2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard

2005 Rudius Syrah Russian River Valley

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2005 Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

 

 

 

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard – $46.54

When the local wine store offered a few single vineyard Calera Pinots at a special price via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a few bottles of each.  I’ve enjoyed the lower end Calera Pinots in the past, but these single vineyard offerings are a definite few steps up in quality and price.

 

This has 14.9% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

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, bright ruby red color.  The nose is a show stopper, full of cherries, minerals, warm baking spices, pine needles, rose petals, red raspberries, and just a touch of underbrush.  This is barely medium body with moderate ripe tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate, this is rich and silky with solid red fruit, minerals and spice well supported by the acidity.  On the back end there is a nice floral note with an appearance of the pine needles.  The finish is long and nicely layered.  This is a very nice, lighter bodied, California Pinot Noir.  This is drinkable now, but will last in the cellar for several years and improve over the next couple years.  (94 pts)

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard

2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard

 

 

2005 Rudius Syrah Russian River Valley – $19.99

If you have never heard of Jeff Ames’ Rudius wines, you’re missing something special, very special.  Rudius produces mainly wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and the Rhone varietals, but also has released a Chardonnay.  I’ve opened a fair amount of these wines and have never had one that was less than outstanding.

 

This has 15.7% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The intense nose is full of blackberries, Asian spices, charred meat, dark chocolate, fresh cracked black pepper, vanilla, and earthy underbrush.  This has a full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and moderate acidity.  The palate is absolutely loaded with spicy, peppery berries, vanilla, and chocolate.  The finish is fairly long and adds a meaty element and increased pepper and spice.  This is a big, ripe, bold wine that does show some alcohol but nothing too off-putting.  This may not be for everyone, but it works for me.  (94 pts)

2005 Rudius Syrah Russian River Valley

2005 Rudius Syrah Russian River Valley

 

 

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard – $51.75

Every one knows Hayne Vineyard but most people’s knowledge is limited to the wines made by Turley.  Jacob Franklin, made by Elyse Winery, also makes a top notch Petite Sirah from the famed Hayne Vineyard.

 

This has 14.4% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

As many of you know, when we started making our own wines in 1987, we named the tiny, 200 case operation after our daughter, Elyse.  Not wanting to leave our son, Jake, out of loop, we eventually named our Rhone blend after him – anyone remember “Jake’s Cuvee”?  It wasn’t enough, because at the ripe age of eight Jake asked, “When do I get my own label without her name on it?”  Good point!  And as parents not wanting to show favoritism, why not create a namesake label for him as well?

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars debut bottling was in 1998 and we fondly and literally refer to it as the brother label of Elyse Winery.  By this time, we had gained access to small quantities of extremely allocated fruit from some highly desirable vineyards in the valley and this label was the perfect place to showcase them along with our only estate wine, Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars is focused on small production, low yield, vineyard designate wines from Napa Valley.  Due to the extremely limited production, these wines are available exclusively through the winery, website, and wine club.

 

Oh Brother!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The immensely appealing nose is full of warm blackberry pie, fresh ground espresso, cracked black peppercorns, scorched earth, dark bittersweet chocolate, blueberries, melted licorice, and a touch of road tar.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the harmonious palate the wine shows a nice mix of the fruit and savory elements with no specific note trying to steal the show.  The finish has some building earthiness and dark chocolate taking center stage with warm berries providing nice sweetness.  This perfectly balanced wine is built to age and should do so for at least another decade but tastes stunning today.  (95 pts)

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

 

 

2005 Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain – $19.99

A quick check of Cellar Tracker tells me I have been buying, drinking, and very much enjoying the Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain since the 1999 vintage.  This is a 100% Tempranillo from vines that are 40 to 60 years old.  This is the winery’s “entry level” Rioja, but it is generally anything but “entry level” in quality.

 

The alcohol is 13.5% by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

1985, Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa).

A group of winemakers, village men and women with rooted traditions who focused on the vineyard and its wines, founded Artadi.  Shortly after, our obsession for the careful cultivation and the cult of the vineyard allowed us to draw out the personality of our individual wines, a reflection of their origins.  In 1996 and 1999, this same conviction guided us to pursue our project in Artazu (Navarra) and Pinoso (Alicante).

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The sexy nose has black raspberries, minerals, licorice, cherries, vanilla, freshly sharpened pencil, and well worn leather.  This has medium body, good acidity, and mostly integrated tannins.  On the palate this is rich and plush with nice up front fruit that is quickly joined by minerals, vanilla, and spicy oak.  The finish has very nice length with an appealing herbal note coming through.  (92 pts)

2005 Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain

2005 Artadi Rioja Viñas de Gain

 

 

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi – $50.99

I bought this wine after trying it at a tasting event at a local store.  I liked it at that time, but knew it would be immensely better with some extended cellar time.  I was able to ignore the bottle for the better part of a decade.  It’s time to see if the wait was worthwhile.

 

I should note, I am generally more of a Barbaresco fan than Barolo.

 

This is listed at 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery History

The history of the Poderi (estates) Luigi Einaudi started in 1897, when Luigi Einaudi, still only 23 years old, acquired the farmhouse ‘San Giacomo’ in the burgh of Dogliani surrounded by 40 Piedmontese giornate of vineyards (40 acres).  The family Einaudi inherited the passion of continuous improvement of their vineyards.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a slight brick tint.  The nose on this wine is absolutely stunning, full of black cherries, minerals, roses, violets, mint, licorice, tar, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements take turns strutting their stuff with the savory notes eventually grabbing the show with the fruit providing nice background sweetness.  The finish is very long with some earthiness entering the picture.  No hurry on this one, it improved constantly until the bottle was prematurely empty.  (95 pts)

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

 

 

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.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** 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.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!