Posts from the ‘My Week in Wine’ Category

Cliffs Wine Picks – December 2017 Vol 1

 

2014 KivelStadt Cellars Father’s Watch

2014 Big Tar Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard

2014 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 KivelStadt Cellars Father’s Watch – $11.72

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.  This bottle was included in a blind, mixed case purchase.  I never buy wine without knowing exactly what I am getting but make an exception for Last Bottle.  This wine had a release price of $28.

 

This Sonoma County wine is a blend of 50% Syrah from the winery’s Kivelstadt Vineyard, with 25% Carignane, and 25% Grenache from the Venturi Vineyard.  The lots were fermented separately and blended together after 4 months.  The wine was then aged for an additional 12 months in French oak with 10% being new.  There were 1,600 cases produced.

 

This is a deep garnet color.  The slightly shy nose has blackberries, dry underbrush, black cherries, roasted herbs and espresso beans.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate shows much more than the nose lead you to expect.  This has nice tart fruit but this is not a fruit driven wine with loads of savory notes dancing across your palate.  This still seems pretty tight even with a couple hours of air.  I’d stash this in the back of your cellar for a couple years, I think it will need a while to open.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2014 KivelStadt Cellars Father's Watch

2014 KivelStadt Cellars Father’s Watch

 

 

 

2014 Big Tar Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard

McGinley Vineyard was formerly known as Westerly Vineyard is located in the newest Santa Barbara County AVA, Happy Canyon.

 

This is a light yellow color with a green tint.  The exhilarating nose has green apples, crushed stone minerals, lemongrass, honeysuckle and lime zest.  This has medium body with crisp acidity.  After a quick shot of green apples on the palate, crushed stones, lemongrass and honeysuckle take control.  The finish has good length with mouthwatering lime zest joining the green apples and minerals.  I liked this more and more as the evening work on.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2014 Big Tar Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard

2014 Big Tar Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $18.99

This Willamette Valley Pinot Noir uses grapes from the Foley Family Estate in the Dundee Hills and the winery’s Doe Ridge Estate in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 9 months in 100% French oak with 15% being new.

 

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has black cherry, plum, violets, underbrush, warm baking spices and black tea leaves.  This has medium body with very nice acidity.  On the palate nice dark fruit and spice lead the way with underbrush and black tea coming in later.  The finish is a touch tight and linear right now but a nice violet note provides some depth.  I’d recommend sitting on this for a while or give it a fair amount of air.  This will be better in 6 months to a year and drink nicely for another 5 years after that time.  This is well worth the tariff at my local Costco.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2014 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2014 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select – $25

Helioterra produces Pinot Noir, Mourvédre, Pinot Blanc, Syrah, Arneis, Melon de Bourgogne, Rosé of Pinot Noir, and Riesling. Their wines are distributed to several states and they have a very nice wine club.  For more information visit their website by clicking here.

 

The wine is a light, bright ruby color.  The enjoyable nose has cherries, white pepper, crushed stones, dry underbrush and wildflowers.  This has a medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Cherries, crushed stones and white pepper jump out immediately on the palate with some dried earthy elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with more minerals and a floral note providing nice depth.  This is a keeper.  This wine has 12.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner's Select

2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select

 

 

 

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo – $18.40

This wine includes a touch of Graciano.

 

Bokisch Vineyards is one of my favorite Lodi wineries.  The winery specializes in Spanish varietals.  If you ever find yourself in Lodi, I highly recommend a stop at Bokisch.  Besides their top notch red wines, they make some of the best white wines anywhere.  Much more information is available on the Bokisch website.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The exotic nose has black cherries, crushed stone minerals, baking spices, blackberries, dry underbrush, roasted leafy herbs, wildflowers, white pepper and a touch of dark roast coffee beans.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Tart black cherries, baking spices, underbrush and wildflowers immediately grab your attention on the palate with minerals, tart berries and roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with dark roasted coffee beans and white pepper providing nice depth.  This has great balance and is very easy to enjoy.  Who says Lodi only makes big, bold red wines?  This is full of subtle nuances with no rough edges.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

 

 

 

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard – $30

This note is based on a bottle that was a “leaker”.  The cork had a small slit that allowed about a tablespoon of wine to leak out.  The wine seemed fine but a perfect bottle may show a little differently.

 

Kirschenmann Vineyard is an “own rooted” vineyard in Lodi that was planted in 1915.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The energetic nose has blackberries, black cherries, baking spices, dark chocolate, wildflowers and dry earth.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate nice fruit on the front end sets up baking spices and dry earth coming in later.  The finish has good length with cherries and a nice floral note providing depth.  This is a lighter bodied, nuanced and lively zinfandel that carries no excess weight.  This has great balance and is very food friendly.  This has 14.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

I had Chicken Kiev and my version of Rice-A-Roni with the Bokisch Tempranillo.

