Posts from the ‘Sample Review’ Category

Cliffs Wine Picks – Acorn Winery

 

2014 Acorn Zinfandel Heritage Vines Alegría Vineyards

2014 Acorn Syrah Axiom Alegría Vineyards

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery.

 

 

ESTATE-GROWN, SUSTAINABLY-FARMED, FIELD-BLENDED WINES

 

 

Acorn is owned by Betsy and Bill Nachbaur.  Besides being the owners, they are also the winegrowers.  The couple owns 32 acres in the Russian River Valley they purchased in 1990.  Their vineyard, Alegria Vineyards is a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard that is planted in alluvial, rocky clay-loam benchland soils.  The estate consists of 70 grape varieties.  The original Zinfandel vineyard was planted in 1890, one of the oldest in Sonoma County.  Hopefully the vineyard, winery and most importantly the family is safe from the fiery destruction the region is encountering this week.  The winery produces less than 3,000 cases of wine a year of Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Axiom® Syrah, Heritage Vines™ Zinfandel, Rosato, Medley® (Blend of Blends) and Acorn Hill® (“Super Tuscan”).

 

In the early days, the family sold their grapes to other wineries but in 1994 they decided to start producing their own wines and established Acorn Winery.  Their first release was the 1994 Sangiovese.

 

The Nachbaur’s passion is “growing and producing co-fermented field-blends (the grapes are interplanted, harvested, and fermented together) creating balanced, food-friendly wines made in the old-world style.”  All of the winery’s vineyards are planted to be used in blends.  As noted below, the Zinfandel vineyard was originally planted in 1890 and includes 18 varieties.  The Syrah blocks have Viognier planted with the three clones of Syrah.

 

The Cabernet Franc block that was planted in 1991 includes Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Dolcetto blocks also planted in 1991 includes Barbera and Freisa.

The Sangiovese block, again planted in 1991 includes Canaiolo and Mammolo.

 

Besides being the owner and winegrowner, Bill is the winemaker along with consulting winemaker Clay Mauritson.

 

The winery sells these wines consumer-direct in most states and the wines are distributed in several states.  For more information about the winery or to purchase these wonderful wines, visit their website.

 

Here’s wishing a prosperous future to Acorn Winery.  As the saying goes, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”

 

 

 

2014 Acorn Zinfandel Heritage Vines Alegría Vineyards – SRP $48

This wine is a true zinfandel based field blend from a vineyard composed of 18 inter-planted grape varieties that was first planted in 1890.  All work in the vineyard is performed by hand and each vine gets individualized attention.  The extra time and effort shows in the wine.

 

This is a blend of 78% Zinfandel, 11% Alicante Bouschet, 9% Petite Sirah. The remaining 2% includes Carignane, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Syrah, Plavac Mali, Tannat, Muscat Noir, Peloursin, Béclan, Palomino, Cinsaut, Monbaclan, and Grenache.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 15 months in 65% French oak (21% new), 25% American oak (5% new) and 10% Hungarian oak.  The barrels came from 8 different coopers.  There were 504 cases bottled in December 2015.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The hypnotic nose has brambly berries, white pepper, crushed rocks, violets, dark bittersweet chocolate, cedar, cherries and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  The juicy palate has berries, minerals and white pepper on the front end with cedar and cherry coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with scorched earth and a floral note providing good depth.  This is a nice, structured, food friendly Zin that doesn’t carry any extra weight or extraction.  This is drinking very nicely right now with some air but some cellar time will be rewarded.  The balance, tannins and acidity show this wine will last several years in the cellar.  Great job!  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 Acorn Zinfandel Heritage Vines Alegría Vineyards

2014 Acorn Zinfandel Heritage Vines Alegría Vineyards

 

 

 

2014 Acorn Syrah Axiom Alegría Vineyards – SRP $42

This wine includes 2% Viognier with the 98% Syrah (3 clones) from the winery’s Alegria Vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

 

After a three day cold soak and fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in 54% French (28% new) and 46% European oak barrels.  304 cases were produced and bottled in March 2016.

 

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The enticing nose is full of crushed blackberries, melted licorice, crushed stone minerals, white pepper, smoked meat, dried wild flowers and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  This is bold and velvety on the palate with blackberries, white pepper, minerals and smoked meat on the front end with licorice and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has very good length with dark roast coffee beans and a dried floral note providing nice depth.  This tastes very good today but will really shine in another year.  Drink this one starting in 2018 through at least the middle of the next decade.  I’d love this with some Texas barbecue next Summer.  This just gets better with every sip.  Count me as a fan!  This has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  This has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 Acorn Syrah Axiom Alegría Vineyards

2014 Acorn Syrah Axiom Alegría Vineyards

 

 

 

Conclusion

Bothe of these wines were outstanding already but will be even better down the road.  This was my first exposure to this winery and I look forward to having more of their wine in the future.  I hope the winery and vineyard are able to survive the fires currently engulfing the California wine country.  This is definitely a winery we will hear more from in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These perfectly balanced wines were the perfect companions for dinner.  The Zinfandel was paired with Pork Ribs I smoked for several hours.  I don’t use sauce but the ribs were generously coated with my dry rub.  The ribs were wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator over night so the spice could draw out the juices, mix with them and get reabsorbed into the meat.

