Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cliffs Wine Picks – May 2017 Vol 3

 

2013 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2008 Sleeper Brut Reserve Extended Tirage

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Ducale Oro

2010 Herman Story Larner Vineyard

2012 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range

2009 JC Cellars Syrah Fess Parker Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $39.00

This wine includes 7% Grand Noir for color and to add spice.  Half the grapes were fermented with indigenous yeast, the remainder was inoculated to increase complexity.  The was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, only 24% were new.  The total production this vintage was 275 cases.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The exotic nose is full of blackberries, plums, minerals, black pepper, baking spices and scorched earth.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, minerals, baking spices and black pepper jump out quickly on the front end with plums and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has great length with a nice mix of fruit and savory elements.  This tastes great now but some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 15.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2013 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2013 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

2008 Sleeper Brut Reserve Extended Tirage – $22

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 an original release price of about $75 from the winery.

 

This bubbly was produced by Robert Hunter Winery.  The family closed the winery after Robert’s death.  Last Bottle Wines bought a lot of their inventory.  Since the wine was ready for market but not yet labeled, it acquired the “Sleeper” label which is Last Bottle’s “in house” label.  This is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from the Sonoma Valley.

 

This is a straw yellow color with several streams of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The bright and appealing nose has tart green apples, minerals, yeasty bread, roasted nuts and lemon zest.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and great inner mouth effervescence.  On the palate green apples and minerals quickly grab your attention with yeasty bread and roasted nuts coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a healthy amount of mouthwatering lemon zest making you grab another sip.  This has 12.56% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (92 pts)

2008 Sleeper Brut Reserve Extended Tirage

2008 Sleeper Brut Reserve Extended Tirage

 

 

 

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Ducale Oro

Ruffino only produces this wine in outstanding vintages.  When they make Riserva Ducale Oro, the grapes by hand harvested, mostly from their Gretole estate in the Chianti Classico appellation.  The vineyard lots are vinified individually to preserve their specificity to the land.  The wine is aged in oak, stainless steel and concrete vats for 36 months, twelve months longer than required by Italian law.  The wine then spends additional months in bottle before release.  This Sangiovese wine includes some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, plums, leather, white pepper, scorched earth, tobacco, baking spices and cedar.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, leather and baking spices pop out immediately with white pepper and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has good length with a spicy cedar note and plums providing great depth.  This is drinking very nicely right now but will easily hold and maybe even improve for another five years or longer.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro

 

 

 

2010 Herman Story Larner Vineyard – $33.60

This is 65% Syrah and 35% Grenache.  The winery intended to produce separate wines from the Larner Vineyard, one Syrah and one Grenache.  During experimentation, they decided the blend was too good to pass up so this was produced and the two straight varietal wines were not produced.  The wine was aged in French oak, 80% new.  A total of 234 cases were produced.

 

This is a deep maroon color.  The exuberant nose has blackberries, roasted meat, warm baking spices, licorice, blueberries, dusty minerals, black cherries and road tar.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate massive fruit and spice quickly grab control with dusty minerals and more fruit coming in later.  The finish has good length with warm berries and spice.  This is a massive wine that doesn’t offer a lot of finesse but the big fruit and spice provide enough complexity to keep it from getting boring.  (90 pts)

2010 Herman Story Larner Vineyard

2010 Herman Story Larner Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range – $9.74

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.

 

This is a blend of 52% Syrah, 33% Petite Sirah, 8% Merlot, 5% Mourvedre and 2% Cabernet Franc.

 

This was a house favorite when we wanted “something different”.  Unfortunately the winery closed so there won’t be more down the road.  Luckily, Last Bottle bought everything the winery had available and sold the wine at an incredible price.  Last Bottle didn’t just buy the winery’s finished wines but also bought barrels the winery had aging in their cellar.  When those wines were ready, they were bottled and released by Last Bottle.  I’ll have reviews of those wines down the road since I stocked up on those offers.