 

 

Pork Piccata with Gnocchi, Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes paired very nicely with the Helioterra Pinot Noir.

 

 

The Four Graces Pinot Noir went very nicely with Corned Beef with Cabbage, Red Potatoes and Carrots.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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Cliffs Wine Picks – November 2017 Vol 4

 

2014 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Mateo Sta. Rita Hills

2016 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal

2012 Murrieta’s Well The Spur

2010 Rutherford Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Campo Viejo Cava Gran Brut Reserva

2011 Cypher Winery Peasant

 

 

 

2014 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Mateo Sta. Rita Hills – $9.99

This was purchased from a special offer to Loring mailing list customers who had made recent purchases.

 

Here is what the winery says about the wine:

The wines are made from all of our top vineyard sources – Rosella’s, Garys’, Aubaine, Clos Pepe, Kessler-Haak, and Rancho La Viña.  We typically choose barrels that are a bit earthier to create the Mateo wines.  They’re really tasty – and both the 2014 and 2015 vintages are showing great right now.  And why are we doing this?  We made a bit extra of the Mateo wines for anticipated sales in Europe, which are going slower than expected.  So we’ve decided to clear out the wines to make space for our new vintage by offering you a once in a lifetime kinda deal.  We don’t have a lot, and at the price, we’ll only be offering the wines by the case to help limit our overhead.  It’ll be some of, if not the BEST, affordable every day drinking wine you’ll ever encounter.  You SERIOUSLY don’t want to miss out on this offer!!

 

The wine is a shade lighter than ruby.  The very appealing nose has black cherries, dry earthy underbrush, vanilla bean, violets, dark roast coffee beans and orange zest.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate nice sweet fruit comes through on the front end with the savory elements coming in on the midpalate before the fruit grabs back control on the backend and nicely lingering finish.  This is a bit earthier then the Loring single vineyard offerings but the usual ripe fruit still grabs the spotlight.  I can’t believe I was able to grab a case of this for under $10 a bottle.  This has to be the absolute best $10 Pinot I have ever tasted.  Liked it enough that I had to grab a case of the 2015 vintage for the same price.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2014 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Mateo Sta. Rita Hills

2014 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Mateo Sta. Rita Hills

 

 

 

2016 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal – SRP $17

This was a sample provided by the winery or another company representing the winery.

 

I was looking forward to trying this bottle.  A previous sample a few months ago of the 2015 vintage was corked.

 

This wine is a blend of 74% Albariño, 10% Loureiro, 7% Godello, 5% Treixadura and 4% Caiño Blanco.

 

The wine is a pale yellow color with a slight green tint.  The sensuous nose has green apples, white peach, orange blossoms, sea breeze, leafy green herbs, pineapple and lime zest.  This has medium body with a creamy texture and very nice acidity.  On the palate bright upfront fruit is buffered by sea breeze, herbs and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has good length with a touch of mouthwatering lime zest forcing you to grab another sip.  This is a top notch Albarino that tastes great and offers nice complexity.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2016 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal

2016 Santiago Ruiz Rías Baixas O Rosal

 

 

 

2012 Murrieta’s Well The Spur – $19.99

For this vintage, this perennial personal favorite is a blend of 33% Petite Sirah, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec and 3% Merlot.  There were 430 barrels produced so this wine should be available in most areas.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, black cherries, warm baking spices, scorched earth, plums, licorice, black peppercorns and a touch of vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate blackberries, baking spices and plums pop out quickly on the front end with scorched earth, plums and black peppercorns coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with licorice and vanilla providing some depth.  This is starting to get a little shallow on the back end and finish so I’d probably open this one in the next year or two.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2012 Murrieta's Well The Spur

2012 Murrieta’s Well The Spur

 

 

 

2010 Rutherford Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Estate – $30.94

This was a purchase from Last Bottle Wines, as a matter of fact, this bottle was included in a “mystery case” I purchased.  I don’t very often buy any wine totally blind but I make an exception for Last Bottle since they have never let me down.  Please see below for more information on them and the opportunity to receive a credit on your account by signing up for their e-mail list.

 

I enjoyed seeing this bottle in my mystery case.  It brought back some nice memories since I visited the winery several years ago and sampled their line up of wines.

 

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The open and inviting nose has cassis, cedar, baking spices, tobacco, licorice, dusty minerals, vanilla bean, mocha and violets.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  This has nice upfront cassis, cedar, tobacco and baking spices with minerals and vanilla coming in later.  The finish has very good length with licorice and mocha providing very nice depth.  This has great balance and is in a fantastic drinking window.  This can be enjoyed over the next several years.  I liked this more and more with every sip.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2010 Rutherford Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

2010 Rutherford Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

 

 

 

Campo Viejo Cava Gran Brut Reserva – $14.69

I needed a bottle of bubbly to make Mimosas and this seemed to be a decent midpoint selection.  I didn’t want to ruin a real nice bottle by mixing it with orange juice but I also knew we’d have half the bottle with Mimosas and consume the remainder with lunch so I didn’t want to go too low end.