For the Syrah, I paired it with a Boneless Pork Loin Chop that was breaded in Chipotle seasoned Panko bread crumbs and fried.  This was served with breaded and fried zucchini and green beans both fresh from the garden.

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  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 – August 2017 Vol 6

 

2014 King Estate Pinot Gris

2011 Exitus Red Blend

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense

Locations AR-6

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County

 

 

 

2014 King Estate Pinot Gris – $13.89

This is 100% Pinot Gris that was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel.  The wine was bottled after 4 months sur lie aging.  This wine was produced primarily from the best selection of grapes from the estate’s certified organic vineyards with some purchased from a handful of other sustainably farmed vineyards throughout Oregon

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The captivating nose has green apples, white peach, flinty minerals, melon, orange blossoms and lemon zest.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, white peach and melon quickly grab your attention with minerals and orange blossoms coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with tart lemon zest leading you to grab another sip.  Not a lot of complexity but a tasty wine to enjoy on its own or with a light meal on a sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2014 King Estate Pinot Gris

2014 King Estate Pinot Gris

 

 

 

2011 Exitus Red Blend – $9.49

A local wine store had this opened for a tasting.  The wine had a suggested price of $25.99, which far exceeded its value.  To me the wine was simply an easy drinking wine to enjoy with friends at the end of an evening.  For their event price of $9.99, the wine seemed to be fairly priced, so I grabbed a couple bottles.

 

This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah from Monterey, 31% Merlot from Monterey and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon from California.

 

The wine was a deep ruby to purple color.  The comforting nose has blackberries, roasted herbs, cherries, white pepper, licorice and subtle earthiness.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate ripe fruit and spice jump out first with roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  The wine leaves a slightly sweet final impression on the palate.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle was sealed with an artificial cork.  (87 pts)

2011 Exitus Red Blend

2011 Exitus Red Blend

 

 

 

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé – SRP $21.99

This is a sample that was provided to me for review purposes by the Susan Magrino Agency.

 

The majority of the fruit for this vintage came from the rolling hills of the Redwood Valley in Mendocino County, San Juan Creek in Paso Robles and Madera County. Smaller percentages from Mendocino and the Red Hills of Lake County provide an accent of high elevation fruit to its elegant core.  This blend of primarily Grenache and Zinfandel with smaller percentages of Carignan, Tempranillo, and Mouvedre.

 

The wine is a light, pale pink color.  The easy going nose has cherries, white peach, dusty minerals, orange blossoms and watermelon with hints of leafy herbs and dry roasted nuts.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a trace amount of lingering sweetness.  On the palate cherries, minerals and white peach grab your attention on the front end with watermelon and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a nice green herb element and a hint of roasted nuts providing depth along with a bit of orange pith.  This is easy to sip and enjoy.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (89 pts)

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé

 

 

 

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense – $12.99

This wine is mostly Syrah with a touch of Petite Sirah.  The winery likes to add a bit of Petite Sirah to most of their wines.  I was jokingly told they would add it to their Chardonnay if they could.  This wine was aged 12 months in French oak barrels.

 

The winery is one of the “big boys” in Lodi.  The family has been growing fruit and vegetable in the region since the 1850s and have been growing grapes for nearly 100 years.  With an eye to the future the winery has adopted some of the most progressive sustainable farming practices in the state.  All of the 750 acres of family vineyards are third party certified as being sustainably farmed.  Since the 2011 vintage, 100% of the Lodi grown fruit crushed at the winery has been certified as sustainably farmed.

 

Much more information on the winery is available on their website.

 

From the winery:

The Phillips brothers planted one of the first Syrah vineyards in California in 1982. With Michael’s son Kevin continuing the Phillips grape growing tradition into the 6th generation, this Syrah vineyard was one of the first he tended to as our Vineyard Manager. If you turn the bottle around you will see Kevin’s eye looking out from the inside of the bottle, making sure the wine is being enjoyed!

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, blueberries, asphalt, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso beans, dry underbrush, licorice, violets and black pepper.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This has massive berries and ground espresso beans on the front end with underbrush, dark chocolate and a big floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and lingering with black pepper coming into play.  Not a lot of subtlety here but the big fruit and nice structure makes for a worthy companion for something hot off the grill.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  This is a steal for the price.  (89 pts)

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County – $8.62

This is a Pinot Noir based blend that was fermented at a cool temperature.  I don’t know about the distribution of Chloe Wines but I see a fair amount at my local Total Wines store and it appears to be available online at Amazon.  I should note, the Total Wine price is considerable better than Amazon’s pricing.

