2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

2007 Treasure Hunter Wines Petite Sirah The Sweet Trade

2004 Stephane Azemar Cahors Clos d’un Jour

2009 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble



2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $17.50


My comments

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest wine values in the world.  When it comes to California Zinfandels, I dare anyone to name a better one that costs less.  Wine like this is the reason the Carlisle mailing list is closed and very few people get moved off of the ever expanding waiting list onto the allocation list.  I guess if I was forced to give a negative comment about the winery it would be that they make an incredibly large list of wines, well over two dozen.  If anyone wanted to grab a few bottles of every wine, their cellar size would have to be increased.


Winery history

We are a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.


Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, white pepper, melted licorice, violets, dried herbs, and lesser notes of baking spice, dark bittersweet chocolate, and underbrush.  This has fairly full body, moderate ripe tannins, and outstanding acidity.  The palate starts off with solid black raspberries and pepper with the dried herbs and dark chocolate building quickly, on the back end a floral note and some earthiness come into the picture adding even more depth and complexity.  The long, lingering finish showcases the juicy berries, chocolate, and earthiness with the acidity giving a lot of lift and brightness.  This is just entering a nice drinking window, and the tannins and acidity will keep this alive and kicking through most of the decade.  (92 pts)

2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County




2007 Treasure Hunter Wines Petite Sirah The Sweet Trade – $16.90


My comments

I’ve been a big fan of the wines being churned out by this Négociant winery.  This winery owns no vineyards and actually isn’t really a winery, in the normal sense.  They buy “wine” from other wineries that have excess.  Usually the wine is in barrels, but on occasion they buy the wine after it has been bottled.  The winery generally does some blending if needed, bottle the wine, and send it on its way to customers around the country.  For the wine lovers, this generally means getting a quality bottle of wine for far less than it would have cost if it was sold by the original winery.


Winery history

Each Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from our panel of nine called The De-Vine Nine.  Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs, they are the best of the best and they pour through hundreds of wines before they are deemed worthy.


Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink seminal wines of great importance.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The soft and friendly nose has blackberry jam, baking spices, licorice, violets, dark bittersweet chocolate, white pepper, and a touch of forest floor.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins, and nice acidity.  The palate has jammy fruit and spice with a bit of earthiness and oak creeping in on the backend.  The finish has decent length with a touch of dark chocolate entering the picture.  I don’t think this is one to keep for several years in the cellar, open this one over the next few years and enjoy the rich fruit.  (88 pts)

2007 Treasure Hunter Wines Petite Sirah The Sweet Trade




2004 Stephane Azemar Cahors Clos d’un Jour – $13.92


My comments

This was another “find” by Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste Wine from Washington.  In my opinion, Jon provides two great services to wine consumers, he can hunt down perfectly aged German Rieslings and can help find occasional gems that you never heard of let alone tried.  This falls into the second category.


Winery history

As usual for small “old world” wineries, there is not a lot of background available on the internet.  I did find a write up about the owners Véronique and Stéphane Azémar and the winery on  La Revue du Vin de France.  You can check it out if you can read French or tolerate the web based translation programs.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The relaxing nose has blackberries, forest floor, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee, roasted herbs, and just a touch of charred meat.  This has medium body, mostly integrated tannins, and nice acidity.  The palate has a quick hit of berries followed by a blast of dark chocolate, meat, and earthy elements.  The finish is fairly long again highlighted by dark chocolate and berries.  Drinking nicely today but seems to be approaching a crossroads where the savory notes will totally override the remaining fruit.  (88 pts)

2004 Stephane Azemar Cahors Un Jour




2009 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble – $25.00


My comments

I’ve slowed down my Copain purchases over the last couple of years, but I’m still a big fan of their “Tous Ensemble” wines.  To me, the Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Rosé all have quality that greatly exceeds their price points.  This has been a consistently good $25 Anderson Valley Pinot that is comparable to $40 or higher wines from the area.


This was Copain’s effort to put out a value priced, mid-level, appellation branded level of wines.  The Copain Tous Ensemble line up has grown to now include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Viognier, and a Rosé.  In my opinion, the Copain Tous Ensemble lineup offers stunning quality for the price.  I’ve had and greatly enjoyed multiple vintages of the Syrah, Pinot Noir, and the Rosé.  I believe these wines have some distribution, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle to sample if you see one on your local wine store’s shelf.


Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s RhôneValley in particular.  So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best.  For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s RhoneValley.  During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life.  At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him.  He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose eventually has earthy raspberries, baking spices, cherries, and a faint herbal note.  This is barely medium body with soft, silky tannins and good acidity.  Much more open on the palate than the nose with sweet, juicy cherries and baking spices, some earthiness comes in on the backend.  The finish has decent length with a slight herbal note again making an appearance.  A bit more complexity would be nice but this is an outstanding week night Pinot.  (89 pts)

2009 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble





***** 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.






Breaking news from Klout:






Music Corner 

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


Gimme Shelter – U2, Mick Jagger, Fergie


Stairway to Heaven – Heart (Kennedy Center Honors)


Comfortably Numb Live – Pink Floyd


That Smell – Lynyrd Skynyrd


ZZ Top – La Grange






Mailing Lists

Nothing new to report in this area this week.  The Villa Creek Summer offer came out last week which is a buy event for me.  I have to stock up on their White and Rose for the summer season.




Wines bought or received this week

Nothing new so far, but I have a couple shipments scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.





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.