 

This is a light yellow straw color with a steady stream of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The slightly shy nose has green apples, lemon zest, subtle underbrush, chalky minerals and tart pears.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and great inner mouth effervescence.  On the palate tart apple and pears slowly give way to minerals and a hint of underbrush.  The finish has very good length with zippy lemon zest.  Not the most complex sparkling wine out there but more than acceptable for a party or to serve with a light lunch.  This has 11.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (88 pts)

Campo Viejo Cava Gran Brut Reserva

Campo Viejo Cava Gran Brut Reserva

 

 

 

2011 Cypher Winery Peasant – $16.74

This was a purchase from Last Bottle Wines, as a matter of fact, this was another bottle that was included in a “mystery case” I purchased.  Like I mentioned above, I don’t very often buy any wine totally blind but I make an exception for Last Bottle since they have never let me down.  Please see below for more information on them Last Bottle mystery case.

 

This is a blend of 47% Syrah, 35% Mourvedre and 18% Grenache from Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, road tar, crushed stone minerals, blueberries, scorched earth, underbrush, black cherries and dark roasted coffee beans.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  The front end is loaded with dark, rich fruit with minerals, underbrush and dry earth coming in later.  The finish has good length with black cherries and dark roast coffee beans providing depth.  This is a big wine that could use a bit more acidity to help hold everything together, as is it does get a bit unwieldy on the back end and finish.  I wouldn’t hold onto this one for too long, open this in the next year or two.  This has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (87 pts)

2011 Cypher Winery Peasant

2011 Cypher Winery Peasant

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

 

I paired the Cyper Peasant with a Jalapeno-Cheddar Brat and fries for an easy week night dinner.

 

 

 

The Rutherford Grove Cabernet was perfect with Slow Braised Short Ribs over mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – November 2017 Vol 3

 

2015 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine

Guy Brunot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

2002 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Greenwood Ranch

2013 Jessie’s Grove Zinfandel Royal Tee Ancient Vine

 

 

 

2015 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine Lodi – $19.79

Macchia makes the big, full bore Zinfandels that originally put Lodi on wine lover’s radar.  Like most other wineries in the region Zinfandel is still the mainstay of their offerings but other grape varieties are also produced masterfully.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to maroon color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, toasty oak, black cherries, vanilla bean, black peppercorns, charcoal, dark chocolate and dried wildflowers.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This is rich and velvety on the palate with big upfront fruit and barrel nuances coming in later.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but it makes up for that deficiency with a load of fruit on the palate.  This isn’t a wine to sit back and ponder over, pop the cork and just enjoy.  This has 15.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2015 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine Lodi

2015 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine Lodi

 

 

 

Guy Brunot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru – $28.02

This was a purchase from Last Bottle Wines, please see below for more information on them and the opportunity to receive a credit on your account by signing up for their e-mail list.

 

My previous bottle seemed a bit tired and perhaps past its prime but that was clearly an off bottle.

 

This is a light straw color with several persistent streams of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The exhilarating nose has tart apples, lemon zest, yeasty bread, crushed stone minerals, orange blossoms and roasted nuts.  This has light body with great inner mouth effervescence and crisp acidity.  This has nice fruit on the front end with the savory notes quickly entering the picture.  The finish has nice length with yeasty bread and minerals providing a nice counterpoint to the fruit.  This has 12% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (90 pts)

Guy Brunot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru

Guy Brunot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru

 

 

 

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey – $24.99

This 100% Pinot Noir is from the village of Mercurey in the Côte Chalonnaise region.  The vines are an average of 25 years old.  After a traditional fermentation, the wine is aged 10 to 12 months in stainless steel vats.  The wine has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The appealing nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, chalky minerals, orange zest, dry earth and dried wildflowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, spice and minerals jump out first with white pepper and dry earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with white pepper and a hint of orange zest adding nice depth.  Not the most complex wine out there, but this is very tasty and offers great QPR for around $25.  (90 pts)

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey

 

 

 

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard – $49

Rhys makes world class wines that usually need a few years in the cellar to develop and open up before they show their best.