 

The wine is an orange-pink color.  The brooding nose has strawberries, melon, dry earth, leafy green herbs and orange zest.  This has medium body with decent acidity and it seems to be just about totally dry.  On the palate strawberries, melon and subtle dry earth come through on the front end with leafy green herbs coming in later.  The finish has decent length with some orange zest entering the picture.  This is starting to taste a little tired, I’d open and kill off this vintage in the next couple of months.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (85 pts)

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County

 

 

 

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 – August 2017 Vol 5

 

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema – $16.77

This 100% Sonoma County Pinot Noir comes is comprised of 50% Russian River Valley, 25% Sonoma Coast and 25% Sonoma County grapes.  After fermentation the wine was aged 12 months in 35% new French Oak barrels.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The invigorating nose has black cherries, scorched earth, cranberries, white pepper, underbrush, baking spices and plums.  This has medium body with soft tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate black cherries, cranberries, baking spices and white pepper quickly come through on the front end with underbrush and plums coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a touch of scorched earth providing some depth.  This has nice, bold flavors but could use a bit more acidity to help hold everything in check, as is it gets a bit soft and flabby on the back end and finish.  Not bad for a week night Pinot or a bottle to open with a cheese platter with friends.  This has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (86 pts)

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema

 

 

 

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H – $15.99

There is just about nothing about this wine on the internet.  This appears to be a “winery direct” wine imported by Total Wine and on the shelf at my local store.  As expected (and probably mandated) by the region, this is 100% Chardonnay.

 

The wine is a bright yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, white peach, flinty minerals, orange blossoms, lemon zest and ripe melon.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate tart apples, minerals and white peach jump out on the front end with melon and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a nice shot of mouthwatering lemon zest providing depth.  This doesn’t offer much complexity but it is tasty.  This would be a nice glass to pair with a light meal or to simply sip with friends over a nice conversation.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (87 pts)

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H

 

 

 

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes – $18.99

This is a wine that I generally like in almost all vintages but it’s not a wine I hunt down.  If I can find it at a good price I’ll grab a few bottles.

 

The wine is an inky ruby red.  The sexy nose has black cherries, tobacco, blackberries, white pepper, dried flowers, mocha, vanilla and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Intense red and black fruit grabs your palate slowly allowing pepper and mocha to slip in.  On the back end vanilla and some building earthiness enter the picture.  The finish has good length and veers solidly into the earthy spectrum with just a touch of an herbal note coming into play.  This has 15% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

 

 

 

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs – $37.99

I can never pick a favorite between Ridge’s Lytton Springs and Geyserville blends.  This vintage is a blend of 71% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah and 6% Carignane

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The invigorating nose has blackberries, melted licorice, dusty minerals, raspberries, cedar, charred wood, dry underbrush, dry dill, espresso beans and wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  This is voluptuous and rich on the palate with berries, minerals, raspberries and cedar coming through on the front end and dry underbrush, charred wood and licorice coming in on the back end.  The finish has great length with dry dill, espresso beans and a floral note providing very nice depth.  This has nice richness but with a solid backbone.  This has the balance and stuffing to last in the cellar for several more years.  This kept getting better as the evening wore on.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

 

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT – SRP $16.99

This is a sample that was provided to me for review purposes by the Susan Magrino Agency.

 

This is made from the Negroamaro grape.  I’ve had red wines from the grape but this will be my first Rosé.

 

The wine is a deep pink salmon color.  The fresh and lively nose has strawberries, dry earth, cherries, melon, lemongrass, watermelon and chalky minerals.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of residual sweetness.  On the palate bright red fruit and minerals come through on the front end with dry earth and melon coming in later.  The mouthwatering finish has nice length with watermelon and lemongrass providing depth.  This is very easy to sip on a warm, sunny day but it would also pair nicely with a light meal or appetizer platter.  This has 12% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (89 pts)

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT

 

 

 

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – $38.50

This wine is a blend of 87% Zinfandel and 13% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Tempranillo, Muscadelle, Malvasia, Muscat, and over 30 other varieties).  The vineyard was planted in 1927.  The winery has undertaken the time consuming job of identifying the variety of every one of the 6000 vines in the vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has brambly berries, black peppercorns, licorice, warm baking spices, pencil shavings, stony minerals, black cherries, scorched earth and violets.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate waves of dark fruit, minerals, baking spices and pencil shavings immediately grab your attention with black pepper and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with licorice and violets providing great depth.  This is a rich, lush and powerful Zinfandel that has great balance.  There is no hurry with this wine, it will drink very nicely through at least the end of the decade, probably even longer.  This has 15.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  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 –Steven Kent Winery

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

 

 

 

 

I was recently lucky and grateful to receive some wine samples from the Steven Kent Winery.  These are my first samples from the winery in a few years.  In the past these wines were top notch offerings that would make any meal a special event.

 

 

 

The Steven Kent Winery Was Born.

In 2005, Steven joined forces with the Ghielmetti family who owned a spectacular vineyard site about three miles east of the winery.  The site was planted to Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, many of which he used to make small-lot releases for his burgeoning wine clubs.  Steven realized in 2007, though, that the farther he went down this path, the further away he’d be from the vision with which he started in the business – to make a single, great, statement wine.

 

Lineage—our Livermore Valley Red Wine—then, is the renaissance of that need to have the effort mean something; for the wine to be a symbol of the passion to create something of great quality, an emblem of one family’s generations-long commitment to the grape.

