2006 Elyse Syrah Napa Valley

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2009 Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc The Fumé

2004 Château La Vieille Cure




2006 Elyse Syrah Napa Valley – $15.00

This is a blend of 92% Syrah, 6% Mourvère and 2% Viognier from the Souyoultzis, Delouise, Massa Ranch and Naggiar Vineyards in the Napa Valley.


Per the winery, “Our Syrah is styled in the tradition of the great wines of the Northern Rhone (Cote Roties).  Their delightful aromas, complexity, balance and  finesse make for one of the world’s greatest food wines.”  In my opinion, based of past bottles, they succeeded.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color, starting to show a touch of brick at the edge.  The very inviting nose has blackberries, vanilla, smoked meat, dried herbs, black pepper, and a touch of chocolaty oak.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The savory notes of black pepper, smoked meat, and vanilla hit the palate first with the berries in the background supplying nice sweetness.  On the back end, dried herbs and dark chocolate make an appearance.  The finish has decent length but does thin out just a touch.  This is probably as good as it will get but should hold for another year, maybe two.  This is made in more of an old world style, so don’t expect a big, fruit forward, jammy wine.  I like this style a lot.  (91 pts)

2006 Elyse Syrah Napa Valley




2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – $38.75

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the Napa Valley.


I opened this bottle to share with a few friends so they could sample the wine and hear a bit of the history of the winery.  I think the winery gained a few new friends based on their reaction and the quickly emptied bottle.


Winery history

We are the owner/vintners of Jean Edwards Cellars – we share a passion for wine, a similar palate and a singular vision on the style of wines we produce.  We live by our motto that “you should only make wines you love to drink” and focus our production on artisan red wines that are full-bodied and classically styled.


Quality and heritage are important to us – our wines are reflective of their origins and are sourced some of the most prestigious vineyards (and vineyard blocks) throughout Napa Valley including Stagecoach Vineyard (on Pritchard Hill); vineyards on the valley floor in Rutherford, Oakville and Coombsville; and mountain vineyards on Howell and Spring Mountain.


Time really flies – we started producing commercial wines in 2004 but our dream of producing high quality NapaValley cabernet sauvignon wines started much earlier when we traveled to the valley in 1985.  During that trip, we developed a true appreciation for cabernet sauvignon wines and decided we would some day be a part of the business and produce a wine called Jean Edwards Cellars (our two middle names).  It was a goal worth waiting for and twenty plus years later we released our first wine in the Spring of 2006.


For more information, to order wine, or to join the Jean Edwards mailing list, visit their website.


I highly recommend at least joining their mailing list.  This would be a great time to join since their next release is just around the corner, just tell them Cliff sent you.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color, a touch lighter at the edge.  The outstanding and very appealing nose has cassis, dried herbs, tobacco, melted licorice, minerals, warm baking spices, dark bittersweet chocolate, cedar, and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate is rich and plush with spice and cassis stealing the show initially, as slowly building dried herbs, minerals, and toasty oak come in on the back end.  The finish is very long and full of fruit and spice.  This is still on the young side and will greatly reward some additional cellar time.  (95 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard




2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $28.00

I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years.  A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release.  Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smoothen out and open up.  That said, their Alesia wines, which are made from purchased grapes, though also needing some time in the cellar, seem to be ready to drink a couple years earlier.  I grabbed several bottles of this wine when it was offered on their e-mail release.  I’ve had a couple bottles and every bottle has been better than the previous bottle…always a good sign.  I’m glad I still have five bottles to follow over the next few years.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color. The sexy nose has strawberries, raspberries, cola, baking spices, underbrush, minerals, cherries, dried flowers, and a slight herbal note. The wine has medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity. The very complex palate has layers of fruit, spice, and earthy elements that slowly reveal themselves with each sip, with the nice cleansing acidity evident at all times. The finish is fairly long and the mouthwatering acidity is ever present. This is very food friendly and civilized. There is no excess weight or overly extracted notes evident on the wine. This is still on the young side and can be enjoyed over the next several years.  (92 pts)

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast




We paired the Rhys Alesia Pinot with a fairly quick and easy Saturday evening dinner of a grilled Veal Chop and some sautéed broccoli with garlic and a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes.  The acidity in the wine was able to cut right through the juicy chop.  We kicked back on the beautiful evening to enjoy a second glass of the wine and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Veal Chop




2009 Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc The Fumé – $7.13

This wine has a touch of Semillon blended in with the Sauvignon Blanc.  The grapes are mainly from Lake County and the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.


I left this in the cellar for a year longer than I would have liked, but this will be a good experiment into how a “drink now”, fruit forward, Sauvignon Blanc will evolve with a bit of cellar time.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellow to straw color.  The clean and fresh nose has lemon zest, apples, lime, fresh cut grass, a nice floral note, and just a touch of baking spice and vanilla.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate the sweet, juicy apples and citrus hit up front with a slight herbal note in the background.  There is decent length on the finish which also shows a touch of sweetness.  More of a nice, hot weather aperitif due to the off dry sweetness, but for $7 it works in that regard.  (87 pts)

2009 Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc The Fume




2004 Château La Vieille Cure – $15.83

The local wine store brought this in as an e-mail offer to their mailing list.  I decided under $16 a bottle for a case was just too hard to pass, so I grabbed a case.  My first bottle had something wrong and just tasted horrible.  It didn’t have an easily identifiable flaw, it was just bad.  I opened a second bottle a couple weeks later, and it was perfect.  I don’t know the exact break down of the grapes in this vintage, but this wine has historically been around 74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The enjoyable nose has black cherries, dried herbs, cigar box, minerals, baking spices, dried flowers, cassis, a minty note, and a fair amount of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  Not as rich on the palate as I was expecting based on an earlier bottle.  This leaned very heavily on the savory elements with the fruit buried in the background, only showing itself on a few rare occasions.  The finish is again, a bit lean and does not show a lot of depth.  I’m not going to rate this bottle since it does not seem to be representative of how the wine tasted earlier.


I’ve now had three totally different bottles of this wine.  One was awful, the second was wonderful, this one was drinkable with no obvious flaws but wasn’t that enjoyable.

2004 Chateau La Vieille Cure




I grilled up a thick NY Strip Steak , made some thick cut onion rings and tomato bread for dinner.

Strip Steak dinner




You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.


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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.