 

This vineyard used to be a Christmas tree farm.  In 2002 the Sletten, Martin, Sullivan and Harvey families formed a partnership and decided to convert the farm into a vineyard due to its loamy clay soil and eastern aspect.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The exotic and sexy nose features cherries, black raspberries, crushed stones, white pepper, Asian spices, fresh cut flowers and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and outstanding acidity.  On the palate spicy red and black fruit dominate on the front end with the savory elements coming in later.  The wine has a long, lingering finish with tart, spicy cherries, minerals and some earthiness lingering seemingly forever.  This still seems young and there is absolutely no hurry to open this one.  Even at 10 years old, some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

 

 

 

2002 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Greenwood Ranch – $40.50

Vincent Arroyo holds a special place in my heart.  This was one of the first wineries I visited on my first trip to Napa many years ago.  For me, a trip to Napa isn’t complete without a stop at the winery which usually includes trying just about everything they have aging in barrels.  If you ever visit the winery, Greenwood Ranch is the home vineyard around the winery.  The winery owns 85 acres and cultivate 9 different wine grape varieties.  The winery produces about 8,000 cases of wine a year.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The sensuous nose has blackberries, crushed stone minerals, baking spices, melted licorice, blueberries, dry underbrush and a touch of adhesive tape.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate nice fruit comes through on the front end with minerals, spices and dry underbrush coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a nice balance between the fruit and savory elements.  This is in a very good drinking window with the tannins integrated and very good acidity.  Caution with this one, my cork pretty much disintegrated and there was a LOT of sediment.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2002 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Greenwood Ranch

2002 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Greenwood Ranch

 

 

 

2013 Jessie’s Grove Zinfandel Royal Tee Ancient Vine – SRP $45

This wine was supplied to me by Lodi Wine to help celebrate Zinfandel Day.

 

There are always heated arguments over what should be considered to be an “old vine”.  In this case, there should be no disagreement that this wine comes from “ancient vines” since the vineyard was planted in the 1800’s.  To me, a wine produced from vines over 100 years old deserves to be called Ancient Vines.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has plums, brambly berries, white pepper, dry earth, baking spices and vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  This has bright fruit on the front end and nice savory notes coming in later.  The finish has good length with nice sweet fruit and spice.  This is a nicely structured zinfandel that shows good balance with no over ripe notes.  This tastes very good now but a year in the cellar will be rewarded.  This has a surprising 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (92 pts)

2013 Jessie's Grove Zinfandel Royal Tee Ancient Vine

2013 Jessie’s Grove Zinfandel Royal Tee Ancient Vine

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

 

The Louis Latour Mercurey paired wonderfully with ham, macaroni & cheese and mixed peas from this year’s garden.

 

 

I paired the Jessie’s Grove Zinfandel with a cooler weather staple, Red Beans & Rice.

 

 

I opted to open the Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah with prime rib instead of my normal Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

The Macchia Zinfandel was my choice to open with a large serving of Chicken and Andouille Gumbo.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – November 2017 Vol 2

 

Locations AR-6

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley

 

 

 

Locations AR-6 – $16.48

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

First off, the AR in the wine’s name stands for Argentina, not Arkansas.  This is a non-vintage wine since it can include grapes from multiple vintages as deemed necessary by Dave Phinney to make the best wine possible.  I don’t know the exact blend for this bottling, but earlier editions were mainly Malbec with some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Uco Valley in Mendoza.  This is Locations wine’s fourth release of a blend from Argentina.

 

Much more information on Dave Phinney and Locations Wine is available on their website by clicking here.

 

The wine is an inky purple color.  The big and bold nose is full of blackberries, plums, fresh ground espresso beans, dry earth, roasted herbs, baking spices and dried wildflowers.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This is rich and velvety on the palate with loads of blackberries and plums quickly grabbing your attention on the front end with espresso beans, dry earth and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has nice length with roasted herbs and a dried floral note providing some depth.  For the massive fruit and overall size this could use a bit more backbone to hold everything together.  I’d drink this while it’s young before it gets bogged down from the shear size.  This has 15% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (88 pts)

Locations AR-6

Locations AR-6

 

 

 

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards – SRP $14

The grapes for this wine come from three Dry Creek Valley vineyards, the winery’s estate vineyard and two neighboring vineyards.  The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks and saw no oak.

 

The wine is a light yellow color with a slight green tint.  The crisp and clean nose has green apple, cut grass, white peach, lemongrass, grapefruit zest and a touch of chalky minerality.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and a touch of lingering sweetness.  This has nice upfront tart fruit and grassy notes with a tasty peach note coming in later.  The mouthwatering citrusy acidity on the lingering finish is buffered nicely with just a touch of residual sweetness.  This is very easy to drink by itself on a warm sunny day or with a lighter meal, preferably on a deck or patio.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards

2014 Pedroncelli Sauvignon Blanc East Side Vineyards

 

 

 

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut – $19.99

As with a lot of the wines “direct imported” by Total Wines there isn’t much information available in the internet.