 

The wine is a dark ruby to maroon color.  The appealing nose has crushed berries, licorice, black peppercorns, dried wild flowers, dusty minerals, fresh ground espresso beans and dry earth.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate berries, black pepper and minerals pop out first with dry earth and a nice dried floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with espresso beans providing depth.  This is a nice, easy drinking everyday wine, especially at the price.  I’d enjoy this one over the next 4 or 5 years.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (89 pts)

2012 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range

2012 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range

 

 

 

2009 JC Cellars Syrah Fess Parker Vineyard – $18.99

I loved the Rosenblum wines crafted by Jeff Cohn and have never been disappointed by the ones he has produced under his own label.  A few years ago, the winery dropped the “JC” initials and are labeled as Jeff Cohn Cellars.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has smoky, earthy berries, dark bittersweet chocolate, minerals, meat juices, black pepper, dried herbs, warm baking spices and just a touch of road tar.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to full tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the juicy, smoky berries grab hold, slowly allowing dried herbs, black pepper, and meaty elements to slip through.  The finish has nice length with some earthiness and dark chocolate being added to the mix.  This is in its’ prime drinking window and should hold for a couple of years.  Another winner from Jeff Cohn.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2009 JC Cellars Syrah Fess Parker Vineyard

2009 JC Cellars Syrah Fess Parker Vineyard

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Wine Trails and Hiking: Enjoying the Great Outdoors

 

 

This post was contributed by site supporter, Jennifer Bowen.  Jennifer used to work within the healthcare sector – working to help people with their diet, fitness and nutrition. After a short career break to become a mom she decided to turn to writing instead and now pens articles on the topics she knows most about.

 

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(Picture is a Hiking Boot Wine Bottle Holder Sculpture available from Amazon.)

 

 

Wine Trails and Hiking: Enjoying the Great Outdoors

It’s good news for wine lovers; studies show that a glass of vino can increase your heart health by increasing levels of ‘good’ cholesterol to guard against thickening of the arteries, as well as improving your mental health.  In moderation (as in all things), red wine can be good for you.  This really complements the idea of the wine tour, and of drinking in the glorious sunshine, surrounded by rolling hills of vines.  Wine, combined with outdoor exercise, is an ideal way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

 

Wine Vacations

A vacation centered around wine tours can actually be the perfect way to enjoy the sights and culture of a country and often combines quality tasting with solid exercise amid the verdant landscape.  As vines tend to be grown on high hillsides that offer the best drainage and sunshine, you will be walking a significant amount during your wine tour.

 

Napa Valley is an impressive region of California’s wine country, with its tiered hills and striking seasonal colors.  There is a plethora of wineries here to choose from and Calistoga is a particularly popular choice for visitors from around the world with its strong tradition of hospitality and superior wine tasting.  There are many recreational activities for wine lovers here and throughout Napa Valley, from hiking to biking and kayaking as well as hot air balloon rides.  Wine tasting and recreational activities combined create a vacation that is extremely healthy and in Napa Valley there are many towns and parks to visit to ensure you maintain that healthy workout.  The writer Robert Louis Stevenson visited the region in the 1880s and announced ‘wine is bottled poetry’.  Napa Valley is a highly respected area for wine making and this coupled with its breathtaking scenery has created a vision of wine tasting and walking in the foothills that is quite unrivalled.

 

Charlottesville, Virginia is a significant wine trail destination, as well as offering cultural history.  The Jefferson Vineyards is one of the wineries to discover, its land sold by Thomas Jefferson to an Italian viticulturist many years ago.  There are many vineyards to stroll through in this picturesque setting, where visitors absorb the heritage of the region.  The Monticello Artisan Trail connects many points of interest in the Nelson and Albemarle Counties, such as galleries, restaurants and farms against a backdrop of hazy mountains.  Monticello, the home of Jefferson, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a major attraction within Charlottesville for those exploring the region.  There are also hiking and horse riding opportunities, kayaking and rafting as well as high ropes adventures and skydiving.  The Rivanna Trail and the Appalachian Trail are ideal hikes close to Shenandoah National Park.