 

Also in 2005, Steven found an opportunity to close a circle.  His cousins, who had earlier sold the Mirassou brand to Gallo, had started a brand called La Rochelle, named for the town north of Bordeaux from which their progenitor had come to America in 1854.  La Rochelle had an amazingly talented winemaker, Tom Stutz, and a portfolio of wines whose only focus was family vineyard fruit from Monterey.  Steven acquired the brand and brought it and Tom up to Livermore with a new focus on Pinot Noir.  Seven years later, La Rochelle is making some of the best Pinot Noirs (and a newly released, small-lot production focus on Chardonnay) in California.

 

Much more information, links to the wineries, and purchasing information is available at their website.

 

 

Steven has a very nice blog here – Steven’s Blog.

 

 

 

Steven Kent Winery Info

“Steven Kent is producing today’s greatest Livermore Cabernets, wines that hearken back to the valley’s roots as one of California’s best wine regions.” – Wine Enthusiast

 

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet here in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.

 

Livermore Valley has a long, dedicated history of growing the “Bordeaux” varietals, and in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.  In the 1880s, pioneering winegrowers began to discover the potential of the Livermore Valley region.  Then, as today, L.V.’s climate and soils closely resemble those of Bordeaux’s famed left bank of the Gironde.  By the turn of the last century, Livermore Valley was already far ahead of its Napa Valley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties.  The goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.

 

“We have worked joyously and strenuously to know our vineyards; to learn how our fruit expresses itself from those sites; to discover the best winemaking and barrel regimens that translates those grapes into world-class vintages.  We’re very gratified that customers, critics, and collectors alike consider our “historic Cabernet” to be an essential addition to their table, their “best of lists,” and their cellars”.  – Steven Kent Mirassou

 

More information is available at their website.

 

 

To check availability or to purchase any of these wine or other wines offered by the wineries in the Steven Kent Portfolio, visit their website.

 

 

 

The line up for this tasting:

Steven Kent Winery

Steven Kent Winery

 

 

 

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard – SRP $24

This wine is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillion from the winery’s Ghielmetti Vineyard in California’s Livermore Valley.  This wine is a crowd pleaser that will be enjoyed by casual wine drinkers it has the crispness and complexity to please an experienced wine lover’s palate.

 

The varietals were fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks separately for three months before being blended.  The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation so it would retain the fresh, crisp personality of the grapes.  There were only 476 cases produced in this vintage.

 

The wine is a pale yellow with a slight green tint.  The exuberant nose has green apples, lime zest, orange blossoms, white peach, crushed stone minerals, ginger and a hint of green leafy herbs.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart green apples, lime zest and crushed stone minerals quickly grab your attention with white peach and ginger coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with orange blossoms and a touch of leafy green herbs providing depth.  This is a very nice, crisp wine perfect for a lighter meal on a sunny day.  This is very easy to enjoy.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection – SRP $48

All the fruit for this wine comes from a 3.73 acre block in the winery’s Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard.

 

After a 5 to 7 day cold soak and fermentation, the wine had an extended 14 day maceration.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels with 30% being new.  The total production was 249 cases.

 

The wine is a nice garnet red color.  The sexy nose has black cherries, plums, dried leafy herbs, sandalwood, dark chocolate, warm baking spices, dry underbrush, licorice, dusty minerals and dried wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate nice bright fruit and baking spices quickly grab your attention with dried leafy herbs, sandalwood and dusty minerals coming in on the back end.  The nicely lingering finish is highlighted by dark chocolate, a dried floral note and dry underbrush.  This is the full package for a Cab Franc, nice upfront fruit with spice and herbs on the mid-palate.  This tastes great now but a year or two in the cellar will be warmly rewarded.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

 

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti – SRP $65

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the winery’s Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard in the Livermore Valley.

 

After a 5 to 7 day cold soak and fermentation, the wine had an extended 14 day maceration.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 24 months in mostly new French oak barrels.  The total production was meager 212 cases.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red to maroon color.  The enticing nose has cassis, cherries, spicy oak, baking spices, plums, dried leafy herbs, crushed stones, licorice, scorched earth and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the open and very expressive palate cassis, cherries, baking spices, crushed stones and spicy oak quickly grab your attention on the front end with plums and dried herbs coming in later.  The finish has great length with scorched earth and a nice floral note providing very nice depth.  This tastes great now with some air but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This is a top notch cabernet that will rival any Napa cabernet that costs twice this price.  Needless to say, I love this wine.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

 

 

 

2013 Steven Kent Lineage – SRP $155

This vintage of Lineage is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec from the Ghielmetti Estate & Home Ranch Vineyards in the Livermore Valley.  Even though 2013 was one of the best vintages in the Livermore Valley in the past 20 years, extreme sorting and sampling lead to the “declassification” of 95% of the Bordeaux varietals.  This meant the total production of 2013 Lineage was a miniscule 3300 750ml bottles (mine was number 3112).  There were also 60 magnums, 5 double-magnums and 5 five-liter bottles produced.

 

Each vintage of Lineage begins with the evaluation of individual lots of wine after malo-lactic conversion is finished in late winter the year after harvesting. This process will take many months as each barrel in each lot is tasted blind several times before it is deemed of great-enough quality to be considered as part of the Lineage blend. Scores of mock blends later, the final assemblage is made, rebarreled for about six months so that the wine’s components have an opportunity to marry into an elegant whole, then bottled.