 

This is a light, bright red color, one of the darker Rosé wines I have seen, with sporadic bubbles after the initial big blast.  The slightly reserved nose has cherries, strawberries, orange zest and a touch of minerality.   This has medium body with light inner mouth effervescence and surprising sweetness for a sparkling wine labeled as being brut.  This is fairly one dimensional on the palate with mainly red fruit with a touch of orange zest on the back end.  This has a fairly short finish.  There are much better sparkling wines out there for the same price.  This was sealed with a standard sparkling wine cork and this has 12% alcohol.  (84 pts)

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut

Cantine Umberto Bortolotti Dei Signori Rosato Brut

 

 

 

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive – $25.49

This is a blend of 76% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah and 9% Syrah from Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 10 months in French oak, 30% new.

 

This is a deep maroon color.  The big and intimidating nose has blackberries, licorice, dead wood embers, blueberries, dry underbrush, violets and black pepper.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and decent acidity.  There is a fruit overload on the front end on the palate with some savory notes coming in later.  The finish has nice length and again is fruit dominated.  This is a big burly fruit bomb that would be a good choice for a party or gathering but would be hard to pair with a meal.  A pretty good bit of alcohol pokes through on the nose and finish.  Imagine a bottle of The Prisoner kicked up a notch or two.  This has 15.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (85 pts)

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive

2015 Truett-Hurst The Fugitive

 

 

 

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow – $15.99

As with a majority of the winery’s red offerings, there is a bit of Petite Sirah blended in with the Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine was aged for 17 months in French oak barrels.

 

This is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very inviting nose has cassis, black cherry, warm baking spices, plums, white pepper, charred wood and dusty minerals.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the fruit comes through on the front end with the savory notes coming in later and on the lingering finish.  This is an easy drinking, rich and flavorful Cabernet for any night of the week.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

2014 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

 

 

 

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley – $15

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  This wine has a suggested price of $35, so Last Bottle’s price was almost 60% off.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This wine is a blend of 58% Malbec, 22% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, and 5% Zinfandel.  There were only 60 cases allocated to the US.  The winemaker is Jayson Pahlmeyer.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The exotic nose has blackberries, cherries, mint, dusty minerals, dry underbrush, violets and baking spices.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  This has a nice fruity element on the palate but the minerals, spice and underbrush compliment the fruit very nicely.  This isn’t a big, overly ripe wine, it is very “light on its feet” and nuanced.  This can use a year of two in the cellar and should last for several years.  This has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerate cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley

2014 Dwyane Wade Cellars Three by Wade Napa Valley

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

 

What goes better with a big, juicy Cheeseburger that an flavorful red wine, in this case the Locations AR.

 

 

The Michael-David Freakshow Cab went nicely with a mini meatloaf and some mixed peas from this Summer’s garden.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – November 2017 Vol 1

 

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Head High Wines

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi

2012 Brangero Diano d’Alba Sorabino Soprano

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles

 

 

 

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc – $15.59

This wine is part of the winery’s “Coastal Collection.”  The winery add a touch of Semillon to give the wine a little extra acidity and a touch of lemon zest.

 

The wine is a very light, pale straw color with a very light green tint, this is actually not too much more colorful than water.  The crisp and clean nose has fresh cut grass, grapefruit zest, tart green apples and lemongrass.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, citrus zest and lemongrass jump out on the front end with a touch of grass coming in later.  The crisp finish has nice length with mouthwatering citrusy acidity buffered slightly with a touch of residual sweetness.  This is a nice Sauvignon Blanc to sip on a sunny day with a light meal.  This has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (89 pts)

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

2014 Head High Wines – $14

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.  This wine has a suggested price of $36 but Last Bottle sold it for an amazing $14.

 

This is a kitchen sink blend of 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Grenache, 16% Malbec, 15% Tempranillo, 10% Mourvedre, 8% Syrah, 7% Merlot, 3% Petite Sirah and 2% Cabernet Franc.  60% of the grapes are from Sonoma County, 32% from Lake County and 8% from Napa County.

 

This is a deep maroon color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, fresh ground espresso beans, dark chocolate, black cherries, dry underbrush, roasted leafy herbs, violets, baking spices and licorice.  This has a medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This has big fruit on the front end with nice savory notes coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with the savory elements taking center stage with the fruit providing nice background sweetness.  This is a nice, easy drinking wine that was a steal for Last Bottle Wines’ price.  This would be a hit at a party or gathering with friends.  This has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Head High Wines

2014 Head High Wines

 

 

 

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi – $10

I’m a big fan of wines from Lodi.  If your past experiences of Lodi wines are limited to big red wines, especially Zinfandel, I highly recommend checking out their crisp white and rosé wines.  These wine will make you a fan.

 

This is 100% “Musqué Clone” Sauvignon Blanc from the winery’s Jahant Vineyard in Lodi.

