2009 The Lucky Country Shiraz

2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

2011 La Crema Pinot Noir



2009 The Lucky Country Shiraz – $11.88


My comments

The Lucky Country is a smaller project of Michael Twelftree from Two Hands.  This was created to provide a reasonably priced “artisanal” wine to contrast the growing ocean of mass produced “critter wine” coming out of Australia.  In my opinion, Michael achieved his goals.  You can taste the “Two Hands” lineage and upbringing in the bottle.


Winery history

The Lucky Country Wines offers quality wines packaged with iconic Australian photography, representing the lively spirit of Australia.


The name is taken from the 1964 book, The Lucky Country, written by social critic Donald Horne and was originally written to be ironic, as an indictment of 1960’s Australia.  Donald believed that the economic success of 60’s Australia was derived from luck rather than skill.


But over the years, this phrase has taken on new meaning and is now proudly used by many to describe what is great about Australia.


The Lucky Country Wines is the result of hard work combined with vision, creative acumen and business ‘smarts’, and maybe just a little bit of luck to help bring it all together.  The wines are already proving a hit, available in several markets around the world and with the brand continuing to grow every day.


The Lucky Country Wines were created to deliver great value, stylish wines to drinkers at a reasonable price.  People everywhere can now share and enjoy the experience of what makes Australia the Lucky Country.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to purple color.  The very open and inviting nose has blackberries, licorice, dark chocolate, wild flowers, and a touch of cedar.  This has medium to full body, ripe tannins, and decent acidity.  Loads of sweet up front fruit with dark chocolate and spice coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length and leaves a sweet, fruity, closing statement.  This is not very complex but a tasty week night easy drinker.  (88 pts)

2009 The Lucky Country Shiraz




2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County – $20.28


My comments

Au Bon Climat and owner/winemaker Jim Clendenen were two of the original stars in the California Pinot Noir movement in the mid to late 1980s.  Just about every publication that featured wine bestowed well deserved honors and awards on Jim and Au Bon Climat.  The winery now produces over 30,000 cases of wine a year and is still one of the leading produces of “classically styled” wines.


Winery history

Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which means “a well-exposed vineyard”) produces internationally-recognized Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc wine from grapes grown in California’s Santa Barbara County.


The Au Bon Climat winery is located on the world-famous Bien Nacido Vineyard, and is owned by winemaker Jim Clendenen.  Au Bon Climat was listed on Robert Parker’s Best Wineries of the World in both 1989 and 1990, while Jim Clendenen has been named Winemaker of the Year in 1992 by the Los Angeles Times, and Winemaker of the Year in 2001 by Food and Wine Magazine.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The very promising nose has a musky edge to the cherries, and raspberries with warm baking spices, earthy underbrush, meat juices, licorice, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit has nice spice up front with a meaty note and earthiness building on the back end.  The finish has very nice length filled with sweet fruit, spice with an earthy, musky edge.  This may not be the most complex Pinot out there, but it is a very nice bottle of wine to upgrade a week night or a casual weekend dinner.  Drink over the next few years.  (90 pts)

2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County




2011 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast- $18.99


My comments

We had a couple glasses of this wine a few weeks ago at a local restaurant.  When I saw it on the shelf at the local wines store, I had to grab a couple bottles.  I didn’t take notes on the wine at the restaurant, but I remembered it having nice red fruit and some subtle earthiness.  It will be nice spending a bit of time with a bottle to see how it performs over the course of an evening.


Winery history

Winemaking Philosophy


For more than 30 years, La Crema has explored California’s coastal appellations, a voyage of varietals that started here at our estate in the foggy vineyards of the RussianRiverValley.  On our journey, we have found exciting cool-climate vineyards north in the rugged hills of Mendocino, and south along the wind-swept slopes of Los Carneros.  Most recently, our exploration has taken us to the wind-swept hillside vineyards of Monterey.  Centered always on the dual lens of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, we look for one unifying factor at these exceptional sites: coastal wind and fog that allow the grapes ripen slowly on the vine, developing intensely complex aromas and flavors while retaining firm acid structure.


Naturally, our winemaking team seeks to express the essence of the terroir in our wines, capturing the unique personality and flavor profile of the vineyards.  Elizabeth Grant-Douglas infuses our winemaking regime with a highly personal touch that combines the best of traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques with a contemporary California style.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red to ruby color.  The very enjoyable nose has cherries, baking spices, strawberry, lilac flowers, and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  Spicy red fruit kicks off the palate with more spice and some earthiness coming in afterwards adding depth.  The bright fruit carries no excess weight or overly ripe notes.  The finish has decent length and again highlights the spice laden red fruit.  This very nice week night Pinot Noir offers great QPR if you can find it for under $20.  (89 pts)

2011 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast



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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.