 

10 of 13 barrels included in this blend were new French oak (Taransaud, Le Grand, and François Frerès.)  Total aging time was 24 months.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to maroon color.  The incredible nose is full of cassis, warm baking spices, dried herbs, dusty minerals, cedar, violets, dry underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate, cherries, road tar and freshly ground espresso beans.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and outstanding acidity.  On the palate cassis, minerals, baking spices and dried herbs quickly grab your attention with cedar, cherries, dry underbrush and espresso beans coming in later.  The finish is long and nicely layered with dark chocolate and violets providing good depth.  This wine is a stunner even at this very young period in its evolution.  This wine deserves a year or two in the cellar, even more time will be rewarded.  This is a WOW wine.  This has the balance to age and improve for a long time.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the heavy duty, premium bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  I loved this wine, without a doubt my favorite wine this year.  (96 pts)

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

 

 

 

Conclusions

Across the board these were some of the best wines I have enjoyed this year.  The Lola is a wonderful white wine to enjoy in the waning days of Summer but would also be fantastic any time of the year.  The three red wines, especially the Lineage, would benefit from some cellar time, but with some air would be a welcome addition to your dinner table in the upcoming holiday season.  It was the winery’s aim to showcase the Livermore Valley as a world class region, and in my judgment, they have succeeded.

 

 

 

 

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 – Albariño Wines from Lodi

 

2016 Estate Crush Albariño Lodi

2016 Klinker Brick Albariño Lodi

2016 Mettler Family Vineyards Albariño Estate Grown

 

 

This post is based on samples that were provided to me.

 

These wines were provided to me for International Albariño Day which was on August 1st.  Since Lodi always raises the bar a notch or two, they turned the day into a long weekend.  Six Lodi wineries, Bokisch Vineyards, Dancing Coyote Wines, Estate Crush, Klinker Brick Winery, Mettler Family Vineyards and Oak Farm Vineyards hosted festivities and special tastings from August 4th to the 6th.

 

Albariño [al-bah-ree-nyoh] is one of the major grape varietals grown in Spain.  The Rias Baixas region is the “home base” for the grape.  The grape occupies 90% of the 8,650 acres of vines planted in Rias Baixas by thousands of independent growers.  This is a thick skinned grape that creates fragrant and floral wines with crisp acidity.

 

Even though the Lodi region is a long way from Rias Baixas, the wines produced here retain the characteristics of their Spanish counterparts but with a touch more ripeness while at the same time maintaining the crisp acidity that allows the wines to be served with a wide range of dishes.  The wine shines when paired with fish and shellfish.

 

For a great, all inclusive look at Lodi, visit the Lodi Wine site.

 

 

Here is my line-up for this tasting:

Lodi Albariño Line-up

Lodi Albariño Line-up

 

 

 

2016 Estate Crush Albariño Lodi – SRP $18

The grapes for this wine come from the epicenter of Albariño in Lodi, Bokisch Vineyards.  The vines are 12 years old and planted in volcanic, gravelly grey loom.  After fermentation, malolactic fermentation was blocked to retain the fresh, crisp acidity.  The wine was aged in 100% stainless steel.  The total production was a miniscule 84 cases.

 

Estate Crush is a custom winemaking operation in downtown Lodi that handles growers desires to make wines from their grapes.  They can process anything from one barrel of wine up to 20 ton lots.  The facility was founded in Spring 2009 and opened in December 2011 and is currently the “home” of 35 brands and 88 wines.

 

More information on the facility is available on their website by clicking here.

 

This is a light yellow color with a slight green tint.  The fresh and vibrant nose has green apples, white peach, unripe pineapple, orange blossoms, melon, fresh leafy herbs, lavender, lemon zest and a touch of sea breeze.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and seems to be totally dry.  On the palate tart green apples, pineapple and orange blossoms grab your attention on the front end with white peach and lavender coming in later.  The finish has great length with leafy herbs and mouthwatering lemon zest providing nice depth.  This is a really nice Albariño that would be perfect on a warm, sunny day.  This is very easy to kick back and sip.  This has 13.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2016 Estate Crush Albariño Lodi

2016 Estate Crush Albariño Lodi

 

 

 

2016 Klinker Brick Albariño Lodi – SRP $15

The grapes for this 100% Albariño come from the Mokelumne River appellation in Lodi and were harvested on August 11, 2016.

 

Klinker Brick is owned by Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region.  In the early days, the grapes were picked and packed in boxes that were shipped to the east coast and Canada for home winemakers.  In the late 1980s the winery upgraded their processes and equipment to reduce yields but greatly increase the quality of their grapes.  A few years later the family added winemaking to their resume and released their first vintage of wine.

 

Much more information on Klinker Brick and the Felten family is available on their website by clicking here.

