2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

2007 Core Ground Around

2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve




2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré – $29.88


My comments

Emigré is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Muscadelle harvested from four vineyards, two in cool climates, Greenock and EdenValley, and the other two from the northern BarossaValley.  Wines from The Colonial Estate don’t come cheap.  Their lower end wines start at $30.  This is one of their higher end wines and has a release price around $90.  I’ve been lucky in the past (and this time too) to find their wines either on a clearance sale or via Garagiste for under $30.  If you ever have the chance to get a bottle of this wine or either the Exile Cabernet or Shiraz at a great price, grab a bottle, it will bring a smile to your face.


Winery history

The Colonial Estate is a range of limited-production Australian wines with an old world approach.  The fruit is hand picked and carefully selected; the reds receive cold pre-maceration, fermentation, pressing and maceration on skins prior to ageing in French oak; whilst the whites get whole-bunch pressing, lees stirring and are fermented with naturally occurring yeasts.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The fully open and inviting nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, Asian spices, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, dried herbs, wild flowers, and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the big fruit component is matched stride for stride by dusty minerals, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and dark roast coffee, with a meaty element coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with minerals, charred meat, and dried herbs adding a great dimension to the mixed fruits.  This is on the young side but absolutely delicious.  This is big and bold but not an overly ripe, syrupy style of wine.  (94 pts)

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigre




2007 Core Ground Around – $23.11


My comments

Core is quickly becoming one of my “go to” wineries when I want something a little different.  Dave Corey is making several straight varietal wines that are outstanding, but he shines with his blends, like this one.  This is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Grenache and 10% Syrah.


Winery history

Dave Corey’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in Entomology and Plant Physiology from Kansas State University, 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 deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, dried cherries, dusty minerals, warm baking spices, licorice, dried herbs, fresh ground espresso, eucalyptus, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and tart acidity.  On the palate nice blackberry and cherry supply good sweetness up front with the minerals, spice, licorice, and coffee adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long with the fruit and spice carrying the load with the eucalyptus making a nice closing appearance.  This is still very young and will improve as the acidity better integrates.  (91 pts)

2007 Core Ground Around




2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve – $38.25


My comments

Belle Pente is on my short list of favorite Oregon Pinot Noir producers.  I was introduced to the winery by a friend who is really into Oregon Pinots.  As usual, when you listen to someone “into” specific types of wines, you can come up with gems.  We split a case of this one and I’ve been semi-successful letting it lay in the cellar, but it is time to check in again to see how it’s doing.


Winery history

Belle Pente (bell-pont’) means “beautiful slope” – a perfect description for our hillside vineyard site in the Yamhill-Carlton District  of Oregon’s WillametteValley.  Our inspiration comes from the exquisite wines of Burgundy and Alsace, and follows the guiding principle that great wine is made in the vineyard and merely nurtured in the winery.  Our standard practices include organic & biodynamic viticulture, carefully managing vineyard quality and yields, and meticulously hand sorting the grapes that arrive at the winery to remove all underripe or damaged fruit.  Our 3-level, gravity-flow winery is designed for gentle, natural winemaking in small lots, with minimal handling and manipulation, to produce premium wines of character and distinction.


Belle Pente is owned and operated by Jill & Brian O’Donnell.  The 70 acre property is located on a historic farm 2 miles east of the town of Carlton in the new Yamhill-Carlton American Viticultural Area.  The vineyard site rises from 240′ to 500′ with south, south-east, and south-west exposures.  The first vineyard was planted in 1994, and now includes 16 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.  Our estate vineyard is supplemented with high quality fruit grown to our specifications in partnership with carefully selected independent YamhillCounty vineyards.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice red to ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherries, baking spices (think cherry pie), some earthiness, fresh wild flowers, minerals, smoke, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, fairly solid  ripe tannins, and good acidity.  Fresh and lively on the palate with the cherries and spice carrying the load until some earthy elements come into the picture on the backend adding depth.  The finish is long and easy going with the bright cherries and spice again doing the heavy lifting.  This may be on the young side but it is very approachable and enjoyable, which really is all that counts.  (94 pts)

2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve





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Wines bought or received this week

It was a busy week.  I received in an order from Villa Creek, a couple deliveries of wine samples, and a stop at the local wine store.


2011 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard (2)

2011 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee (2)

2010 Villa Creek Gathers No Moss Red James Berry Vineyard (2)


Wine Samples:

2010 Jacuzzi Family Vineyard Chardonnay Giuseppina

2010 JacuzziFamilyVineyardSagrantinoTracyHills

2011 Cline Cellars Cashmere

2010 Cline Cellars Syrah Los Carneros

2011 Woodbridge Riesling

2011 Woodbridge Merlot


Local wine store:

2011 Domaine Lafage Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

2011 Herencia Altes Terra Alta Garnatxa Negra

2010 John Duval Wines Shiraz Entity

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty (6)

2009 Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio





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.