2008 Groom Shiraz Barossa Valley – $18.05


My comments

This wine was offered as an e-mail special about two years ago.  I stopped in for a free taste of the wine and decided I could make some room in the cellar for a six pack.  The wine obviously was made for the long haul and needed some cellar time.  Today is the day to check in to see how it is progressing.


Winery history

Marschall Groom Cellars is a very small family winery situated in the famous BarossaValley region of South Australia.  The winery produces three varietals, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz & Zinfandel – under the label GROOM.


Marschall Groom Cellars is the culmination of a dream, backed up by many years of talk and family discussion.  The proprietors are David & Jeanette Marschall and their six children, and Daryl & Lisa Groom and their four children.


The dream started to become reality with the purchase of 87 acres of bare land in the Kalimna appellation of the BarossaValley, directly adjacent to the renowned Penfolds Kalimna vineyard – the home of Grange.  In 1997 the first acres on our Kalimna Bush Block were planted to Shiraz, producing its first crop in the 1999 vintage.  To complement our young Shiraz fruit we source from one other very reputable high quality vineyard in the Barossa, the Fechner Vineyard which is home to 50 year-old vines.


The BarossaValley is too warm to grow world class Sauvignon Blanc.  This variety is ideally suited to much cooler, higher rainfall climates.  After thoroughly researching the climatic conditions within South Australia, a 20 acre vineyard in the Adelaide Hills appellation of Lenswood was planted to provide the perfect grapes for our Sauvignon Blanc.


In 2000, 8 acres of experimental Zinfandel vines were planted on the Kalimna Bush Block.  A very limited introductory wine release from these grapes was made from the 2003 vintage. The first Commercial release into the USA was the 2006 vintage.


Also working with the company to maintain and ensure our quality standards is Consultant Winemaker, Natasha Mooney; previously the winemaker for E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, and now working closely with Daryl to produce our stunning wines.  Our wines are hand-crafted and produced in limited quantities.


Our desire for the GROOM label is to let the vineyards and their fruit do the talking in producing the style and quality of our wines.  As proprietors, we have set the foundation in choosing the most ideal viticultural region needed to produce the highest quality for each of our chosen varieties. ENJOY!


My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby to maroon color.  The open and appealing nose has blackberries, plums, minerals, Asian spices, eucalyptus, black pepper, dried herbs, and some leather.  The is medium to full body, with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The palate has rich and velvety fruit with solid minerals and spices.  On the back end some dried herbs and a touch of eucalyptus add considerable depth.  The finish is fairly long with a touch of dark chocolate making an appearance.  This improved considerably with a couple hours of air, so let it sleep another year or let it breathe.  (92 pts)

2008 Groom Shiraz




2005 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00


My comments

Villa Creek is one of my favorite wineries and Avenger is my favorite wine they produce.  This is a blend of 65% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, and 10% Grenache from Paso Robles.  Tis is, unfortunately my last bottle of this vintage, but I have plenty of 2006 through 2010 in the cellar.


Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best.  The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.


The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars.  Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage.  The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water.  In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache.  They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  The dark and inviting nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, licorice, black pepper, charred meat, Asian spices, dried herbs, minerals, and some wild flowers as well as a touch of earthiness.  This has a fairly full body, still shows some ripe tannins and has good acidity.  This is not a big, brash, in your face, type of wine at this point in its evolution.  On the palate there are nice dark berries, minerals, spice, with some dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long highlighting the spice and dried herbs with a touch of earthiness coming into the picture.  This is in a nice drinking window with no rough edges.  This should still last in the cellar for at least two years, but why wait?   (93 pts)

2005 Villa Creek Avenger




2009 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo Napa Valley – $25.20


My comments

I’ve been on the Vincent Arroyo mailing list since the 2000 vintage.  I was hooked after our first visit to the winery.  I was fortunate enough to get in on a sale of their library wines so I have had the wines from as far back as the 1995 vintage.  If you ever make it to the Calistoga area, I highly recommend a stop at Vincent Arroyo.  They generally have a couple bottles open but the highlight is the barrel tasting.  You have the opportunity to pre-order the exact wines you sample from the barrel.


Winery history

Walking into the Vincent Arroyo Winery, one gets the sense that it has been here forever.  Is it just the comfortable atmosphere of a big barn full of oak wine barrels that lends to the sense of permanence?  Vincent Arroyo, himself, may feel like he has been here forever, as well.  He left behind a career as a mechanical engineer in the Silicon Valley during the early 70’s and headed to Calistoga, at the northern tip of the NapaValley.  He felt much more at home close to the land, being able to see and taste the fruits of his labors.


The purchase of the 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch property in 1974 began the evolution of what is seen today, 85 acres cultivating 9 different wine grape varietals.  Vince has always been a farmer at heart, taking care of the land to produce the best that it can.  He began to transform the Greenwood Ranch by ripping out existing prune trees and unhealthy vines and planting new vineyards.  For many years, he did it all alone, the tractor work, cellar work and a one-man sales force.  Originally he made just a few hundred cases of his favorites, Petite Sirah and Cabernet, selling the majority of the grape tonnage to other Napa wineries.  Today, he produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals.


More information is available at: http://www.vincentarroyo.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color.  The slightly reserved nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, licorice, earthy underbrush, wild flowers, dried herbs, and cedar.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows cherries with a touch of spicy oak up front with some dried herbs and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch short but again has nice spicy cherries.  I think this is still on the young side.  Hopefully it will add a bit of weight and fill out on the palate and finish with some additional cellar time.  (86 pts)

2009 Vincent Arroyo Tempranillo




2000 Château Cantenac St. Émilion – $23.99


My comments

When I was stocking up on this “vintage of the century”, I was concentrating mainly on wines in the $20 to $40 range.  This, at the time totally unknown to me winery, ended up in my cellar.  I think it’s time to see what mystery lurks in the bottle.  This is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet.


Winery history

The vineyard of Château Cantenac stretches over a continuation of the sand-gravel plateau, to the West of the medieval town of Saint-Emilion, surrounding the charming 18th century manor house.  Château Cantenac has a long family tradition and Nicole Roskam-Brunot and her children are continuing to make history, with the passion they bring to their work.


If you understand French or can tolerate web based translation better than I can, visit Chateau Catenac’s Website for more information.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color with absolutely no brick in sight.  The very nice nose has cherries, cassis, dried herbs, cigar box, baking spices, fresh ground espresso, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, fairly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has nice, spicy, cherries with some dried herbs coming in late.  The finish has good length with the fruit and spice lingering nicely.  This is in a perfect drinking window right now but should hold for a year or two.  (90 pts)

2000 Château Cantenac




I made a pork tenderloin to serve with the Bordeaux.


I made a paste out of olive oil, garlic, and fresh chopped rosemary.  Smeared this on the meat and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge wrapped in plastic.  I then wrapped the tenderloin in bacon.  I know it looks dull and boring, at this point.

Pork Tenderloin before


After some time on the grill on indirect heat and a final blast over the hot coals, this is the finished product.  Looks better, doesn’t it?  Add some sautéed veggies from my wife and we are set for a nice dinner for two.

Pork Tenderloin after





***** 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.







Music Corner – A new addition

Some favorite songs/videos (known to pair with good wine)


Evanescence – Bring Me To Life


Kansas – Carry On My Wayward Son


Kiss – Beth


Moody Blues – I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)


The Hooters – All You Zombies





Mailing Lists


I think every mailing list imaginable has hit in the last couple of weeks.




Wines bought or received this week


Received a sample bottle of 2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard.

This will be in the blog in the next couple of weeks.





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.