2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

2009 Rudius Fion Bainise Halcon Vineyard

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend




2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley – $16.99

This was one of the Garagiste Mystery wines.  In this case, this was the anonymous Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon that was offered for $16.99 lat March.  I wasn’t familiar with the winery which left me even more intrigued.  I opened a bottle of this not long after it was delivered and enjoyed it a lot.  It’s time to try another bottle to see how it is coming along.


This has 14.2% alcohol by volume and is closed with a natural cork.


Winery history

Located in the world-renowned Walla WallaValley appellation, Beresan has 27 acres of estate vineyards that we carefully manage to produce premium fruit, and in turn, great wine.  The geologic distinctiveness of our vineyards, combined with fine winemaking, is reflected in the unique character of our exclusive, limited production wines.


Owned and operated by the Waliser family, our mission at Beresan Winery is not only to make outstanding wine and satisfied wine consumers, but to live a dream of having a fun, successful and enduring experience with friends and family at our winery.


We invite you to enjoy our wines and come see us at our winery in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley.


For more information, visit http://beresanwines.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to garnet color. The classic nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, minerals, tobacco, Asian spices, wild flowers, dark chocolate, and a solid hit of earthy underbrush. This has a medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity. The palate has nice fruit on the front end then the dried herbs, minerals, earthiness, and spice kick into high gear dominating the mid palate and backend. The finish has decent length and again leans on the savory elements with the fruit providing a touch of needed sweetness. This is in a nice place today, but should last in the cellar for a few more years.  (90 pts)

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley



We wanted something quick and easy but tasty for dinner to pair with the Beresan Cab.  I picked up a couple nice looking, bone-in veal chops.  I coated one side of the chops with a mixture of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and dipped it into Panko bread crumbs.  I heated a touch of olive oil and fried the breaded side until it was a nice golden brown.  I lowered the heat and cooked the non breaded side until the chops were between medium rare and medium.  My wife sliced some zucchini and onions and quickly sautéed them in garlic olive oil.   Dinner was delicious and it paired very nicely with the wine.

Veal Chop dinner




2009 Rudius Fion Bainise Halcon Vineyard – $35.00

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.


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/.


This has 13.8% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.


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, FloraSprings 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 bright, lighter shade of ruby red.  The very inviting nose has cherries, strawberries, baking spices, minerals, roasted leafy herbs, and a touch of smoke.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate red fruit jumps out first followed by minerals and spices with building roasted herbs on the back end.  The finish has good length with the herbal note and minerals slowly fading away with just a hint of sweetness from the fruit.  This offers a lighter body, less up front fruit, and more subtlety and nuance than a typical California Grenache.  I like it!  (91 pts)

2009 Rudius Fion Bainise Halcon Vineyard

2009 Rudius Fion Bainise Halcon Vineyard



2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – $82.00

The price noted above is off a higher end restaurant’s wine list, this is generally available at $35 to $40 at retail.


Our wedding anniversary was this week, so we went to a local restaurant for a nice celebratory dinner on Saturday.  Since I was having Filet Mignon and my wife was having prime rib, a cab was the obvious choice for wine.


Generally I like to make “safe” choices when we eat out.  I prefer to experiment at home instead of dropping the big bucks at a restaurant on something we end up not enjoying.  I have had the Ladera Napa Valley Cab in the past and the price was actually not that bad, about two times retail, so the choice was made.


Since this was a romantic dinner at a restaurant, I didn’t take detailed notes.  That said, here is my quick impression of the wine:


The wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The appealing nose was full of cassis with nice spice, dried herbs, vanilla and a touch of eucalyptus.  This had medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  This was rich and luxurious on the palate with upfront fruit and nice supporting savory elements.  The finish lingered nicely.  This may be on the young side, but it is drinking very nicely, especially when paired with a nice cut of medium rare beef.  (A- rating)

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley



2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend – $28.99

Most people probably have not heard of this winery.  I was lucky to hear about it only because the wine maker is Morgan Twain-Peterson from Bedrock Winery.


This vintage is the first “official” release for the winery, but I was luck to also be able to get a couple bottles of their 2010 vintage.  It looks like the earlier vintage was pretty much gobbled up by restaurants.


This vintage is a blend of 85% Syrah, 4% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignan, 2% Zinfandel, 6% Viognier from old vine and cooler sites in Sonoma County.


This has 14.3% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.


The Winery

Lacuna is a collaborative venture between four partners Aaron, Nick, Pete and Morgan.  Our collective and longstanding passion for wine and food enticed us into the industry.


Now, after years of experience in many facets of the business we are happy and excited to offer a wine of our own.  Drawing from elements that have shaped our philosophy and preferences for wines that have origins both near and far we aspired to create a wine that is characteristic of California but also connected to a European tradition of balance and harmony.


Our vision took almost ten years to realize as we were engaged in our professions as wine importers, consultants, sommeliers and brand managers.  The process included endless speculation and, at times, utter confusion on how to get there.  Fortunately, the picture came into focus when we met our fourth partner and gifted winemaker, Morgan Twain Peterson.


For much more information or to join their mailing list, visit their website.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet to purple color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, smoked meat, dried herbs, dark roast espresso, dying wood embers, bacon fat, and violets.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the berries and smoked meat hit first with nice dried herbs, cherries, and some earthiness coming in later.  The finish is fairly long and nicely layered with the fruit, wood embers and dried herbs seeming to last forever.  For such a young wine, this is drinking very nicely today but it has the balance to last in the cellar for many years.  An outstanding first release.  (94 pts)

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend

2011 Lacuna Wines Proprietary Red Blend



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.