2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta. Rita Hills

2006 L’Aventure Optimus

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard

2005 Lyrique Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard

2011 Villa Creek “White”




2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta. Rita Hills – $4.75

I bought a large stash of this wine when it was on a blow out sale at the local wine store about a year ago.  Unfortunately after this bottle I’ll only have one left in the cellar.  I don’t know why this wine was still available in a distributor’s warehouse a few years after it was released, but I’m glad the local store took all they had and blew it out at a give away price.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color. The light and refreshing nose has lemon curd, apples, stony/flinty minerals, orange blossoms, a touch of spice and a bit of pineapple. This has light to medium body, is dry and has crisp, citrusy acidity. This is very bright and lively on the palate with crisp apples, lemon zest, and flinty minerals, on the backend a touch of spice and orange zest add some depth. The finish has nice length with the citrus, apples, and minerals holding on nicely. This was an absolute steal on closeout for under $5.  (90 pts)

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Sta Rita Hills




2006 L’Aventure Optimus – $34.50

Before Saxum burst on the scene, L’Aventure was one of the major players in the Paso Robles wine scene along with Tablas Creek.  With the increased acclaim and notoriety for the region the number of world class wineries has exploded but the “old guard” still maintain their rightful position near the top of the food chain.


This vintage of the wine is a blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 45% syrah and 5% petit verdot.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The stunning nose is full of cassis, cedar, tobacco, crushed berries, chalky minerality, licorice, dark chocolate, and fresh wildflowers.  This has medium body, moderate to full ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate a big jolt of spicy fruit hits up front with minerals, licorice and chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long and shows nice balance between the fruit and savory elements, with a touch of sweet berries seeming to never totally fade.  This is drinking wonderfully today but will last in the cellar for another three to five years, maybe more.  (93 pts)

2006 L'Aventure Optimus




2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard – $45.00

It’s hard for me to pick my favorite vineyard source of Loring’s Pinot Noirs.  All I can say is, you can’t go wrong with Garys’, Clos Pepe, or Rosella’s Vineyards.  Brian Loring’s Pinots will never be confused with one from Burgundy but so what, they are simply delicious.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color. The open and inviting nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, black tea leaves, white pepper, raspberries, dried flowers, minerals, and some earthiness. This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity. The palate has a nice blend of tart cherries, sweet raspberries, spices, and subtle earthiness. The finish is fairly long and again, very flavorful with nice closing acidity holding everything together. Very tasty today, but no hurry on this one.  (92 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard




2005 Lyrique Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard – $17.25

I bought a few bottles of this wine from Garagiste Wine several years ago.  The wine blew me away!  It was big, ripe, and fruit forward but it was not an over blown fruit bomb.  I savored those few bottles and slowly killed them off over a few years.  Over that period I constantly hit the usual wine sites on the internet looking for bottles so I could reload to no avail.  It even looked like the winery closed up shop.  I gave up looking for more.  One day while digging through the Wine Bid site, I saw someone was selling four bottles.  Just to get my foot in the door, I stuck in an extremely low ball bid figuring I would have to go several dollars a bottle higher to grab the stash.  As luck would have it, no one outbid me and I won the lot for a touch over $17 a bottle after adding in the buyer’s commission.  Based on my last bottle the wine was starting to show some age so there won’t be another buy but I look forward to savoring my one last bottle.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color. The very open and inviting nose has juicy blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, slightly smoldering wood embers, melted licorice, dark bittersweet chocolate, and some scorched earth. This has a fairly full body, integrated tannins, and nice acidity. On the palate the ripe, juicy fruit is joined by smoked meat and black pepper up front with some nice earthiness building on the back end. The finish is fairly long with dark chocolate joining the party. This is drinking very nicely but a touch of alcohol is starting to peak through the wall of flavor. Probably needs to be consumed over the next year.  (92 pts)

2005 Lyrique Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard




2011 Villa Creek “White” – $20.80

This is one of my favorite White California Rhone Ranger wines.  This is a blend of 70% stainless steel fermented Grenache Blanc and 30% James Berry Vineyard Roussanne that was fermented in concrete and neutral oak.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The light and summery nose has melon, peach pit, minerals, white flowers, orange zest and a touch of spice.  This dry wine has medium body and very nice acidity.  On the palate melon and apricot flavors occupy the front end with some building minerality and citrus coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with minerals and some spice seeming to linger forever.  This tastes very good now and will last in the cellar for a couple of years.  (90 pts)

2011 Villa Creek White




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.