 

The wine is a pale yellow color with a very slight green tint.  The crisp and fresh nose has tart apples, dusty minerals, lemongrass, lime zest, under ripe pineapple and a spritz of grapefruit.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of residual sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, minerals and lemongrass quickly grab your attention with lime zest and a hint of pineapple coming in later.  The mouthwatering finish has good length with a touch of grapefruit joining the tart apples and minerals.  This would be perfect with a light meal on the deck or patio on a warm, sunny day.  The hint of sweetness would also make this a marvelous way to relax before dinner.  This has 12.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (89 pts)

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi

2015 LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc Lodi

 

 

 

2012 Brangero Diano d’Alba Sorabino Soprano

Diano d’Alba is a tiny commune between Barolo and Barbaresco that only produces Dolcetto wines.  The small, family run Brangero winery is situated on a hilltop with views of the Langhe hills and the medival town of Diano d’Alba.

 

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The alluring nose has black cherries, dry forest floor, dusty minerals, dried wildflowers, black raspberries and white pepper.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate dark fruit and white pepper lead off with nice dry earth and minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note providing some depth.  This is very tasty but doesn’t offer much in the complexity department.  This has enough savory notes on the back end and finish to keep it interesting.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (90 pts)

2012 Brangero Diano d'Alba Sorabino Soprano

2012 Brangero Diano d’Alba Sorabino Soprano

 

 

 

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share – $22.99

Two Hands wines are a “house favorite” around here.  Unfortunately the prices have rapidly increased, almost to the point the “Garden Series” wines are now special occasion wines.  This wine is still fairly reasonably priced as long as you shop around, hint – check your local Costco.  The price I paid is several dollars below the usual price for this wine.  Its a good value at this price, but for over $30 the value starts to get a bit iffy.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The hypnotic nose has blackberries, plums, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, charred wood, dark chocolate, baking spices, wild flowers and dried herbs.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate crushed berries, minerals, baking spices and white pepper quickly take control with wild flowers and charred wood coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and a floral note providing depth.  This is a big, rich Shiraz that doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but is loaded with fruit and spice.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

 

 

 

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles – $14.14

This was another “steal” from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate $10 credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.  In this case, the wine had a suggested price of $28.

 

This wine is a blend of 50% Staar Ranch Grenache and 50% Kiler Canyon Syrah.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels.

 

The wine is a deep violet color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, fresh ground espresso beans, baking spices, black cherries, crushed stones, dark chocolate and white pepper.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, baking spices, crushed stones and white pepper quickly jump out on the front end with dark chocolate and black cherries coming in later.  The finish has good length with the mix of fruit and savory elements lingering nicely.  This is a very nice, easy drinking bottle of wine.  This has 14.37% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles

2012 Nobelle Grenache Syrah Paso Robles

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

 

I paired the Brangero Dolcetto with a Stromboli stuffed with pepperoni, salami and mozzarella cheese served with a meat sauce.

 

 

The Two Hands Shiraz paired very nicely with a Stacked Enchilada Caserole.

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – October 2017 Vol 5

 

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir – $40

This is 100% Mourvedre from top notch Paso Robles vineyards.  There were 205 cases produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The spellbinding nose has blackberries, crushed stones, roasted meat, earthy underbrush, road tar, cedar, white pepper, freshly ground espresso beans and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, minerals and earthy underbrush quickly grab your attention with roasted meat, white pepper and cedar coming in later.  The finish has very good length with espresso beans and dark chocolate providing plenty of depth.  One of the best California Mourvedre wines I’ve had.  Even at 10 years of age, this will last in the cellar for at least another 5 years but it’s going to be hard to resist.  I really liked this one.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (94 pts)

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir

2007 Villa Creek Mourvedre Damas Noir

 

 

 

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $17.30

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.

 

Modus was first produced in 1997 from grapes selected in the vineyards of the Tuscan Estates of Ruffino.  It was not, though, a new wine in the real sense of the term.  Ruffino had, in fact, been experimenting with the cultivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The mesmerizing nose has black cherries, blackberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, warm baking spices, tobacco, smoke, subtle earthiness and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features upfront fruit and spice with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and some earthiness.  This still tastes young but it will be hard to resist after just one sip.  This has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2011 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch – $14

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This wine is a blend of 58% Syrah, 28% Grenache and 14% Viognier from Adams Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley), Big River Ranch (Alexander Valley) and Landa Vineyard (East side of Sonoma Valley).

