Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cliffs Wine Picks – Dec 16, 2013 to Dec 19, 2013

 

 

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co.

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282 – $24.00

As is usually the case with Cameron Hughes wines, they don’t disclose the source of the wines they sell.

 

That said, when this wine was offered for sell, their information included the following:

Lot 282 2009 Rutherford Cabernet is perfectly suited for the task with impeccable provenance from one of Napa Valley’s flagship Cabernet producers.  Sourced from the well-drained alluvial soils of the west side of Rutherford appellation, this wine explodes with rich and ripe, yet elegant, fruit.  Classically proportioned one would say.  The source winery approached us last fall and we contracted quite a few different 2009 Cabernet’s that they then barreled down for us until we removed them last summer for bottling.  The best of them is this 2009 Rutherford Cabernet (their $80 Rutherford appellation Cabernet being their consistently best rated wine with the 2008 scoring 93+ from Parker).  Lot 282 is the exact same wine they bottled for the 2009 vintage under their own label.  How do I know this?  Not only because they told us as much but because they sold us the entire production at first and then asked very nicely last spring with the economy looking better if they couldn’t have some back.

 

This was enough information to do some digging.  The fact that the 2008 vintage of this $80, Rutherford Cab was given a score of 93+ by the Wine Advocate was enough to determine this wine is actually the 2009 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford.  It was the only wine that met those very specific criteria.  Since this was a wine I had and very much enjoyed in the past, this was an absolute no-brainer.  Don’t bother looking for this deal now, I bought a case back in 2011 and this wine is long gone from the Cameron Hughes store.

 

I will note, this is my first bottle from that purchase but I did sell a few bottles to friends at cost.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The inviting nose has cassis, dusty minerals, baking spices, toasty oak, tobacco, licorice and violets.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spice lead the charge with minerals and toasty oak coming in on the back end.   The finish has very nice length with a nice mix of fruit and the savory elements.  This is drinking very nicely today but will hold and maybe improve for a few years in the cellar.  This was an absolute steal at $24.  (92 pts)

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282

 

 

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante – $23.81

This wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc and 33% Alicante.

 

This was a Garagiste offering back in November 2008.  The wine sounded good, as is usually the case when Jon Rimmerman preaches about a wine’s virtues.  The wine arrived and was placed in the cellar for a bit of bottle aging.  Here it is, 5 years later and I haven’t opened a bottle.  Tonight’s the night to see how I did with this blind leap of faith.

 

This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

The Azienda Agricolo Forestale RIGOLOCCIO is located in the Gavorrano district in the heart of the Maremma of Grosseto, an area rich in history and tradition.  Due to the mild climate and the rich soil, the Etruscans chose to settle here giving rise to famous settlements such as Vetulonia, Populonia as well as those at LakeAccesa and Poggio Castiglione, visible from Rigoloccio.

 

This area is in the Metallifere Hills, so called because of the wealth of minerals in the subsoil.  Mining became the main employment of the local inhabitants, able to cope with the dangerous and arduous labor thereby developing a civilization which drew its wealth from metalworking and was vital to the development of a district rich in art.  In addition to the mines, the area is characterized by beautiful countryside with its carefully tended gardens, framed by rows of vines and olive groves that bring to mind the unforgettable landscapes of the Impressionists.

 

Olive trees and vines have always been a vital resource for the survival of the inhabitants of the Maremma.  Vines were grown here before anywhere else in Italy!  It was the Etruscans who first imported the vitis vinifera from the ancient Greek islands, thereby beginning the production of wine which has been uninterrupted to this day.

 

In recent years interest in “good wine” has been increasing, consequently the techniques of cultivation and wine making have moved on.  Well known wine specialists and bold new entrepreneurs in this field are developing important new vineyards.  All this is helping to make the Maremma the new Eldorado of good, new wines.  So it is with the Azienda Agricolo Forestale RIGOLOCCIO, a vineyard of 23 hectares in the foothills of the Maremma.  It overlooks the Gulf of Follonica and the island of Elba from where the soft sea breezes emanate.  Rigoloccio (named after one of the mines) is sheltered from the northern winds and gently touched by the sun from dawn to dusk.  This is a paradise, like many others in Maremma, with a soil rich in minerals and microelements that make the land unique and ideal for the cultivation of vines and the production of good wine.  The whole is crowned by olive groves and an oak wood.

