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 2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT – $24.69


My comments

This wine was #36 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list for 2011.


This wine has been a favorite Italian wine in my house for several years.  This is generally a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.


Winery history

In the medieval times Podere Terrabianca found itself in the ambiguous situation of being situated in the part of the countryside under the rule of Florence and, at the same time, also in the diocese of the Bishop of Siena.  The very first documents mentioning its presence, dated 1085, describe it as being a country estate as, in fact, its name clearly implies.


Today the winery Terrabianca is located at the heart of the Chianti Classico region, in the middle of Tuscany, 12 km from Siena and 50 km from Florence.


The soil which consists of layers of chalk, sand and clay from the palaeozoic and mesozoic ages has the ideal composition to grow grapes of highest quality.  On the 124 ha, 307 acres, there are vineyards surrounded by olive groves and woods.


They are in the best position, south and southeast exposure, at 250 to 500 mt. above sea level.  The grape variety are Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Canaiolo, Chardonnay, Malvasia and Trebbiano Toscano are grown to produce a total of 350.000 bottles a year.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color.  The deep and exotic nose has blackberries, cherries, cocoa powder, licorice, underbrush, dried herbs, minerals, and some well worn leather.  This has a medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has loads of spicy, earthy fruit with dried herbs, and cocoa powder adding considerable depth.  The finish has nice length, but a bit of oak pops out and gets a touch intrusive.  This tastes very nice now but should be better in another year.  Hopefully by then the excess oak on the finish will smoothen out or integrate.  This is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  (92 pts)

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT




2008 Core Grenache Santa Barbara County – $11.76


My comments

This wine was part of an absolute steal offered on WineWoot a couple months ago.  I immediately jumped on the offer for two sets of the 4 bottle packs.


I am a big fan of wines made from the Grenache grape, and an equally big fan of the wines being made by Dave Corey.  This appears to be one of the “entry” level wines offered by Core, but I have high expectations.


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 garnet red color.  The very intriguing nose has cherries, Asian spices, plums, dried leafy herbs, meat juices, leather, white pepper, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  This has solid fruit and spice on the plush and velvety palate.  The palate leans heavily on the tart cherries and Asian spices, but the pepper, plums, and pepper spread out to totally envelope the palate in flavor.  The long, lingering finish echoes the palate with the spicy, cherries and a touch of earthiness seeming to never totally fade.  This is a fantastic value that should find a place in your cellar.  This can be enjoyed over the next 4 to 5 years.    (91 pts)

2008 Core Grenache Santa Barbara County




2006 Rosenblum Cellars Petite Sirah Heritage Clones – $12.99


My comments

I may be in the minority, but in my opinion, this winery has fallen off the cliff since Kent Rosenblum sold his namesake winery and Jeff Cohn left as the winemaker.  This bottle is from the days when Rosenblum on the label meant you were getting some powerhouse juice in the bottle.  It looks like this wine has been dropped from the Rosenblum portfolio since the 2008 vintage is the last one I can see in existence.  One can hope, at some point the owners will attempt to bring the label back into prominence, but every passing vintage is diluting its value to long time fans.


Winery history

In 1978, Rosenblum Cellars opened its now-legendary home in Alameda, California; a place known more for its docks and shipyards than for winemaking. But then again, Kent Rosenblum, “The King of Zin,” always did things a little differently from the status quo.


When most of the established wineries in California were focused on their estate-grown wines, Kent chose to explore some of the unrecognized and underappreciated grape-growing areas of Northern California. He met families who had been growing grapes for generations; dedicated growers passionate about their vineyards, who worked tirelessly to grow the best grapes possible from old vines their families had planted years before.


Their efforts showcased the difference between mountainside and valley floor grapes, the importance of soil types and their influence on the taste of a wine. Kent was fascinated by the character and complexity of the Zin grapes produced by these old vines, and was determined to capture this spirit in a bottle.


Kent took grapes back to Alameda and began to make wines, acknowledging the contributions of his friends by placing the vineyard’s name on the bottle. Working out of a factory building near the docks, Kent and his crew looked more like longshoremen than winemakers. But the wine they made spoke for itself.


Rosenblum Cellars has become one the most-awarded and highly rated California Zinfandel portfolios. Our head winemaker, John Kane, and his team still travel all over California to find exceptional grapes – working to make bold, delicious wines. And if you’re ever in the neighborhood, we invite you to come visit us next to the docks in Alameda.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, leather, dark chocolate, plums, with lesser notes of cedar, earthy underbrush, and violets.  This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  Mouth filling berries and spice coat the palate with pepper, spicy oak, and some earthiness adding nice depth.  The finish has decent length with the fruit and spice slowly giving way to a touch of excess oak.  All in all, a very nice, middle aged Petite Sirah that may be starting on a down hill curve.  Probably best over the next two, maybe three years.  (90 pts)

2006 Rosenblum Cellars Petite Sirah Heritage Clones




2007 Elyse Zinfandel A.K.A. – $20.00


My comments

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.


Since that day, Elyse has always been the first winery we visit when we make it to Napa.  I always have several bottles of Elyse wine in my cellar.  A quick check of my cellar on Cellar Tracker shows I currently have 22 bottles of Elyse wines and 12 from their other label, Jacob Franklin in stock.


Winery history

In 1983, Nancy and Ray arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure.  After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to NapaValley and became innkeepers for a bed &breakfast. Ray then spent formative time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge working in the vineyards.  Ray’s nine year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker honed his skills in the art of blending and was the inspiration for Ray’s winemaking style today.


In 1987, Ray & Nancy started Elyse Winery with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still a cornerstone vineyard source for the winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, in 1997 they purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane, the home of Elyse Winery and tasting room.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark maroon color.  The captivating nose features brambly berries, black pepper, smoke, meat juices, baking spices, and a touch of vanilla and leather.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate, this has lost some of the “baby fat” and is now structured like a nice claret.  The peppery berries and spice dominate the palate but there are good earthy and savory notes coming in on the back end that add considerable depth.  The finish has good length and the fruit turns to more of a cherry element with the spice and earthy notes in the background.  This is in a very nice, food friendly place.  (91 pts)

2007 Elyse Zinfandel AKA



Mailing Lists



The next Offer from Saxum, their 2013 Winter Release, should hit the inbox on January 14th.  This release will include the following wines:

2010 Broken Stones

2010 Booker Vineyard

2010 Heart Stone Vineyard

2010 Bone Rock



The next release for Mike Smith’s Quivet label will hit on January 8th.  This release will include:

2011 Quivet Cellars Syrah, Kenefick Ranch Vineyard   $38

2011 Quivet Cellars Syrah, Las Madres Vineyard Hulda Block  $40

2012 Quivet Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Tench Vineyard   $25




Wines bought or received this week

I’ll have some wine to report here in my next post on Sunday.  Hopefully my Bedrock wine will arrive if FedEx can figure out where it is.  According to the tracking info, it arrived in Sacramento on Sunday afternoon but never left the facility.


I also have some wine to pickup at the local store and I received a nice Pinot from Tolosa that arrive earlier in the 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.