2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

2013 Quivira Grenache Wine Creek Ranch

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Rossi Ranch

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru

2009 Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend




2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts – $33.60

A friend of mine belonged to the Herman Story mailing list and I’m thankful he shared his allocation with me.  I love these wine made by Russell P. From.


This wine is 100% Syrah and comes from Les Galets, Shadow Canyon, Luna Matta, Terra Bella, White Hawk and Larner Vineyards.  The finished wine was aged in 55% new and 45% neutral French oak barrels.  There were 792 cases produced in this vintage.



The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  The nose is stunning and full of blackberries, black currant, smoke, meat juices, warm baking spices, blueberries, earthy underbrush and cedar.  This full bodied wine has moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  This is thick and luscious on the palate with a mouthful of berries and spice grudgingly allowing some spicy oak, earthiness and dark chocolate to enter the picture.  The finish has very nice length with the spicy oak and berries carrying the load.  Not a lot of subtlety but the 16.1% alcohol is kept under wraps.  This has 16.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is closed with a natural cork and a wax seal.  (93 pts)

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts



2013 Quivira Grenache Wine Creek Ranch – $20.00

This was another purchase from Last Bottle.  I love the wines and especially the prices the site offers.  More information on joining their e-mail list is below.


This is 100% hand harvested Grenache from Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley.  About 15% whole clusters were used to heighten the aromatics and to moderate the extractions.  Only native yeasts were used for fermentation.  Each lot was produced with varying methods, including cold soaking for between 3 and 7 days and the skin contact varied between 10 and 16 days.  Fermentation was completed in small, neutral oak barrels before being blended and aged in large 600 and 900 gallon French oak foudres.


The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The enticing nose has strawberries, crushed stone minerals, white pepper, cherries, roasted leafy herbs, wild flowers and dried earth.  This has medium body with moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  Bright red fruit, minerals and white pepper jump out on the front end with roasted herbs and dry earth coming in later.  The lingering finish adds a pleasing floral note.  This isn’t one to stash away in the back of the cellar, open this easy to enjoy wine over the next couple of years.  This has nice balance and will pair nicely with a variety of foods.  I like this one.  This has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2013 Quivira Grenache Wine Creek Ranch

2013 Quivira Grenache Wine Creek Ranch



2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Rossi Ranch – $34.00

I’ve been on the Carlisle mailing list since its’ inception several years ago.  They produce some of the best old vine Zinfandel and Syrah wines coming out of California.


This was a comeback year for this wine.  Due to late ripening fruit and early October rains this wasn’t produced in 2009.  There was 9% Rossi Ranch Petite Sirah included in this wine to enhance the texture and to lengthen the finish.  There were only 151 cases of this wine produced.


The wine is a deep purple color.  The trance inducing nose is full of brambly berries, dried sage, black pepper, dried violets, vanilla bean, dry underbrush, chalky minerals, plums and baking spices.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This is rich and lush on the palate with loads of brambly berries, spice, black pepper and dry sage on the front end with underbrush and minerals coming in on the back end.  The long finish has a nice dried floral note and vanilla.  A touch of alcohol is poking through at times but at this time it is barely noticeable.  I’d drink this one over the next couple of years before the alcohol pops through and takes away from the overall wine.  This has 16.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Rossi Ranch

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Rossi Ranch



Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru – $28.57

This is another Last Bottle purchase.  See below for info on the site and a link to join their e-mail list and an instant credit for your first purchase.


This 100% Chardonnay was aged for 5 years on its lees.


The wine is a light golden yellow color with several steady steams of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The alluring nose has apples, yeasty bread, lemon zest, dusty minerals, roasted nuts and spring flowers.  This has light to medium body with great acidity.  On the palate tart apples, lemon zest and minerals quickly grab control with yeasty bread and a touch of nuttiness coming in later.  The lingering finish adds a nice floral note.  The citrusy crispness in this bubbly will keep you reaching for another sip.  A very good bargain.  This has 12.0% alcohol.  (92 pts)

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru



2009 Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend – $49.87

This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah, 17% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.  There were 1000 cases of this wine produced.


The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The big, bold, and rich nose is full of crushed blackberries, blueberries, smoke, charred meat, black pepper, dark bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, cedar, fresh ground coffee and scorched earth.  This has a full body with fairly solid tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the spicy berries, pepper, and meaty elements hit first followed by vanilla, dark chocolate, and some earthiness.  The finish is fairly long and is highlighted by dark chocolate, vanilla, and berries with spicy cedar also making an appearance.  This is a big and ripe wine made in a take no prisoners style.  This wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2009 Lewis Cellars Alec's Blend

2009 Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend






I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  Two of the wines in this post were purchased from the site, Quivira Grenache and Bernard Remy Champagne.  Both of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year that always have tons of wines at fantastic prices.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.


If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.


Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.




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.


I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/


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 2016 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:


Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.




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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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.