 

The wine is a pale greenish yellow color.  The bright and lively nose has green apples, white peach, lemon peel with some pith, dusty minerals, melon, tangerine and a touch of leafy green herb.  This has light to medium body with great acidity.  On the palate tart green apples, minerals and melon jump out quickly with lemon zest and minerals slipping in on the back end.  The mouthwatering finish has very good length with tangerine, lemon pith and a touch of leafy herb providing very nice depth.  The bright citrus makes this a delightful wine to sip alone or with a light meal on a sunny day.  I liked the slight bitter bite on the finish.  I’d love to kick back and sip this on the deck during the upcoming eclipse.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (92 pts)

2016 Klinker Brick Albariño Lodi

2016 Klinker Brick Albariño Lodi

 

 

 

2016 Mettler Family Vineyards Albariño Estate Grown – SRP $20

The winery says this wine “pairs perfectly with a good time”, I have to wholeheartedly agree.

 

The Mettler family have been growing grapes in the region for six generations.  The family’s organically farmed vineyards have produced many great wines over the years and their sustainable practices mean continued quality in the coming years.  The Mettler family have roots in the wine industry dating back into the 1770s.  The family planted their first vineyard in Lodi in late 1800s.  As with most Lodi grape growers, for most of their history the grapes were sold to other producers but in 2001 the family produced and released their first estate wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

One of my stops in a visit to Lodi last year was at the winery.  These are top notch grape growers and winemakers but more importantly they are friendly and knowledgeable first class people.  Much more information on the winery, the Mettler family and their history is available by clicking here.

 

The wine is a light yellow color.  the outgoing and vibrant nose has green apples, pears, chalky minerals, lime zest, spring flowers, melon and a touch of fresh leafy herbs.  This is barely medium body with crisp acidity and seems to be totally dry.  On the palate tart apples and pears are joined by minerals on the front end with melon and a nice floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish lingers nicely with a hint of leafy herbs and a nice jolt of mouthwatering lime zest.  This has enough body to stand up to a slightly heartier dish but with enough acidity to keep it bright and lively.  In my case, it paired wonderfully with pasta tossed with some garlic olive oil topped with a few slices of baked tomatoes that were topped with some fresh basil and oregano.  I really like this wine.  This has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle (which is one of the nicer I’ve seen) is sealed with a twist off closure.  (93 pts)

2016 Mettler Family Vineyards Albariño Estate Grown

2016 Mettler Family Vineyards Albariño Estate Grown

 

 

 

Pairing Suggestion

Here is a quick and easy meal that pairs nicely with any of these wines.

 

Slice a vine ripened tomato into 1/2″ slices.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the slices and sprinkle with fresh basil, oregano and garlic.

Bake the slices in a 350 degree over for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle a touch of cheese over the slices and return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

Place the tomatoes over pasta that was tossed with some olive oil (and any juice from the baked tomatoes)

Serve with some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a slice of garlic bread to soak up the juice and olive oil.

 

For added garlic flavor we prefer to use a garlic-olive oil.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion and recommendations

In my opinion, Albariño has found a new home in Lodi.  The perfect growing conditions allow the grapes to ripen at their pace allowing them to be harvested with great flavor and concentration but with the crisp acidity the wines need to be fresh and vibrant.  These are very easy to enjoy wines that pair very nicely with a wide array of lighter, warm weather meals.  These are all wines made with pride by families who either grow their own grapes or buy them from “friends”.  The over riding thing I learned during my visit is this region performs like one big team.  Everyone from the grape growers to the winery owners are equals when it comes to producing these world class wines.  The wines in this post are generally not available at you local wine store.  They are available via the winery’s websites or from the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center.

 

 

If you want to plan a trip to Lodi, which I highly recommend, your first step should be to visit the Lodi Wine Site.  If you find yourself in Lodi and want to sip some wine, buy some wine or look for recommendations, I encourage you to visit them at:

Lodi Wine & Visitor Center

2545 West Turner Road

Lodi, CA 95242

Phone: (209) 367-4727

Email: lwwc@lodiwine.com

 

This is also a great place to buy Lodi wines.  They have an extensive inventory of wines that you can have shipped to your home.

 

 

 

 

 

Lodi Information

Lodi is just east of San Francisco and has provided grapes for producers all over the world since the 1800’s.  The Lodi area has provided grapes for producers all over the world for decades, and many families in Lodi have been growing grapes for six and seven generations.  Today, there are approximately 85 wineries and tasting rooms, over 750 growers and more than 100,000 acres planted to vineyards.  The wines we tasted commemorate the heritage of Lodi and are not only exquisite, but tell a narrative.

 

It is a well-known fact that Lodi is predominantly a red wine region, proudly holding the self-proclaimed title of “Zinfandel Capital of the World”.  What is lesser known is that Lodi’s unique Mediterranean climate allows for over 75 different varietals to thrive.

 

Tons of great and useful information is available on the Wines of Lodi, LOCA website.  I highly encourage you to read about the area by clicking here.  You can also follow Lodi on Twitter at @Lodi_Wine.

 

 

Lodi Green Program

The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s first 3rd party-certified sustainable winegrowing program.  Originally launched in 2005, over the past two years the program went through and extensive review to update and make standards more rigorous.