 

Outdoor Exercise

Hiking remains a popular outdoor activity, according to the paper Healthy Exercise for All Campaign – Physical Fitness Test for the Community.  Hiking demands a level of cardiovascular fitness, as it is a moderate aerobic exercise, and participating in 30 minutes or so of this type of physical activity each day brings health benefits to the participant.  Blood circulation is improved as well as cardiopulmonary function and heart disease, stroke, hypertension and certain cancers are reduced in risk.

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims that bone health also benefits from exercise.  Bone density and strength can be improved from exercise such as hiking, which is seen as one of the best bone building exercises as it is weight-bearing.

 

Physical activity such as hiking offers a moderate level of exercise to help you maintain a healthy weight and to increase your breathing and heart rate and thus give you a cardiovascular workout, but at a gentle pace.  Hiking can burn 185 calories in just half an hour and 370 calories in an hour.

 

Advice for Hiking through Wine Country

Walking is the most popular form of exercise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 30% of people preferring this over running, cycling or using cardiovascular equipment.

 

Whether you opt for sunny California, cultural Virginia, mystical Oregon or perhaps further afield to Tuscany in Italy, wine country is an ideal setting for a hiking vacation.  Because the terrain among vineyards is naturally hilly, you will find yourself burning an ample amount of calories as you walk.  The wine tour experience is one to be savored and it can be a heady one too; remember to drink responsibly as you traverse through the vineyards.  You may burn off the calories you absorb, but wine should always be treated with respect and tasted rather than gulped down.  It should complement your inner strength and help you maintain that healthy lifestyle, and this is only achieved if wine is drunk in moderation, according to government advice.  The beauty of hiking while you enjoy these wine tours is that you will be exercising for recreation, rather than focusing on your workout.

 

Wine and outdoor exercise complements each other significantly and ensures that you maintain an appropriate level of physical activity during your tour through wine country.

 

Citations and Further Reading

http://napavalley.com/wineries/ accessed September 2014

http://travel.usnews.com/Napa_Valley_CA/Travel_Tips/ accessed September 2014

http://www.visitcharlottesville.org/visitors/things-to-do/outdoors/ accessed September 2014

http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Exercise/default.asp accessed September 2014

http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-tips.htm accessed September 2014

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html?s_cid=govD_dnpao_006 accessed September 2014

http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2008/sports/ accessed September 2014

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=23904 accessed September 2014

http://www.fitness.gov accessed September 2014

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 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:

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 my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Jan 13, 2014 to Jan 19, 2014

 

 

2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Gold Mine Ranch

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

2011 Michael Pozzan Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

2005 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

 

 

 

2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Gold Mine Ranch – $31.00

There were only 180 cases of this wine produced.  There is a touch of Carignane blended in with the Zinfandel.

 

This has 15.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very open and opulent nose has raspberries, licorice, dried flowers, cherries, black pepper, dried herbs, warm baking spices and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Sweet, warm berry pie greets the palate and almost immediately is joined by cherries, black pepper and herbs with some building earthiness coming in late.  The finish has very nice length but a bit of alcohol is peeking through the seams.  This isn’t as bit and rich as some Carlisle zinfandels, this is more Pinot like and elegant.  I’d recommend drinking this one sooner rather than later before the alcohol gets too out of control on the back end and finish.  (91 pts)

2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Gold Mine Ranch

2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Gold Mine Ranch

 

 

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue – $8.54

This is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah from 40 year old vineyards.

 

This has 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is garnet red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, black olives, scorched earth, cherries, dried herbs, and wood smoke.  This has medium body, moderate chalky tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements co-exist peacefully with neither trying to steal the show.  The finish has nice length and leans on the savory side of the spectrum.  This isn’t one to stash away, open this one over the next few years and enjoy.  Offers great QPR if you can find it for under $10.  (89 pts)

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

 

 

2011 Michael Pozzan Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – $15.38

I’m always on the look out for $15 Pinot Noirs for week nights.  This is a tough category but there are a few gems out there.

