2011 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast

2005 Copain Syrah Garys’ Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley



2011 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast – $21.97


My comments

I’ve been a fan of the single vineyard Pinot Noirs from Calera for a few years.  This will actually be my first appellation labeled wine from them.


Winery history

Calera is a vision, and Calera’s wines truly express the sense of place.  Rather than follow the recommended path, Josh Jensen became a pioneer in search of the perfect spot on the globe to grow grapes.  Taking his cue from the great domaines of Burgundy which have grown grapes in limestone soil for centuries, he set out in search of the perfect spot in California to create wines unique to the world but in the style of the greatest wines of France.  Site selection was vital as he ventured off the grid to plant on the site of an old limekiln in the Gavilan Mountains of California.  Today Calera wines still express that pioneer spirit and are revered the world over.  We are proud to report that even Robert Parker is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.”


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color, much lighter at the rim.  The fresh smelling nose has cherries, flowers, baking spice, eucalyptus, crushed stone minerals, and a touch of forest floor.  This has medium body, soft tannins, and nice acidity.  Nice red fruit on the palate with spice and just a touch of earthiness.  The finish has nice length with the eucalyptus and minerals making an appearance to go with the sweet fruit.  A very nice, easy drinking, under $25 Pinot Noir.  (90 pts)

2011 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast




2005 Copain Syrah Garys’ Vineyard – $50.00


My comments

I’m a fan of both Copain’s Syrahs and the wines made with grapes from Garys’ Vineyard, but this wine always left me scratching my head.  This wine included a high percentage of stems and the resulting vegetal notes always were too prominent.  I kept hoping they would better integrate, but I think we just have to accept this will always have a stemmy note.  It’s been about two years since my last bottle, I’m hoping for the best but feel otherwise.


Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley 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 Rhone Valley.  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 deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, blueberries, dried herbs, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, earthy underbrush, and a bit of stems.  On the palate this leans on the savory elements with smoked meat, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and pepper taking control and driving the fruit into the background where it adds some needed sweetness.  The finish is long and meaty with a touch of stems peaking through.  I doubt the stems will ever totally integrate but at this point they are at least mostly under control.  I found this very enjoyable but some will object to the excessive stems.  (92 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah Garys Vineyard




2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente – $19.00


My comments

Though this wine is offered on the Bedrock mailing list (and listed in Cellar Tracker) as made by Bedrock, the wine is actually the result of a partnership between winemakers Michael Havens (the first person to make Albariño in the New World) and Morgan Twain-Peterson.


Winery history

Like I noted above this is not really made by Bedrock, but is actually a “side project” for Morgan Twain-Peterson.  I think this is the only wine being made by this partnership, but I, for one, would love to see them expand the portfolio.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light golden, straw color.  The fresh and appealing nose has apples, lemon zest, flinty minerality, white peach, orange blossoms, and a touch of spice including white pepper.  This has light body with very crisp citrusy acidity.  The citrus explodes on the palate with apples, minerals, and spice quickly building on the back end.  The finish is long and mouthwatering leaving a distinct citrus and white pepper element.  This is a perfect sunny day wine.  (91 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente




2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – $65.00


My comments

I’ve been a big fan of Jeff Ames’ Rudius label since the beginning.  I don’t know the status of Jeff’s mailing list, but if you like very special wines at good prices, you should check them out at http://www.rudiuswines.com/.  Besides Cabernets, Jeff has produced several outstanding wines with Rhone grapes.


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 Napa Valley in 1999.  After bouncing around the industry from tasting room jobs at Freemark Abbey, Flora Springs 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!


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The exciting and inviting nose has cassis, mint, warm baking spices, tobacco, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate spices, cassis, cherries, and dark chocolate hit first followed by minerals and dried herbs on the back end.  The finish is very long and seems to linger forever, with the minty note making a brief but appealing appearance.  On the young side, but already drinking very nicely.  I’m sure additional cellar time will be handsomely rewarded.  (94 pts)

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon


***** 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:






Wines bought or received this week

2012 New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc 1 bottle for $8.54

2011 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 1 bottle for $16.90

2010 Peay Vineyards Syrah La Bruma 4 bottles for $38.04





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.