 

The Lodi Rules takes a comprehensive approach to farming that goes beyond just pest management to promote practices that enhance biodiversity, water and air quality, soil health, and employee and community well-being.  This allows us to produce higher quality wines more reflective of the places and people that grow them.  It gives you the opportunity to promote responsible farming by enjoying the great wines from these vineyards.

 

When you drink a certified sustainably grown Lodi wine, you are supporting a farmer, a vintner, and a community that embraces its responsibility to take care of the environment.

 

Visit the Lodi Certified Green site for more information on the region’s sustainable winegrowing.

 

 

 

 

Calhoun & Company enjoys a diverse portfolio of wine and spirits clients. From family owned to corporate managed, luxury to everyday priced, small lot wines to nationally distributed, Napa to Oporto, we thrive on the varied media opportunities each of these categories presents. We are exceptionally proud of the breadth and depth of our practice, as illustrated by this partial list of brands we have worked with over the past 13 years.  For more information, visit their website.

 

 

 

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 – Parducci True Grit

 

2015 Parducci True Grit Reserve Chardonnay

2013 Parducci True Grit Reserve Red

2015 Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

(This is based on samples provided by the winery or an entity acting on their behalf)

 

 

 

About Parducci and Mendocino Wine Company

 

This years marks Parducci Wine Cellar’s 85th anniversary, the longest running winery in Mendocino County.  The Thornhill family own and operate the winery, as with any family owned business, dedication to the land and people associated with the operation is the number one priority.  For example, the head winemaker, Bob Swain, is celebrating his 20th year in the position.

 

The Thornhill family continues the tradition of sustainable wine growing and land use practices.  They have created an example for how to leave the world a little better than they found it.  In recognition of their leadership, the State of California three times (2007, 2009 & 2014) awarded Parducci Wine Cellars with the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California’s highest environmental honor.

 

 

 

“Boldly expressive of rich character, True Grit RESERVE wines are the product of very selective fruit sourcing and hands-on winemaking.  Each vintage gives the full range of expression for a fearlessly distinct wine.”

 

The True Grit line of reserve wines use only the best fruit from the finest vineyards in Mendocino County.  This is the 10th vintage for the True Grit Reserve line of wines.

 

 

Here is my line up for this tasting:

True Grit Lineup

True Grit Lineup

 

 

2015 Parducci True Grit Reserve Chardonnay – SRP $17.99

This wine is 100% Mendocino County grown Chardonnay.  The wine was aged in 93% new French oak and 7% stainless steel tanks.

 

The wine is a straw yellow color.  The sexy nose has apples, pears, dead wood embers, lemon zest, spring flowers and a touch of spicy oak.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and a slightly creamy mouth feel.  This has nice upfront white fruit and spicy oak with spring flowers and a bit of charred wood coming in later.  The crisp and lingering finish is highlighted with mouthwatering lemon zest.  This has the body and acidity to be a very nice accompaniment to a wide range of dishes.  I’m not a big fam of oaky Chardonnay wines but in this case the spicy oak provides nice depth and spice without stealing the spotlight from the bright fruit.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2015 Parducci Chardonnay True Grit Reserve

2015 Parducci True Grit Reserve Chardonnay

 

 

 

2013 Parducci True Grit Reserve Red – SRP $19.99

This is a red blend that uses some decidedly “outside the box” varietals.  This is a blend of 29% Carignan, 28% Zinfandel, 16% Grenache,  10% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Souzão, 2% Tinto Cão and 2% Touriga Nacional.  The grapes are 100% from Mendocino County.  The wine was aged for 12 months in 40% seasoned oak barrels and 60% neutral tanks.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The mysterious nose has plums, black cherries, tobacco, crushed stone minerals, dark chocolate, blueberries, baking spices, coconut and dry underbrush.  This has medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate dark fruit, tobacco, baking spices and tobacco jump out on the front end with dark chocolate, blueberries and dry underbrush coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and a touch of coconut providing depth.  This is a fairly big and bold wine that would go nicely with something hot off the grill.  I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar, open this over the next few years and enjoy the dark fruit and spice.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2013 Parducci True Grit Reserve Red

2013 Parducci True Grit Reserve Red

 

 

 

2015 Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $19.99

This 100% Mendocino wine includes 1% Petit Verdot.  The wine was aged for 6 months in French oak, 35% new.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The expressive nose has cassis, scorched earth, cherry, eucalyptus, freshly ground espresso beans, chalky minerals, dark chocolate and a touch of licorice.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate cassis, chalky minerals, espresso beans and scorched earth quickly jump out on the front end with cherry and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with scorched earth and chalky minerals moving into the foreground with the fruit in the background providing nice supporting sweetness.  This could use a bit of time in the cellar or some air and a nice piece of grilled meat.  This is a very nice bottle of Cabernet for around $20.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2015 Parducci Cabernet Sauvignon True Grit Reserve

2015 Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

Conclusion

These are all very nice, well balanced wines that are reasonably priced.  Any would be a welcome addition to your dinner table.

 

 

 

 

About Balzac

BALZAC is a marketing communications agency with a no-nonsense approach to combining the strategies and tactics of marketing, public relations, advertising and graphic design to achieve the marketing goals of our clients.

 

The experience, creativity and determination of our staff distinguish BALZAC from our competition. We use these assets to develop and execute cost-effective campaigns which have won international communications awards.