 

This has 13.5% ABV and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright, semi-transparent red color.  The soft and relaxing nose has cherries, baking spices, earthy underbrush, strawberries and a touch of licorice.  This wine is barely medium bodied with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and spice pop out first with strawberries and earthy elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length but gets a touch thin and shows a bit of scratchy oak.  A nice under $20 Russian River Pinot.  (88 pts)

2011 Michael Pozzan Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2011 Michael Pozzan Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha – $29.75

This is a blend of 60% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache and 10% each Mourvedre and Carignan from Paso Robles.  There were only 375 cases of this wine produced.

 

This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color, much lighter at the edge.  An outstanding nose with raspberries, black cherries, minerals, vanilla, dark chocolate, dried flowers, baking spices, dried herbs and some earthiness.  Fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  Nice spicy fruit on the palate with savory elements kicking in on the back end.  The long finish highlighted by the spicy fruit and just a bit oak and dried herbs.  Just entering a prime drinking window, enjoy this one over the next 3 to 4 years.  The best vintage yet for this perennial favorite.  (93 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

 

 

2005 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah – $14.99

This winery produces some of my favorite Petite Sirah wines out there.  This was purchased for about half price from Wines Till Sold Out (WTSO.com).

 

This wine has 12.84% alcohol and the bottle was sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The appealing nose has blackberries, baking spices, black pepper, minerals, underbrush, and a hint of band aid or adhesive tape (bret).  The wine is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  Nice spicy, peppery fruit on the palate with some earthiness and minerals in the background.  Once again, there is just a slight hint of band aid on the palate, but it actually adds to the palate instead of coming across as a flaw.  The finish is a touch short but nice earthy berries are good while they last.  If you are overly sensitive to the band aid influences of bret, you will hate this wine, if you think a touch of bret isn’t necessarily bad, you’ll like it.  I’m in the like it but not love it camp.  With the nice balance, solid tannins and acidity, this should last in the cellar for several more years.  (90 pts)

2005 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

2005 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

 

It was a cold, snowy day here in the upper Midwest.  We decided to enjoy a comfort food favorite from our years in Texas.  We made up some Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and covered everything with some cream gravy.  This was a perfect accompaniment with the Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah.

Chicken Fried Steak

 

 

 

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio – $16.06

This is a blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 30% Grenache that was aged in concrete tanks for 8 months.

 

This has 15% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberry liqueur, blueberries, minerals, dying wood embers, scorched earth, baking spices, violets, and a touch of vanilla.  This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the dark berries and spice coat the palate slowly allowing some earthiness, minerals, and a floral note to break through. The finish is long and nicely layered.  This is on the young side but it opened nicely after about 45 minutes.  (93 pts)

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Jan 3, 2014 to Jan 5, 2014

 

 

2007 Elyse Petite Sirah Barrel Select

2009 Lewis Cellars Syrah Ethan’s

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Elyse Petite Sirah Barrel Select – $20.83

I’ve been a big fan of the quality red wines being produced by Elyse for many years.  The winery was one of the first we visited on our first trip to wine country.  This is an outstanding winery with equally outstanding people selling their wines at very consumer friendly prices.

 

This wine has 14.7% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky maroon color, almost black.  The very expressive nose is full of crushed blackberries, minerals, blueberries, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate, warm baking spices, and vanilla.  This has medium to full body, solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the spicy blackberries and minerals hit first and slowly allow some coffee and chocolate to peak through.  The finish is long and full of berries and dark chocolate with nice spice and coffee adding depth.  This is on the young side but is starting to show some impressive complexity.  I’m sure this will be even better in another couple of years.  This isn’t made in a massively ripe style, the alcohol is a manageable 14.7%.  This will easily last another decade.  (93 pts)

2007 Elyse Petite Sirah Barrel Select

2007 Elyse Petite Sirah Barrel Select

 

 

2009 Lewis Cellars Syrah Ethan’s – $33.24

I’m not as big a fan as most people.  The winery has a cult like following but I’m just one of those people.  I generally grab a few bottles when I can get them at great prices, but I don’t hunt them down and I never pay full price.

