2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras

2002 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard



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2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard – $45.00


My comments

My wife just returned from a 10 day business trip, so I wanted to open something really good.  Since Loring is one of both of our favorite wineries, this was an easy choice.  Brian’s Pinot from Garys’ Vineyard is also one of out two favorite vineyard sources he uses.


Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.


I’d made about 3 trips around the booths at the tasting without finding a single good Pinot Noir.  So, being the open minded person that I am (remember I passed him up 3 times), I stopped at the Cottonwood booth.  I was BLOWN away by Norm’s 1990 Santa Maria Pinot Noir.  After a few years of attending every Cottonwood event and asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking, he offered to let come learn the process during the ’97 crush.  I checked sugar levels, picked, crushed, punched down, pressed, filled barrels, and generally moved a bunch of stuff around with fork lifts and pallet jacks!  It was the time of my life… I was totally hooked.  And even though I hadn’t planned it, I ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir.  That was the start of the Loring Wine Company.  What had started out as a dream 15 years earlier was now a reality – I was a winemaker!


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The open and inviting nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, black tea leaves, white pepper, raspberries, dried flowers, minerals, and some earthiness.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has a nice blend of tart cherries, sweet raspberries, spices, and subtle earthiness.  The finish is fairly long and again, very flavorful with nice closing acidity holding everything together.  Very tasty today, but no hurry on this one.  (92 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard




2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras – $16.62


My comments

The local wine store recently put this one on the shelf.  A friend who works there insisted I give this one a try.  Since I generally agree with his palate, I grabbed three bottles.  Even though I think it’s still a bit young, it’s a perfect night to try one in case I want to stock up before the store sells out.


Winery history

Domaine La Garrigue is set in the heart of the Vacqueyras appellation area (Southern Côtes du Rhône), in the Vaucluse department of France.  The estate buildings are just 2.5 km from the main village, on a plateau called Les Garrigues.


The estate was created in 1850, and has always been worked by the same family, spanning 6 generations.  The Bernard family has always worked in respect of tradition, crafting authentic natural wines that are typical of the terroirs they came from.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The warm and relaxing nose has black cherries, blackberries, red raspberries, dried herbs, brined green olives, licorice, minerals, earthy elements, and wild flowers.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has nice, spicy fruit and olives with a touch of earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch clipped when the tannins and acidity kick in.  Let this one sleep for at least a year, preferably two.  This has a lot of upside potential.  (90 pts)

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras




2002 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard – $30.00


My comments

In my opinion, this is perennially one of the best Napa Cabernets for the price.  This is a cabernet that generally needs a few years of bottle age to fully reach its potential and show its best.  If you get the opportunity to try this wine, jump on it, you can thank me later.


Winery history

Napa Valley’s Elyse Winery has two causes for celebration this harvest.  In addition to a stellar looking 2012 vintage in NapaValley, it is the 25th harvest for the winery.


It was back in 1987 that Ray and Nancy Coursen crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine.  While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food.  Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.


Winemaking is cooking without a flame.  Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in NapaValley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table.  Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.


“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event.  It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner


“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color, with no signs of it being eleven years old.  The very elegant and powerful nose has cassis, dried herbs, tobacco, dusty minerals, melted licorice, warm baking spices, violets, black cherries, and lesser notes of cedar, vanilla, and earthiness.  This has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate is loaded with rich, juicy berries, dried herbs, and just the right amount of spicy oak.  The very flavorful finish is very long, seeming to linger forever.  The wine is perfectly balanced and in a wonderful place.  It is velvety with no rough edges or out of place or excessive elements.  (94 pts)

2002 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard




***** 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


Grabbed a mixed case at the local wine store.

(3) 2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras @ $16.62

(1) 2009 Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon @ $25.36

(6) 2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard @ $19.94

(2) 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico @ $18.59




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.