Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.



Sandler logo




This wine was offered in honor of the Wineberserkers website’s 5th anniversary on Monday, January 27th.  That was the day of the Wine Berserker’s annual BerserkerDay.  During that day dozens of offers are released one by one directly to the members of the forum.


In this case the offer was a 4 pack of different single vineyard Sandler Pinot Noirs.  The regular price for the four wines was $152, the special price was $100 with shipping included.  It was a killer offer, so I grabbed 2 packages.  Besides this wine the other three offered were from the Peterson Vineyard, Boer Vineyard and Keefer Ranch.



The Winery

Sandler wines are produced in San Francisco by owner and winemaker, Ed Kurtzman.  Ed’s journey into winemaking began quite by accident, when he took a job at a wine shop during his undergrad studies at UMass Amherst.  It wasn’t long before Ed realized that wine was more than a passing fancy.  He jettisoned his original career plans, moved to California to sell wine, and soon enrolled in the enology program at Fresno State.  After graduating, Ed embarked on an early career that included stints at a who’s who of central coast wineries.  He started out in the cellar at Bernardus, under the tutelage of Don Blackburn and Kirby Anderson.  Next, he spent three harvests as assistant winemaker to Michael Michaud at Chalone before taking the reins as head winemaker for Rob and Diana Jensen’s Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos.  It was at Testarossa that Ed’s deft touch with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay started to gain widespread attention.  Before long, he found himself in demand as a consulting winemaker, taking on clients including Fort Ross, Freeman, Roar and Mansfield-Dunne while becoming a partner in August West.


In 2003, Ed launched his own label, the Sandler Wine Company, devoted to small bottlings of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache, from his favorite vineyard and grower sources.


More information and access to their mailing list is available by clicking here.



Sandler Graphic



2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard- $25.00

The vintage according to Ed Kurtzman –

2012 was one of those rare years when perfect spring, summer and fall weather gave the vineyards a healthy crop of high quality and quantity.  The last time I saw a year like this was 1997 when I was at Chalone, a long time ago.  The 2012 Pinots are already drinking well, and don’t appear to be going into shutdown mode like the 2007s and 2009s did six months after bottling.


This 100% Pinot Noir has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The enticing nose has black cherries, baking spices, strawberries, earthy underbrush, tomato leaf, dusty minerals and wild flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate silky tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the bright red fruit and spice grab hold initially, slowly allowing minerals and a touch of earthiness to slip in on the back end.  The finish has a nice mix of the savory and fruity elements with just a slight but pleasing herbal note coming in late.  This is on the young side and will improve with some cellar time but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious today.  (92 pts)

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard




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.





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.






Breaking news from Klout:




Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:



WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.




WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks




OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend




WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!




SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks




Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views




WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere




WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks



Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard



Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com





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.