 

Winemaker and JCK Wine Company founder John Kane lives for making dense, decadent and delicious Zinfandel and Rhone blends.  Sucker Punch is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Viognier from three distinct vineyards in Sonoma County.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, black cherries, espresso beans, dark bittersweet chocolate, scorched earth and violets.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate waves of ripe fruit, espresso beans and dark chocolate quickly grab control on the front end with scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with floral notes providing depth.  This is a rich, flavorful wine that would be a crown pleaser.  This isn’t one to stash away in the cellar, I’d open this easy to enjoy wine over the next few years.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch

2014 JCK Wine Company Sucker Punch

 

 

 

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

This was a wine I received a couple years ago from Protocol Wines now defunct wine club.  It was misplaced in the cellar and I feared I would never find it.  With about 1400 bottles in the cellar, I gave up looking for it figuring it would never be located.  I was putting some new purchases away when I realized a slot that was supposed to be empty contained a bottle, found it!

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The open and inviting nose has ripe apples, minerals, white peaches, orange blossoms, lime zest and just a hint of roasted nuts.  This has medium body with nice acidity and seems to be just about totally dry.  On the palate this has nice upfront fruit and minerals with a nice citrus bite coming in later.  The finish has good length with more lime zest and a touch of roasted nuts giving the wine nice depth.  Before I opened the bottle I was afraid this would be over the hill, I was wrong.  This tastes wonderful, rich front end but with nice closing acidity.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

2011 Beck-Hartweg Pinot Gris Cuvée Prestige

 

 

 

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine – SRP $44

This is based on a sample provided by the winery or another company working on their behalf.

 

This appears to be a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 8% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a mix of new and seasoned oak barrels with 80% French and 20% American.

 

Flora Springs puts out several “holiday themed” bottles a year.  Even though the labels are a bit whimsical, the wine in the bottle is serious stuff.  This year the winery produced three Halloween themed bottles under their “Ghost Winery” label.  The Ghost Winery label is named for the stone cellar on the winery’s property that was built in 1885.  In 1977 Flora Springs’ owners, Flora and Jerry Komes, renovated the “Ghost Winery”.

 

The exclusive wines made for the Ghost Winery series feature labels designed by the wildly creative Virginia-based artist Wes Freed, best known for his Drive-By Truckers CD cover art.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby red color.  The sexy nose has cassis, black cherries, espresso beans, white pepper, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, dusty minerals, roasted herbs and spicy oak.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate black cherries, blackberries, white pepper and minerals come through on the front end with dark chocolate and spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has nice length with vanilla bean and roasted herbs providing good depth.  This has great balance and should last in the cellar for several years but with a touch of air it tastes great now.  Don’t be fooled with the Halloween themed label, this is a serious, top notch Cabernet based blend.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine

2013 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Red Wine

 

 

 

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch – $25

This wine is 100% destemmed Pinot Noir that was aged 11 months in used French oak.

 

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The sexy nose has cherries, earthy underbrush, warm baking spices, raspberries, dusty minerals, dried herbs and cocoa powder.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tanins and very good acidity.  On the palate nice fruit, spice and earthiness jump out on the front end with minerals coming in later.  The finish has good length with a hint of dried herbs providing depth.  This is a well balanced Pinot that is in a nice drinking window.  This will provide drinking pleasure for at least a few more years.  Very tasty stuff!  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (92 pts)

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

2012 Sandler Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

It was a cool day here in South Carolina so we slow cooked a Corned Beef and at the end of the process we added carrots, onions, potatoes and cabbage from the garden to serve with the Sandler Pinot Noir.

 

The cool spell meant it was time for some pasta and freshly made meat sauce to go with the Ruffio Modus.

 

What goes better with a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine then a steak.  In this case, I cooked a thick Sirloin to rare with the Sous Vide and finished it in a smoking hot cast iron pan.  A fresh from the garden salad with assorted lettuce, onion and broccoli was perfect with the Flora Springs Ghost Winery wine.

 

I now live “in the South” so this was a nice Southern meal.  A boneless pork loin chop coated with chipotle seasoned panko and fried with fresh from the garden green peas and a couple types of cornbread.  One of the cornbreads had fresh from the garden roasted jalapenos the other had bacon and cheddar cheese.  A bottle of Villa Creek Mourvedre was a perfect companion to the meal.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – October 2017 Vol 4

 

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate

 

 

 

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi – $11.04

Mad Duck is a label owned by Truett-Hurst.  There isn’t much information on the wine on the internet, at least not that I could find.

 

The wine is a ruby red color, looking more like a Pinot Noir than a Zinfandel.  The exotic nose has brambly berries, cherries, baking spices, dry loamy soil, cranberries, white pepper and violets.  This has medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cherries, brambly berries and spice come through on the front end with loam and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has decent length with cranberries and a floral note entering the picture.  This is a leaner style of Zinfandel, especially for one from Lodi.  This could actually use a bit more body and some complexity.  Perhaps some time in the cellar will allow the wine to put on some weight and flesh out a bit.  As is, this is a balanced Zinfandel with nice tart fruit that will work with a lot of meals.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (87 pts)

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi

2016 Mad Duck Zinfandel Lodi

 

 

 

