2009 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

2010 Villa Creek “White”

2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select




2009 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile – $16.00

I think this is one of the better bargains out there for a top notch California Zinfandel.  For this vintage, I was able to grab a few extra bottles from the local wine store when they had a special promotion on Turley wines.  For the winery’s $20 release price, this is an incredible bargain, at the $16 I paid, this is an absolute steal.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color. The very appealing nose has brambly berries, black pepper, warm baking spices, cherries, caramel, and a touch of earthiness. This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins, and nice acidity. One the palate the jammy fruit, spice and pepper grab hold and grudgingly give way to some cherry. The finish has nice length and leans on the savory notes with the fruit providing nice background sweetness. This does show a touch of alcohol but not really enough to be a distraction, at least to me. Seems to be hitting its stride.  (90 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile




2010 Villa Creek “White” – $20.80

Year after year this is one of my favorite white Rhone style blends coming out of California.  Every Spring I grab a mixed case of this wine and the Villa Creek Pink when the winery puts out their e-mail offer.  To me, this wine is drinkable upon release, but with a year or two in the cellar, it shows much more complexity and richness.


This is a blend of 65% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussane from the James Berry Vineyard, and 5% Picpoul Blanc.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellow color with golden highlights.  The crisp and clean nose has apples, minerals, white peach, orange blossoms, lemon zest, and pineapple.  This has medium body with crisp, citrusy, acidity.  A big mineral component hits the palate first, quickly followed by crisp apples and creamy white peaches.  On the backend, a jolt of citrus driven acidity clears away the creaminess, leaving your mouth watering for another sip.  The finish is loaded with citrus and minerals and has very nice length.  This is in a very nice place right now, but should hold for another year or two.  (92 pts)

2010 Villa Creek White




2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select – $23.11

This was a new winery for me last year.  Since that time, I met the owner/wine maker Anne Hubatch when she returned to her home state of Wisconsin.  After tasting through close to a dozen of her wines, I became convinced this is an up and coming winery to keep an eye on.


Winery history

Helioterra Wines is a small, artisan producer of Northwest wines made at an urban winery in SE Portland, Oregon.


Our wines are pretty, elegant and graceful in style.  Winemaker Anne Ebenretier Hubatch partners with exceptional regional vineyard growers to craft wines that demonstrate the best that the Northwest offers.


The name draws on geological inspirations, symbolizing Heliolite, the Oregon state gemstone (more commonly known as Sun Stone.)  Helio and Terra combine the Greek words for sun and earth, natural partners for grape growing.


For more information, I highly recommend checking out their website.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The very enticing nose has cherries, strawberries, baking spices, some earthiness, and a nice herbal note.  This has light to medium body, great acidity, and some subtle tannins.  On the palate there is a very nice balance between the fruit and savory elements.  The finish has nice length and again shows very nice balance.  This isn’t a big, ripe, highly extracted Pinot, this is much more feminine and nuanced.  This is tasting very nice but is still on the young side.  (92 pts)

2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner's Select




Connect with me

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.