2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch – $23.74


My comments

JC Cellars is a consistent producer of high quality, full bodied red wine and rich whites.  I grabbed a few bottles of this wine at an end-of-vintage sale at the local wine store.  I think it’s time to open one to see what I have.


Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago.  As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.


Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & WalesUniversity, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from FloridaInternationalUniversity.


Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing.  The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal.  The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.


With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream.  He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from CaliforniaStateUniversity, Fresno in 1996.  It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir.  “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school.  “It was a shocker.  To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”


For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The big and bold nose had blackberries, black pepper, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, underbrush, melted licorice, and wood smoke.  This has a full body, solid, chewy tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has an overload of ripe, juicy berries, pepper, dark chocolate and ground espresso.  The finish is fairly long and again, like the palate, is loaded with flavor.  The big, mouth coating tannins really kick in on the finish but the fruit and spice still shine through.  If you are not tannin adverse, this can be enjoyed now, if not, let this one sleep for a couple more years.  (93 pts)

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch




2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $23.74


My comments

The Two Hands wines have been favorites in my house for several years.  The Garden series wines are usually excellent, but have escalated in price.  To me, the second level of the Two Hands wines are the real sweet spot in their lineup.  High quality wines at relatively bargain prices.


Winery history (Core Values)

Quality without compromise is central to the Two Hands philosophy, driving all the decisions from fruit and oak selection to packaging and promotion.


We strive to differentiate ourselves; to be unique, fun and innovative in our business approach while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and integrity.


Our wines are made by a process of barrel classification – selecting the very best barrels for the Flagship range followed by Garden Series then our Picture Series.  This is achieved by sourcing the best parcels of fruit available to us from six premium regions within Australia.


We handle every parcel of fruit, however small, separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation to ensure complexity and personality in the finished wines.


Fruit will be the primary feature of all our wines, with oak playing a supporting role.


Much more information available at:  http://www.twohandswines.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky, purple color.  The burly nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, plums, meat juices, black pepper, Asian spices, minerals, melted licorice, charcoal, and fresh wild flowers.  The wine is medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there are loads of spicy, smoky, meaty berries with plums and dark chocolate coming in on the back end to add even more depth.  The finish is long, juicy, and flavorful.  A seamless, balanced, full flavored Shiraz with no rough edges.  Enjoyable now and for the next five years.  (94 pts)

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes



2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel – $39.99


My comments

I grabbed a couple of these upon release and have been sitting on them for a few years.  This is the flagship wine from one of the highest quality producers and a fantastic vintage, how could this not be outstanding?  Well, opening it too early is the best way to have a less than stellar showing.  I hope I waited long enough.


Winery history

Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community’s leading families, the Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands.  They had since the 1970s believed the California climate to be ideal for planting Rhône varietal grapes.  In 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World.  The Tablas Creek Vineyard Partnership was born, with the Perrin and Haas families as majority partners, and French and American wine loving friends as minority partners.


The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal VenturaCounty in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel.  In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in west Paso Robles.  They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.


The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel.  Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity.


Much more history and info available at:  http://www.tablascreek.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has blackberry, eucalyptus, kirsch, cherry, flower laden potpourri, minerals, licorice, Asian spices, and just a touch of underbrush.  This is medium to full body, with solid tannins and very good acidity.  Nice, bright, spicy fruit on the palate with minerals and a touch of mint.  The finish is very long and satisfying.  Not a big, in your face style of wine, this could very easily be slipped into a CdP tasting and not be out of place.  This is still on the young side, but still very tasty.  (95 pts)

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel




2008 Saviah Cellars Une Vallée Walla Walla Valley – $31.76


My comments

This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon Pepper Bridge and McClellan Vineyards, 38% Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, and 6% Cabernet Franc.


I bought one of these at the local store to try upon release, and immediately went back for more as soon as we opened the bottle.  It was very young but equally as impressive.  Time to see if a couple years in the cellar will be rewarded.


Winery history

Saviah Cellars is a family-owned and operated artisan winery located in the acclaimed Walla WallaValley of southeastern Washington.  The winery specializes in producing small quantities of ultra-premium wines that showcase the remarkable qualities of Washington’s finest vineyards.  Founded in 2000, the winery’s first vintage was only 300 cases.  Today, the winery produces approximately 9,500 cases of wine per year.


Winemaker Richard Funk and his wife Anita, both natives of Montana, moved to Walla Walla in 1991.  The name Saviah is a family name from Anita’s great-grandmother, a schoolteacher, artist and author, who settled in western Montana in the early 1900s.


The family’s heritage is also reflected in its Star Meadows white wine, the location of the original family homestead, its Une Vallée® red wine inspired by the current family homestead called “OneValley”, and its Big Sky Cuvée® in honor of their Montana roots.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The very nice nose has plums, cassis, dying wood embers, dried herbs, cherries, minerals, cedar, dark chocolate, and warm baking spices.  This has medium body with nice tannins and good acidity.  This has a nice melding of the fruit and savory notes on the palate with nothing appearing over bearing and omnipresent, just layers of flavor.  The finish is fairly long and again with no rough ends or out of place elements.  This is just entering a very nice drinking window and with the outstanding balance, should show well for several years.  (92 pts)

2008 Saviah Cellars Une Vallee





***** Shameless Self Promotion *****


Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.






Mailing Lists


Still receiving a lot of “save the date” messages, but not much in the way of releases…yet.



Wines bought or received this week


Picked these up at the local wine store:

(3) 2009 Chateau Des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape

(3) 2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

(6) 2007 Von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese

(3) 2009 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Sommelongue

(6) 2009 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Sabrine

(3) 2009 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Fayard


Not bad, two cases with an average price of under $11 a bottle.





Remember to support your local wine store!




* * * * * * * * * * * * *


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.