2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra – $37.00


My comments

I had a bit of this wine several months ago at a friend’s house and thought it was outstanding, but didn’t take an official tasting note.  Since I have a few bottles, it seems like a perfect time to open one and spend an evening with it to see how it tastes.


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, dark, inky, purple color.  The spellbinding nose has charred meat, blackberries, smoke, roasted herbs, blueberries, black pepper, vanilla, licorice, minerals, Asian spices, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, ripe and velvety tannins, and good acidity.  The palate on this wine is out of the world with the berries, roasted herbs, and black pepper slowly giving way to spicy, meaty elements and dark chocolate.  The finish is extremely long and highlights the spice, meat, and roasted herbs.  This is the complete package.  Outstanding!  No hurry on this one, it has years of life ahead of it.  (96 pts)

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra




2006 Rudius Russian River Valley Grenache – $35.00


My comments

I’ve been a big fan of Jeff Ames’ Rudius label since the early days.  I’ve had a few bottles of this Grenache over the years but it’s been a while since I opened one.  Since I’m in the mood for a California Grenache, it’s a perfect day to check in to see how it is progressing.


Winery history

Growing up in Memphis and Mobile, Alabama in a family of lawyers, the thought of becoming a winemaker never occurred to Jeff Ames.  But after deciding not to pursue his law degree, a part time job in a local wine shop in Memphis sparked his passion for wine.  Soon after, in 1998, Jeff moved to Oregon on a whim—with no guarantee of a job—and lucked out when Lynn Penner-Ash gave him his first harvest job at Rex Hill.  What started as a much-needed mental break from his Masters program, soon turned into an exciting new career.  After harvest, Jeff couldn’t get enough of the wine business, and made the big move to the NapaValley in 1999.  After bouncing around the industry from tasting room jobs at Freemark Abbey, FloraSprings and Duckhorn, to freelance writing for Decanter Magazine, to sales at WineBid, Jeff finally got the break he was waiting for.  In 2001, he was able to return to production—the side of the industry he has always loved most—when he became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor.


Two short years later, he took over as head winemaker at Tor, where he continues to make extraordinary wines from some of California’s most notable vineyards.  Everything really came together for Jeff in 2005, when, after years of penny-pinching, he finally achieved his ultimate goal of starting his own wine brand—Rudius Wines.  And the result, my friends, is what you have in your cellar!


For more information or to sign up for the Rudius mailing list, visit their website.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red to violet color.  The sensual nose has raspberries, candied violets, wood smoke, roasted herbs, melted licorice, black pepper, subtle earthiness, brined olives, warm baking spices, and meat juices.  This is one of those wines you could sit a sniff and be happy.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate shows a nice initial hit of raspberry but the savory elements take over from there providing roasted herbs, olives, pepper, and a touch of earthiness.  The finish is fairly long and again leans heavily on the savory spectrum.  This is a delicious wine but not really for those wanting a rich, fruity, style of wine.  This should be enjoyed over the next couple of years.  (93 pts)

2006 Rudius Russian River Valley Grenache




2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County – $30.00


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.


For more information, to order wine, or to join the Jean Edwards mailing list, visit their website.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, melted licorice, smoke, charred meat, roasted herbs, black pepper, olive tapenade, wild flowers, a touch of eucalyptus, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate features nice berries with black pepper and roasted herbs up front with olives, some earthiness, and meaty elements on the back end adding considerable depth.  The finish is fairly long and leans more on the savory elements but some blackberries are in the background adding nice sweetness.  This is still on the younger side and seemed to hit its’ peak after about two to three hours of air.  I think there is still a fair amount of upside with additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County




We paired the Jean Edwards Syrah with a grilled Strip Steak over a bed of thin, crispy onion rings, grilled potatoes, and a slice of grilled Asiago/Garlic bread.

Dinner is served





***** 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.








Wines bought or received this week

No purchases or deliveries last week, but I’m sure that will change this week.





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.