 

This has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, opaque purple color.  The stunning nose is full of crushed berries, minerals, charred meat, scorched earth, vanilla, violets and dark chocolate.  This full bodied wine has fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate, the wine is big and brawny but the tannins and acidity hold everything together.  The initial assault on your palate is quickly reined in and held together through the long finish.  As should be expected from the winery, this is not a wine for the timid or for someone looking for a subtle, nuanced wine.  This will club you over the head and leave you asking for more.  (91 pts)

2009 Lewis Cellars Syrah Ethan's

2009 Lewis Cellars Syrah Ethan’s

 

 

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard – $75.00

I’ve been on the Myriad mailing list since the beginning.  This will be my first bottle of one of their pricier wines, but I know I’ll love it since even their lower end wines have all been outstanding.

 

This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The intense and spellbinding nose has cassis, cedar, tobacco, dusty minerals, blueberries, dried herbs, candied violets, licorice, dark chocolate and some earthiness.  This has medium to full body, solid tannins and good acidity.  Fruit and dried herbs explode on the rich and plush palate slowly allowing minerals, cedar and licorice to squeeze into the picture.  The finish is very long with dark chocolate and some earthiness joining the party.  This is very young but already delicious, drink it now with a fair amount of air or let it rest a couple more years.  (95 pts)

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard

 

 

Blog Update

I’m going to be changing the blog a bit over the next couple of weeks.  Instead of twice a week updates, I’ll be posting one blog covering all the wines for the week, except for one wine.  I will post one blog a week highlighting my “Wine of the Week”.  Since it seems like no one really follows links to sites I suggest or comments on winery/wine information, I will eliminate the information from the normal blog.  I will add extra “color” and links to my wine of the week post.  I will still be posting separate blogs for events and samples provided to me, these should not change too much.

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Dec 30, 2013 to Jan 2, 2014

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly

N.V. Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

1995 Weingut Franz-Joseph Justen-Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese

2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly – $35.46

Big Basin has been a personal favorite for several years.  I was on their “Rhone Lover’s” mailing list for a few years.  The winery also produces Pinot Noir based wines but I’ve not had the opportunity to try those yet.  This wine is a blend of 62% Grenache and 38% Syrah from California’s Santa Cruz Mountains.  There were less than 2 barrels produced of this wine.

 

This has 15.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, saturated ruby color.  The spellbinding nose has black cherries, raspberries, minerals, cola, potpourri, Asian spices and dark chocolate.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate this is fully loaded and nicely layered with nice balance between the fruit and savory elements.  The finish has very nice length with some slowly building dark chocolate entering the picture.  No big hurry with this one, but I wouldn’t let it spend more than a few years in the cellar.  For now the alcohol is nicely buried but no guarantees as the wine ages.  (92 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly

 

 

It was an extremely cold day up here, with the high struggling to get above 0.  This was perfect weather for one of our favorite cold weather meals, Baked Potato Soup.  The soup is thick and creamy and delicious.

 

We use the recipe from The Machine Shed.

Baked Potato Soup

 

 

 

N.V. Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve – $49.99

This has quickly become our “house” Champagne.  For several years we weren’t really big sparkling wine consumers, but this one has opened our minds to venture out and start experimenting and drinking them more often.

