

Dave Corey’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Biology from San JoseStateUniversity and a master’s degree in Entomology and Plant Physiology from KansasStateUniversity, which was completed in 1995.


Prior to entering the wine industry in 1996, Dave worked in Salinas and the Central Valley in agricultural fields including cole crops, cotton, almonds, citrus, walnuts, kiwi, table grapes, apples and stone fruit.  His first position in the wine industry was as a Pest Control Advisor with Cambria Winery and Vineyards and later at Kendall-Jackson Vineyards of Santa Barbara County.


Dave left Kendall Jackson Vineyards in 1999 to begin Vital Vines, a viticultural company providing technical support for vineyard property owners, vineyard managers and winemaking personnel in the promotion of sustainable agriculture.  He has worked with clients that include Laetitia, Barnwood, Beckman, Melville, Stolpman, Gainey, Zaca Mesa, Sea Smoke, Le Bon Climat, Sine Qua Non, Rideau, Carhartt, Rusack, Westerly, Fiddlestix, Vogelzang, Andrew Murray, Evergreen, Arita Hills and Royal Oaks.


With a major commitment and a second mortgage, Dave gradually decreased his vineyard consulting work to focus on vineyard sourcing, winemaking duties and winery direct sales for CORE wine company which he started in 2001 with his wife, Becky.  Dave passionately continues working in the same capacity today in addition to several new wine projects with family members.  He can also be found pouring wine for customers at the CORE wine company tasting room in Old Orcutt, California.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a slightly hazy deep ruby color.  The wine has an exotic and exciting nose full of cherries, black raspberries, well worn leather, earthy underbrush, baking spices, licorice, and dried herbs.  This has a medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is loaded with tart cherries, raspberries, and baking spices up front with some earthiness and dried herbs in the background adding nice depth and complexity.   The finish is fairly long and full of juicy fruit and spice that slowly gives way to dried herbs and a touch of earthiness.  This is still very young and with the abundance of fruit, acidity, and tannins. some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  One of the better California Tempranillo wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.  (93 pts)





Mailing Lists

I received the Winter offer from Villa Creek for a couple of their wines.  I do not receive an automatic shipment on these wines.  I am still deciding if I want to place an order.




Wines bought or received this week

Carlisle and Myriad are due in this week.




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.