2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley




2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $14.24

This is a blend of 37% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah and 9% Malbec, from the High Valley AVA in the eastern part of Lake County in California.


The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


Winery History

Brassfield Estate Winery & Vineyard is located in the western section of High Valley at High Serenity Ranch on a truly distinctive and remarkable winegrowing property.  Our valley floor vineyards sit at 1800 ft elevation.  The higher vineyard blocks rise to nearly 3000 ft.  The temperatures of some parts of this unique vineyard are some of the coldest in CA, giving Brassfield a heat summation equivalent to a Region 3 or less in some vintages.


In 1973, Jerry Brassfield purchased the original 1,600 acres here as a cattle ranch and wildlife reserve.  Over the next three decades Jerry acquired additional property.  Today, the LakeCounty estate includes 2,500 acres across both the eastern and the western sections of HighValley, as well as the Round Mountain Volcano.


The Vineyards were investigated for their potential to produce world-class estate-grown wines in 1998.  Vineyard planting began in 2001.  As the vineyards matured, the winery has grown with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, Asian spices, black pepper, smoked meat, dark bittersweet chocolate, plums, some eucalyptus, and a hit of earthiness.  This has a fairly full body, solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has a nice initial hit of fruit and dark chocolate that is joined by some building spice and earthiness.  The finish has nice length and is joined by a touch of spicy oak.  The oak has started to integrate and will probably be even better integrated with some air or a little more cellar time.  This is very tasty today if a touch of oak doesn’t bother you too much.  (90 pts)

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge



2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast – $20.00

To me, Morgan Twain-Peterson from Bedrock is trying to follow playbook written by Mike Officer at Carlisle.  The playbook is fairly simple, offer outstanding, personality filled wine at good prices.  Though relatively new to the game, Bedrock is following the playbook to perfection.  Bedrock has one upped Carlisle in one regard, besides their outstanding red wines, they put out some of the best white wines being produced at reasonable prices in the state.


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


Winery history

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop.  Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.


The winery’s objectives are:

.  To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.

.  To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the NorthCoast.

.  To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.

.  To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.

.  To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.

.  To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.

.  To dream big but keep production low!


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, Asian spices, cocoa powder, charred meat, black peppercorns, roasted herbs, vanilla, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate there is nice balance between the dark fruit, spice and meaty elements.  The finish had good length with some dark chocolate adding a nice touch.  This has improved considerably over the last year.  (93 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast



2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza – $14.24

Over the years I’ve enjoyed many bottles of Italian Dolcetto wines.  These are generally nice, every day wines that are available at wallet friendly prices.  The Italian word “dolcetto” means “little sweet one”.  Don’t take that literally since these wines are usually bone dry.  Most are light to medium body, fairly fruity with a touch of spice.  The moderate acidity makes it a wonderful partner to a wide range of food.


This has 12.5% alcohol and is sealed with an agglomerated cork.


The wine, in the winery’s words

This Dolcetto d’Alba is a creation of the Langhe hills, La Morra Fontanazza in particular.  A delicious, easy-drinking wine, it is a product of the terroir and the distinctive regional microclimate.  An “honest” red wine, the “Fontanazza” is made in traditional manner, without the intervention of new technology.  It has always been considered the everyday drinking wine of native Langhe people.  The “Fontanazza” selection is not aged in oak in order to offer a fresh, fruity, inviting and easy-to-drink wine.  “Fontanazza” presents a magnificent ruby-red color with lovely violet reflections.  The intense and persistent nose offers floral and fruity sensations with evident signs of sweet spices.  The palate is characterized by the same sensations, exalted by a pleasant acidity and a delicate, slightly bitter aftertaste.  With these characteristics, the Dolcetto “Fontanazza” is an excellent companion to every dish of the Italian and international cooking tradition.  The ideal wine glass has a medium-sized bowl and a long stem.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep garnet color.  The sensuous nose has cherries, plums, baking spices, white pepper, minerals, and violets.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and great acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit takes center stage with minerals and pepper coming in from the sidelines.  Nice length on the mineral driven finish.  Not one to keep in the cellar but easy to enjoy over the next year, maybe two.  (89 pts)

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d'Alba Fontanazza

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza



2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $25.99

I grabbed a bottle of this previously unknown wine based on a recommendation from a friend.  I like the change of pace offered by an Oregon Pinot after having a few bottles of heavier California Pinot Noirs.


This wine has 12.6% alcohol and the bottle is closed with a natural cork.


The Winery

Evening Land Vineyards was born in 2005 with the purchase of Occidental Vineyard on California’s Sonoma Coast.  We later traveled north to acquire Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon’s southeastern Eola-Amity Hills. Finally, we crossed an ocean to begin producing wine in Burgundy.


Today, we are a pioneering, international wine company that produces terroir-driven wines from Burgundy, the Eola-Amity Hills and the Sonoma Coast.


More information about this unique winery is available on their website.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, semitransparent, ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spice, raspberries and forest floor.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the tart, spicy fruit grabs the palate followed by earthy elements and a saline note.  The finish has nice length and is carried by the saline and earthy elements with the fruit providing a touch of needed sweetness.  This is much more Burgundian than anything coming out of California.  I like this and will probably grab a few more bottles.  (90 pts)

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley



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.