2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley – $16.99


My comments

This was one of the Garagiste Mystery wines.  In this case, this was the anonymous Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon that was offered for $16.99 in March of this year.  I wasn’t familiar with the winery which left me even more intrigued.  This was delivered last month, so it’s time to open one.


Winery history

Located in the world-renowned Walla WallaValley appellation, Beresan has 27 acres of estate vineyards that we carefully manage to produce premium fruit, and in turn, great wine.  The geologic distinctiveness of our vineyards, combined with fine winemaking, is reflected in the unique character of our exclusive, limited production wines.


Owned and operated by the Waliser family, our mission at Beresan Winery is not only to make outstanding wine and satisfied wine consumers, but to live a dream of having a fun, successful and enduring experience with friends and family at our winery.


We invite you to enjoy our wines and come see us at our winery in the beautiful Walla WallaValley.


For more information, visit http://beresanwines.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark garnet color.  The very pleasant nose has cassis, cedar, minerals, dried herbs, Asian spices, violets, some earthiness, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The fruit is a bit brighter on the palate than the nose lead me to expect, leaning more towards the cherry and raspberry spectrum.  Besides the nice fruit on the palate, the spices, minerals, and dried herbs provide considerable depth.  The finish has decent length and highlights the spicy oak, dried herbs, and dark chocolate with the fruit in the background.  The bright acidity and nice tannins tell me this can comfortably stay in the cellar for several years, but it’s very tasty today.  A bit more length and complexity would be nice, but for under $20, this is a keeper.  (90 pts)




2007 Steltzner Vineyards Claret – $13.29


My comments

A long time favorite in the week night Bordeaux style blend category.  The blend changes every year, in this vintage it is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 12% Cabernet Franc.


Winery history

Richard Steltzner established his first Stags Leap District Vineyards in 1965 while concurrently engaging in vineyards management.  Steltzner Vineyards’ first commercial release was in 1977, and the Steltzner Family established their own modest facility in 1983, with a 3,000 case capacity here in the Stags Leap District.


Today at Steltzner Vineyards you will find Dick’s children working with him to carry on his legacy here in the NapaValley.  Allison Steltzner began working with her father full-time in 2002 after completing her Bachelor of Sciences Degree at ChicoState, majoring in business administration, with a minor in marketing.  Allison is uniquely suited for her post as General Manager and National Sales Director for Steltzner Vineyards.  Today, she is joined by Justin, as the second generation Steltzner family to work full time in the winery.  Justin carries on his father’s farming traditions and works side by side with Dick to manage the ranch and produce optimal fruit from our estate.  Their sister Laura makes her home in Casablanca, Morocco with her husband working in the cosmetics business.


For more information, please visit http://www.steltzner.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color.  The nice nose features blackberries, cedar, dried herbs, cherries, vanilla, and some smoke.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  The wine is a touch lean on the palate with the spicy oak and dried herbs providing most of the flavor with the berries in the background.  The finish has nice length with the fruit coming back into the picture.  The wine has a bit too much oak for the fruit to conceal.  This probably needs to be consumed over the next year before the fruit fades leaving just the oak elements.  (86 pts)




2009 Melville Syrah Estate Verna’s – $19.37


My comments

I’m a big fan of Melville’s Pinot Noirs, but when I saw this at the local store, I had to grab a couple bottles.  I had a bottle not long after purchase and it left me a bit underwhelmed.  I decided to give it a year in the cellar to see how it would come around.  It’s now been about a year and a half, so it’s time to check in.


Winery history

In 1989, Melville Vineyards, a family owned and operated enterprise was founded in SonomaCounty’s KnightsValley, where Ron Melville grew high quality, much sought after Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  In 1996, Ron’s desire to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought Melville Vineyards to Lompoc’s Sta.RitaHills, located in the western Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California.  The Sta.RitaHills appellation is where Ron Melville and his sons Brent and Chad Melville decided to develop their estate vineyards and winery.  Since then, they have also developed an interest in Rhone varietals, particularly Northern Rhone Syrah and Viognier.  The Melville estate achieves quality through the integrity of its farming practice and its respect to the microclimate.


Additional information available at http://www.melvillevineyards.com/index2.html


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The very nice nose features black raspberries, cherries, Asian spices, smoke, white pepper, spicy oak, and a touch of earthiness.  This has a medium body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  The palate has nice spicy red and black fruit with a bit of oak and some earthiness.  The finish has decent length but does show a touch of excess oak and a bit of stems.  With some air the excess oak and stems integrate and the wine adds a bit of weight.  The fruit also becomes a bit more prominent especially on the backend and finish.  I’d advise to decant for an hour or two or even better let it sleep for another year or two.  (91 pts)




2007 Domaine de Piaugier Gigondas – $16.99


My comments

I ordered this in late 2008 from Garagiste.  By the time it arrived in their Washington warehouse all my other wines had shipped.  I cut down on my Garagiste purchases, so I received free storage for a couple of years.  I figured the wine was approaching a nice drinking window, so I made sure to order enough wine that these bottles would fill a case and be shipped.  They’ve been in the cellar for a month, so it’s time to try one out.


Winery history

Alphonse Vautour, Jean-Marc Autran’s great-grandfather, made his wine in a cellar at the top of a little hill called Les Briguières, to the south of Sablet where he owned six hectares of vines.  The winery was named Ténébi, after the previous owner of the house.


Alphonse had to go down the hill, his mules loaded with barrels, to wait for the wine merchant to come by.  If the merchant didn’t come, or didn’t buy his wine, he had to climb back up with his reluctant mules.  So, in 1947 he decided to build a new winery on the road below, where the Piaugier cellars are to this day.


Jean-Marc Autran, Alphonse’s great-grandson, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985.  He acquired more vineyards and, with the assistance of his wife Sophie, started bottling and developed sales.  The winery soon became too small and they extended it in 1995 to enable them to age and store the wines in the best possible conditions.


In homage to this family history, Jean-Marc has dedicated a wine to his ancestor, the Réserve Alphonse Vautour, which is made from grapes grown in his original fields.


Today, Piaugier wines are sold as far away as the United States, Japan and Brazil.


Much more information is available at http://www.domainedepiaugier.com/en_index.htm


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, raspberries, baking spices, white pepper, fresh wild flowers, and lesser amounts of smoke, earthy elements, and dried herbs.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit commands center stage with the dried herbs and a touch of earthiness coming in on the edges.  The finish has decent length and leans heavily on the savory elements with the fruit just adding a touch of sweetness in the background.  A very nice Gigondas that is just entering a nice drinking window.  Enjoy over the next couple of years.  (90 pts)






Mailing Lists

Not much happening in the mailer arena right now but I’m sure there will be a few Winter releases hitting the inbox soon.




Wines bought or received this week


I received a couple of samples from Argentina that I am looking forward to trying.

2008 Serrera Bonarda

2009 Finca Algarve Torrontés Cinco Sentidos





Not wine related, but November 21 was my 25th Wedding Anniversary.  I just wanted to say these last 25 years have been fantastic and hope for 25 more.


I Love You, Eva!




My beautiful bride.  She is still just as amazing and beautiful.





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.