2005 Copain Syrah Brosseau Vineyard – $45.00


My comments

The last few 2005 Copain Syrahs I’ve had have been outstanding.  I bought a three pack of this wine in October 2007, this will be the first I have opened.  This is one of the nice parts of having a fairly large wine cellar, you have enough other choices so you have the opportunity to let a wine sleep until it gets into a prime drinking window.  I have a feeling this will benefit from a couple more years in the cellar but I won’t know for sure until I try one.


Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s RhôneValley in particular.  So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best.  For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s RhoneValley.  During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life.  At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him.  He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, dried herbs, charred meat, black pepper, minerals, dark chocolate, and fresh ground espresso.  This has medium to full body with big, solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is much more reminiscent of a French Northern Rhone than a ripe and fruity California Syrah, think higher end Hermitage.  Meaty, spicy fruit with dried herbs hit the palate first with the dark chocolate and ground espresso beans coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length but may be clipped a bit when the tannins and acidity clamp down.  If chewy tannins don’t bother you, this is drinking very nicely with some air, if you prefer fully integrated tannins, this may take a few more years in the cellar.  I say, give a bottle a couple hours of air and serve with a nice, rare to medium rare roast beef this Winter.  (94 pts)




2004 Clarendon Hills Grenache Old Vines Blewitt Springs – $25.00


My comments

I’ve sampled a few Clarendon Hills wines over the years, but this will be my first bottle opened at home.  I know the wines are generally big, bold, and ripe.  It was a long day and I want a wine that just tastes good without pretense.


Winery history

In 1990, Roman Bratasiuk embarked on a truly remarkable wine making journey.  His vision: to create single vineyard wines equal to anything in the world.  Quite simply.  Working with old, dry-grown vines and performing every step of the process by hand, Roman sought to redefine the Australian fine wine landscape by solely conveying the imprint a vineyard forges on the varietal expression.  Every year a pragmatic and calculated Clarendon Hills learns a little more about our vineyards and pushes a little further to propel each one of our 100% varietal wines to the pinacle of their capability.


Please join Roman and the Clarendon Hills family in celebrating our 19 single vineyard, 100% varietal wines.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The big and bold nose features kircsh,  raspberry, licorice, baking spices, black pepper, blackberries, and a touch of earthiness.  This has a full body with solid, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate you encounter a massive hit of ripe, juicy berries that are unrelenting only allowing a bit of spice and pepper slip through.  As the berries slowly fade, the spices, pepper, and a bit of earthiness fills in the void.  The wine has a long finish, again filled with the remaining rich berries, though the savory notes have an easier time showing through.  This wine will not appeal to anyone looking for finesse or subtle elegance.  Fortunately, it’s a Saturday night and I just wanted something big and bold, so in that regard, this is a success.  (92 pts)




2008 Stefania Haut Tubee – $20.00


My comments

This is one of my favorite red blends coming out of California.  Every year the blend changes drastically based on the grapes available.  This vintage consists of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 10% Zinfandel, 2% Grenache, and trace amounts of Mourvedre, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Gris.  As a point of reference, the fantastic 2007 vintage of the wine was 50% Syrah with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache, and Mourvedre making up the remaining 50%.


Winery history

Stefania was born in Minnesota.  Her father was an officer in the U.S. Army and she grew up in California, Nevada and Santiago, Chile.  She uses her background in accounting to run the day to day business of a small winery as well as handling wine making duties,vineyard construction management, purchasing, and of course vineyard work.  She loves to entertain friends at home or in the winery.  She painted the art work used on our labels and takes most of the photos used in our blogs and website.


Paul is a California native who has lived in San Jose for over 40 years.  He has worked at various high tech companies in Silicon Valley for 20 years specializing in Technical Support Management.  He handles wine making duties, planning, vineyard design, vineyard management, and acts as the official tour guide.  He loves to cook and host visitors to the winery or home.


Stefania and Paul were married in Jackson Square in the the French Quarter of New Orleans in 2003.  They return every year to celebrate their anniversary with friends in New Orleans.  They began  making wine in 2005 and were most interested in finding a business that would combine their love of food, wine and entertaining.  They are hands on in all parts of the grape growing and wine making process. One of their greatest joys has been the growing number of friends across the country who enjoy their wine.


Stefania Wine is supported by a small group of part time employees, family members and close friends who volunteer to help with labor intensive tasks.   We are lucky to have such great friends who are always willing to trade a day of hard work for a good meal and an ample supply of wine.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The very nice nose features blackberries, cedar, licorice, cherry, dried herbs, white pepper, plums, dark chocolate, violets, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Much brighter on the palate than I expected from the nose, with spicy cherries and plums leading the way with dried herbs and blackberries in the background.  The finish is full of juicy fruit and spice with a touch of earthiness.  A very tasty and unique wine for around $20.  (91 pts)




2004 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – $60.00


My comments

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the NapaValley.


Winery history

We are the owner/vintners of Jean Edwards Cellars – we share a passion for wine, a similar palate and a singular vision on the style of wines we produce.  We live by our motto that “you should only make wines you love to drink” and focus our production on artisan red wines that are full-bodied and classically styled.


Quality and heritage are important to us – our wines are reflective of their origins and are sourced some of the most prestigious vineyards (and vineyard blocks) throughout Napa Valley including Stagecoach Vineyard (on Pritchard Hill); vineyards on the valley floor in Rutherford, Oakville and Coombsville; and mountain vineyards on Howell and Spring Mountain.


Time really flies – we started producing commercial wines in 2004 but our dream of producing high quality NapaValley cabernet sauvignon wines started much earlier when we travelled to the valley in 1985.  During that trip, we developed a true appreciation for cabernet sauvignon wines and decided we would some day be a part of the business and produce a wine called Jean Edwards Cellars (our two middle names).  It was a goal worth waiting for and twenty plus years later we released our first wine in the Spring of 2006.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to garnet color.  The sensuous nose features cassis, cedar, tobacco, dried herbs, smoke, well worn leather, black cherry, and just a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with nice, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and velvety on the palate with dried herb laced berries and cherries up front and nice savory notes and spicy oak adding considerable depth and complexity.  The long finish adds a touch of dark chocolate and earthiness to the fruit and dried herbs.  The wine is in a perfect drinking window with absolutely no rough edges or over powering elements, but it should hold for at least a few more years if not longer.  I’ll hold my remaining bottle for another couple years.  (94 pts)




Mailing Lists


It’s getting to be about time for the few wineries who have a Winter release to hit the inbox.  There usually aren’t that many, and other than the Loring release a week or two ago, most aren’t that exciting to me.




Wines bought or received this week


Direct from the winery

(2) 2010 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard

(2) 2010 McPrice Myers Altas Vinas Alta Mesa Vineyard

(2) 2010 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

(4) 2010 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

(2) 2010 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III


From a local store

(3) 2004 Clarendon Hills Grenache Old Vines Blewitt Springs


Winery sample for online Twitter tasting

2011 Robert Mondavi Winery Private Selection Coastal Crush Red




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.