 

This had 12.0% alcohol and had a disgorged date of April 2012.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale golden straw color with tiny, persistent bubbles.  The very alluring nose had apples, yeasty bread, lemon zest, minerals, and a slight toasted nut element.  The wine is light and crisp with nice effervescence.  On the palate tart apples, yeast and lemon zest grabs hold and slowly allows chalky minerals, some melon, and a nice herbal note to slip into the picture.  The finish has nice length with lemon zest, minerals, and a yeasty note leaving a crisp and clean closing impression.  (92 pts)

N.V. Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve

N.V. Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve

 

 

2008 Saxum Broken Stones – $75.00

Saxum.  There are more expensive wines coming out of California, but is there a more popular mailing list out there?  I remember a glitch in their system allowed people to place their orders before the actual e-mails were even sent.  The wines sold out almost immediately.  Since that time, the wines have gone up in price considerably but still sell out.  This wine is a blend of 79% Syrah, 13% Grenache and 8% Mourvedre.

 

The wine has 15.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and a wax seal.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The intoxicating nose is full of blackberries, minerals, black pepper, blueberries, dried flowers, toasted Asian spices, roasted herbs and vanilla.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy, mineral driven fruit grabs hold and slowly relents to allow black pepper and roasted herbs to slip though.  The finish is very long and layered with a nice candied violet note coming into the picture.  This is on the young side but absolutely stunning with some air.  (96 pts)

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

 

 

1995 Weingut Franz-Joseph Justen-Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese – $28.93

Far and away, our favorite white wine is a German Riesling with some age on it, in this case a 19 year old Auslese.  These wines are delicious when young but turn magical with a decade or two in your wine cellar.  One of the best sources for reasonably priced, winery cellared, aged German wines is Garagiste Wine out of Washington.  I highly recommend checking out and joining their e-mail list.

 

This wine has 7.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shimmering golden yellow color.  The irresistible nose has apples, honey, petrol, orange blossoms, minerals and orange zest.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity and nice sweetness.  On the palate, tart apples dipped in honey hits first with orange zest and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish is extremely long with apples and orange citrus acidity very slowly fading away.  Tastes outstanding today but will last in the cellar for many more years.  (95 pts)

1995 Weingut Franz-Joseph Justen-Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese

1995 Weingut Franz-Joseph Justen-Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese

 

 

2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve – $38.25

I had the good fortune to split a case of this wine with a friend who was on the winery’s mailing list.  Even though I’m a big fan of the ripe and rich style of Pinot Noir being made in California, I also very much enjoy Oregon Pinot Noir.

 

This wine has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice red to ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherries, baking spices (think cherry pie), some earthiness, fresh wild flowers, minerals, smoke, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This is fresh and lively on the palate with cherries and spice carrying the load until some earthy elements come into the picture on the back end adding depth.  The finish is long and easy going with the bright cherries and spice again doing the heavy lifting.  This may be on the young side but it is very approachable and enjoyable, which really is all that counts.  (94 pts)

2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

2008 Belle Pente Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

 

 

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar – $29.99

It may put me in the “uncool” camp but I still love an occasional Australian Shiraz.  I avoid the low end offerings that inevitably end up in “close out” sales, but there are outstanding bargains out there in high end wines if you look around.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The rich and luxurious nose has blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, vanilla, smoked meat, dried herbs, warm baking spices and some earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This is a massive wine on the palate with loads of spicy, peppery berries with a nice smoked meat element followed by spicy oak and dried herbs.  The finish is very long and like the palate, packed with flavor.  No subtlety and not the most complex wine out there, but very balanced and tasty.  Not a wine for everyone nor an everyday wine, but on occasion, this one will rock.  This is still on the young side, it should improve with additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Dec 27, 2013 to Dec 29, 2013

 

 

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden

 

 

 

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva – $19.99

It’s been a few years since I tried this wine.  A nice price, a very good vintage and a WS Top 100 selection lead me to grab a couple bottles.  Time to see if I agree with the WS 93 point score or the WA 85+ score.