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz – $25

Don’t you hate it when you go to a winery’s website and there is almost nothing about wine.  In this case, the Estate appears to be a “destination”.  There is loads of info on the resort, restaurant, conference room and gift center.  If I checked out the site before buying the wine, I probably would have passed, but that would have been a mistake.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The open and giving nose has blackberries, roasted leafy herbs, dark bittersweet chocolate, dead wood embers, cherries, licorice, iron shavings, wildflowers and warm baking spices.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate berries, roasted herbs and iron shavings quickly grab your attention with charred wood and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate and a nice floral note providing depth.  This still tastes very young and primary.  I’d sit on this one for a couple more years.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (92 pts)

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz

2009 Balgownie Estate Shiraz

 

 

 

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon – $48

This Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Livermore Valley also includes a few percent each of Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  The grapes come from Ghielmetti Estate, Home Ranch and Smith Ranch vineyards.  After a 5 to 7 day cold soak the wine was fermented in individual fermenters with an extended 14 day maceration.  The wine was then aged for 22 months in French oak barrels with 60% being new.  There were 1047 cases produced.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The alluring wine has cassis, licorice, roasted herbs, warm baking spices, black cherries, tobacco, dusty minerals and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cassis, minerals, baking spices and tobacco come through on the front end with black cherries and roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a nice floral note providing depth.  This is on the young side, some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  This just seemed to get better throughout the evening.  A solid California Cabernet that is very easy to like.  This has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard – $28.50

There are only one and a half acres of Grüner in Sonoma County, all of which is at Steiner Vineyard.  A very rare and special wine!  The production was ramped up this vintage from 92 cases in 2012 to 212 cases.  The production increased since a second block in the vineyard started producing.

 

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The exotic nose has pineapple, lemon zest, green pea pods, crushed stone minerals, lime zest, orange blossoms, white peach and vanilla bean.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, under ripe pineapple, minerals and lime zest quickly grab your attention with green pea pods and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with lemon zest and vanilla bean providing depth.  This has very nice balance and the touch of residual sweetness buffers the tart acidity.  This won’t get mistaken for an Austrian Gruner, but who cares, it’s delicious.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard

2013 Carlisle Gruner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor – $19

This bottle was purchased from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

This is a blend of 45% Zinfandel, 26% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 8% Grenache, 5% Carignane, 3% Mourvèdre, 2% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Black Muscat and 1% Viognier from vineyards in Sonoma, Napa, Paso Robles and Amador County.  The total production was 1,913 cases.

 

The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  The flamboyant nose is full of blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, black peppercorns, warm baking spices, scorched earth and dried wild flowers.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate waves of crushed berries, black pepper and scorched earth dominate the front end with baking spices and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish is again loaded with fruit and spice with a dried flower note joining the picture.  This is a big, ripe and rich wine that would be a crowd pleaser.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor

2013 JC Cellars The Impostor

 

 

 

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate – Gift

This wine was a very special bottle.  It was a gift from a friend when he had dinner (and a lot of wine) at the house while he was on a business trip.  I was supposed to visit him in Nebraska one day so he could reciprocate, but he passed away before we could get together again.  This was the only time we ever met in person.  Cheers Fred!

 

There is 8% Viognier included with the Syrah.  This is from the Lytton West Vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, cherries, cedar, baking spices, crushed stone minerals, licorice, violets, white pepper, raspberries, dry underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate and potpourri.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate there is great balance between the fruit and savory elements with nothing being too prominent.  The finish has very nice length and again it has no rough edges.  This has aged very nicely and is in a superb drinking window.  Drink this one over the next few years.  This just seemed to get smoother and richer as the bottle was drained.  I wish I had a couple more bottles to open over the next few years.  This is a great, restrained Syrah.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate

2006 Ridge Syrah Lytton Estate

 

 

 

A few meals paired with a couple of the wines.

 

Other meals that were paired with all the wines for the week are usually posted on my Instagram account, Cliff’s Wine Picks Instagram.  If you want a specific recipe, send an e-mail to Cliff @ CliffsWinePicks . com.  Obviously, remove the spaces.

 

I paired the Mad Duck Zin with one of my favorite cooler weather dishes, a Stacked Enchilada Casserole with layers of spicy, meaty filling loaded with black beans and Monterrey Jack cheese and flour tortillas.  Think of it as a Mexican Lasagna.

 

 

Another cool weather favorite is Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya.  In this case I paired the dish with the Balgownie Shiraz.  Another perfect pairing, at least it was for me.

 

 

The cool spell lasted a few days, so we were able to pull out a true Southern meal, Fried Cubed Steak with rice and Cream Gravy with mixed peas from this Summer’s garden.  The Steven Kent Cabernet had the body, structure and flavor to pair nicely with this Southern cuisine.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All 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.  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.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 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:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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