 

The results speak for themselves.

 

The agency is located in Napa, California, and provides services to national, regional, and local companies based in Northern California and throughout the world.

 

For more information on Balzac, please click here.

 

 

 

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 – Spanish Whites from vintae

 

2016 Atlantis by Maetierra Albarino Rías Baixas

2016 Bodega Classica Rioja Hacienda López de Haro Blanco

 

 

These wines were provided by vintae, a Spanish wine company that represents wineries throughout Spain and 401 West Communications.

 

 

Vintae was created to reflect the current Spanish wine landscape – Spanish wines with diverse terroirs fall under the Vintae portfolio, varying in style, flavor and even price point. The Arambarri family has a long history in wine and agriculture and they want people to have fun with wine and not take it so seriously. Their goal is to revolutionize Spanish winemaking and show the vast array of style and flavors that Spain is capable of creating.

 

At Vintae, our dream is to revolutionize the wine world. Only by taking risks will we accomplish our dream. Vintae is not just a wine company; it is a new way of experiencing wine.

 

Our vineyards span fourteen regions of Spain, and while our roots began in Rioja, we were inspired and captivated by the diverse wine growers and terroir that dominate our country. These regions and landscapes each have their own story and it’s our dream to share them with the rest of the world in ways that have not been done or tasted before.

 

Our vineyards and wineries are unique, just like the people who work tirelessly to create top quality products. We are a family who come from around the world, united by the same idea to share our story and our dream to revolutionize wine.

 

Much more information on vintae and their wineries is available on their website by clicking here.

 

 

Here are the wines for this post:

Tasting Line Up

Tasting Line Up

 

 

2016 Atlantis by Maetierra Albarino Rías Baixas – SRP $15.99

This is 100% Albariño from vineyards located in Condado de Tea, on the right bank of River Miño.  The vineyard is on rolling slopes in sandy soils with a granite subsoil at altitudes between 100 and 250 m above sea level.  The overhead vineyard uses a trellis system, reaching a height of up to 2.80 m.  The grapes are manually harvested into plastic boxes.  After sorting the grapes are pressed.  The alcoholic fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless-steel vats at a 18ºC.   After fermentation the wine is racked to separate the lees and it undergoes a cold stabilization.  After being filtered the wine is finally bottled.

 

The wine is a very light straw yellow color.  The refreshing nose has green apples, kiwi, lemon zest and just a hint of ripe banana.  This is just barely medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples and kiwi grab your attention on the front end with tart, mouthwatering lemon zest coming in on the back end and lingering nicely on the long finish.  This is Spring in a bottle, ready to be your companion on a warm, sunny day.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (90 pts)

2016 Atlantis by Maetierra Albarino Rías Baixas

2016 Atlantis by Maetierra Albarino Rías Baixas

 

 

 

2016 Bodega Classica Rioja Hacienda López de Haro Blanco – SRP $9.99

This wine is Viura with lesser amounts of other varietals.  The Viura is from an old vineyard in the area of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (La Rioja).  The grapes were hand harvested during the entire month of October.   After fermentation, the wine was aged between 3 and 4 months in French oak barrels.

 

The wine is a very light and pale straw yellow color.  The delicate and enticing nose has tart apples, white peach, chalky minerals, citrus zest and a hint of spicy oak.  This is barely medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples, peaches and chalky minerals jump out quickly on the front end with lime zest slipping in later.  The finish has very nice length with lemon zest providing great depth and a touch of spicy oak comes in at the end.  This could use a bit of cellar time for the oak notes to better integrate.  This is a delicious white Rioja that will go with a wide variety of lighter meals.  This is very easy to sip and enjoy.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerate cork.  (92 pts)

2016 Bodega Classica Rioja Hacienda López de Haro Blanco

2016 Bodega Classica Rioja Hacienda López de Haro Blanco

 

 

Conclusion

These are both nicely nuanced, lighter bodied wines that would be a welcome addition to a meal any time of the year but especially on a warm, sunny day.

 

 

 

 

Rebekah Polster formed 401 West Communications in the winter 2016 after working in public relations and marketing for over 15 years. She has worked with a variety of brands, including: Wines from Rioja, Drink Ribera. Drink Spain, Wines from Spain, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, Yarden Wines of Israel, Grupo Codorníu, Francis Ford Coppola Wineries; Grey Goose Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Van Gogh Vodka, TAP Whisky, Grand Marnier; Valor Chocolates from Spain, Prosciutto di Parma; Joto Sake, illy caffe, Riedel and Spiegelau Crystal, Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Resorts.

 

Rebekah’s diverse background in public relations, marketing, event planning and account management has been tapped for overseeing major press, trade and consumer events, including day-of events and guerrilla marketing, small intimate tastings and press meetings. Rebekah has accumulated key contacts in the food and beverage industry, including sommeliers, mixologists, retailers and educators. She has cultivated a large rolodex of journalist contacts in food, beverage and lifestyle media, adding to the key placements generated for her clients.

 

Rebekah Polster

401 West Communications

President

917.583.5958

http://www.401westcomm.com/

 

 

 

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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