 

This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice maroon color, much lighter at the edge.  The comforting nose has black cherry, minerals, baking spices, licorice, violets, vanilla and some earthy underbrush.  This is barely medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the mineral laden cherries and spice kick off the show with spicy oak and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with cherries and earthy elements carrying the load.  (91 pts)

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva

 

 

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara – $37.99

We’re pretty big fan of Italian Amarone wines.  Unfortunately, they aren’t a low priced wine.  When the local store brought these in and put them on the shelf for about half price, I had to grab a few bottles.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The easy going and soothing nose has black cherries, minerals, licorice, warm baking spices, dark chocolate and dried flowers.  This has a full body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy fruit and minerals dominate the front end with dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and loaded with spicy fruit.  This is on the young side but tastes marvelous.  (92 pts)

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara

 

 

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon – $45.00

For whatever reason, this wasn’t a wine I bought regularly from the Turley mailing list.  I don’t know the exact reason but I only grabbed a bottle every couple of years.  I like this wine when I open a bottle, but with the low volume of purchases, one isn’t opened very often.

 

This wine has 16.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very appealing nose has briary berries, minerals, licorice, black pepper, dried flowers, leather and some cedar.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  This wine is loaded on the palate, full of berries, minerals and pepper with cedar and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length and outstanding balance to support and conceal the high alcohol.  This seems to have the stuffing to age but I’d be afraid of the alcohol becoming too prominent if cellared longer than a couple more years at most.  (93 pts)

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon

 

 

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden – $34.99

Two Hands is a perennial favorite in the house.  Just about every wine they’ve made has been a welcome addition to my wine cellar.  Unfortunately, their “Garden” series wines have become so popular around the globe, it’s become hard to find them at a decent price.

 

This has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color. There are crushed berries, minerals, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, smoked meat, black pepper, vanilla, black cherries, Asian spices, and violets on the very inviting nose. This is fairly full bodied with nice, ripe tannins and good acidity. The wine is big, bold, and ripe on the palate with no raisin or syrupy notes. The palate features nice juicy, spicy berries with some oak in the background with minerals, meat, and dark chocolate. There is a long, lingering finish with the spicy berries lingering seemingly forever. This may not be for everyone, but if you want an in your face Shiraz, look no further.  (94 pts)

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella's Garden

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden

 

 

For us, the best part of having a bone-in half ham over the holiday season is making a batch of Red Beans and Rice with the bone and scraps of ham and andouille sausage.  Thankfully, today was Red Beans and Rice day.

Red Beans and Rice

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Dec 23, 2013 to Dec 26, 2013

 

 

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

 

 

 

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard – $33.00

This is another of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced.  Thus far, every one has been outstanding.  This one is a Grenache from the Russell Family Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

This has 14.9% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from CottonwoodCanyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

 

I’d made about 3 trips around the booths at the tasting without finding a single good Pinot Noir.  So, being the open minded person that I am (remember I passed him up 3 times), I stopped at the Cottonwood booth.  I was BLOWN away by Norm’s 1990 Santa Maria Pinot Noir.  After a few years of attending every Cottonwood event and asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking, he offered to let come learn the process during the ’97 crush.  I checked sugar levels, picked, crushed, punched down, pressed, filled barrels, and generally moved a bunch of stuff around with fork lifts and pallet jacks!  It was the time of my life… I was totally hooked.  And even though I hadn’t planned it, I ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir.  That was the start of the Loring Wine Company.  What had started out as a dream 15 years earlier was now a reality – I was a winemaker!

 

My Tasting Note

Bright red color with a slight ruby tint.  The comforting nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, raspberries, roasted leafy herbs, licorice, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is rich and lush with juicy cherries, berries and spice up front with raspberries and white pepper kicking in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with roasted herbs adding some complexity.  This is fairly ripe and juicy but with nice acidity holding everything together.  I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar for too long, but it should drink nicely for at least the next 5 years.  (91 pts)

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

 

 

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra – $37.00

I was working on my list of my top 10 wines of the year and this wine may find a spot on the list.  I remembered I still had a few bottles in the cellar, I decided to open one for Christmas Eve.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

In 1990, Roman Bratasiuk embarked on a truly remarkable wine making journey.  His vision: to create single vineyard wines equal to anything in the world.  Quite simply.  Working with old, dry-grown vines and performing every step of the process by hand, Roman sought to redefine the Australian fine wine landscape by solely conveying the imprint a vineyard forges on the varietal expression.  Every year a pragmatic and calculated Clarendon Hills learns a little more about our vineyards and pushes a little further to propel each one of our 100% varietal wines to the pinacle of their capability.

 

Please join Roman and the Clarendon Hills family in celebrating our 19 single vineyard, 100% varietal wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky, purple color.  The spellbinding nose has charred meat, blackberries, smoke, roasted herbs, blueberries, black pepper, vanilla, licorice, minerals, Asian spices, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, ripe and velvety tannins, and good acidity.  The palate on this wine is out of the world with the berries, roasted herbs, and black pepper slowly giving way to spicy, meaty elements and dark chocolate.  The finish is extremely long and highlights the spice, meat, and roasted herbs.  This is the complete package.  Outstanding!  No hurry on this one, it has years of life ahead of it.  (96 pts)

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

 

 

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3 – $23.74

We are BIG fans of nicely aged German Rieslings.  The sugary sweetness these wines show in their youth melds with the citrusy acidity over the years to form a magical elixir that becomes a rich wine with just enough acidity on the back end to leave you grabbing the glass for another sip.

 

This wine has 8.5% alcohol by volume and was sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

As is usual for a lot of the smaller, European wineries, not a lot of information seems to be available on the internet.  I also can’t find anything on CellarTracker for this winery since the 1995 vintage.  This leads me to think it no longer exists.  I can recite Jon Rimmerman’s (from Garagiste Wine) silky prose, but I don’t want this to sound like a sales pitch.  All I will say is, if you like older German Rieslings that have generally been in perfect condition, at really nice prices, check out http://garagiste.com/ and sign up for the list.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow color with a slight golden tint. The rich and inviting nose has apples, white peaches, stony minerals, petrol, white pepper, honey, lime zest, and a touch of pineapple. This has a light to medium body, nice residual sweetness, and good citrus driven acidity to keep it in perfect balance. The finish is very long with the initial sweetness slowly giving way to a nice blast of mouthwatering lemon-lime acidity. At 19 years of age, this still seems to be on the young side. I look forward to enjoying my remaining bottles on the wine’s evolution over the next decade.  (94 pts)

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

 

 

For Christmas Eve dinner, we made our traditional dinner.  This is a recipe from the New Orleans based “The Gumbo Shop”.  It is called Crawfish and Pasta with Tasso Cream.  It is very rich and slightly spicy from Cayenne Pepper.

Crawfish and Pasta with Tasso Cream Sauce

 

 

 

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County – $15.38

It has been a few years since I had a bottle of Byron wine.  When I saw this 2012 Pinot Noir on the local store’s shelf for a touch over $15, I decided it was worth a try.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

The Winery

To conserve energy and natural resources, we’ve moved our production to our next door neighbor, Cambria Estate. Within their spacious cellars we’ve been able to reconstruct Byron. We have our own crush pad, our own individual barrel storage rooms and even our prized sorting table. Our focus continues to be high quality, hand-made, small-lot wines from Santa Barbara’s finest vineyards including our Estate Nielson Vineyard.

 

Byron will continue to produce balanced, opulent, and pure wines.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a touch lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The interesting nose has black cherries, raspberries, baking spices, earthy underbrush, white pepper, and violets.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and it has good acidity.  On the palate the tart, spicy fruit jumps out first with nice earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with a slight herbal note coming into the picture.  Not a lot of complexity, but it is a very nice, week night Pinot especially if you can grab it for around $15.  (89 pts)

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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