 

In 2002 the dream of a new vineyard at Rigoloccio started to take shape under the guidance of the renowned wine maker Fabrizio Moltard.  The choice of vines was bold: Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Alicante produce the red wines and Chardonnay and Fiano combine giving birth to a new and intriguing white wine.  The aim was the production of good wines of the order of the Supertuscans and this has been achieved through inspiration and international experience.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet to purple color.  The stunning nose has cassis, minerals, dried herbs, licorice, charcoal, leather, plums, dried wild flowers and a touch of cedar.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart fruit and minerals dominate the front end with dried herbs, charcoal and cedar coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a subtle herbal note creeping into the picture as the tannins turn just a touch chalky.  A very nice wine with food but, as with most Italian wines, not one to sip on its own.  This will drink very nicely over the next couple of years.  (90 pts)

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante

 

 

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co. – $18.21

This wine’s normal price is in the $45 to $49 range, which I feel is WAY too high.  The community average price in CellarTracker for this wine is over $28, which is again pushing the limit.  Luckily I was able to grab half a case for well under $20.  That makes it a good Napa Valley Cab at a price that won’t break the bank when consumed on a week night, especially for an aged Cabernet is in its’ prime drinking window.

 

I’ve had a couple bottles that I liked and rated 89-90 points.

 

The wine has 13.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle has a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery was founded in 1881 by Henry Hagen.  One of their wines won a Silver Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889.  At that time, Cedar Knoll was one of Napa’s premier wineries.  The winery was a victim of Prohibition and was closed for close to 80 years.  Cedar Knoll is now owned by the Palmaz family.  They have resurrected the vineyards and restored the original Hagen house.  The vineyards occupy 55 acres and are located just northeast of the city of Napa.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color, much lighter at the edge.  The very nice and appealing nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, cherry, smoke, tobacco, raspberry, baking spices, and a touch of well worn leather.  This has medium body, good acidity, and fairly integrated tannins.  On the palate the wine has silky smooth fruit up front with spices and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with some spicy oak adding an extra dimension.  Not a lot of complexity but this is in a nice place right now.  This probably should be consumed over the next year or two before the fruit starts to fade.  (89 pts)

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co.

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co.

 

 

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT – $16.62

I bought 6 bottles of this wine from a local wine store e-mail offer based on a solid recommendation from a fellow wine lover.  This “Super Tuscan” is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah.

 

This is listed at 13% alcohol and has a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

The wine cellar of Borgo Scopeto renewed and enlarged over the last few years, is equipped with the most modern technology for vinification.

 

The cellar is composed of 50 stainless steel tanks with capacities that range from 11 to 260 hectolitres, for a total of 7000 hectolitres.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color, lighter at the edge.  The appealing nose has cherries, warm baking spices, blackberries, white pepper, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very good acidity.  Tart, spicy, earthy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and some chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length and is an extension of the palate with just a touch of spicy oak creeping into the picture.  For a very young wine, this is drinking very nicely today.  This should improve with another year in the cellar and drink well for a few additional years.  (91 pts)

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

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 – California Wine Club with Claiborne and Churchill

 

 

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

 

 

2012 Claiborne and Churchill Edelzwicker Proprietors’ Blend

2009 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Noir

 

 

cwc-logo

 

 

 About California Wine Club

 

Some of California’s Best Wine Can’t Be Found in Local Stores.

 

The California Wine Club is owned by Bruce and Pam Boring and has been around since 1990.

 

Here is how they describe their company:

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and learn about our wine of the month programs!

 

For years Pam and I were frustrated trying to find truly great wine. Selecting a decent bottle of wine from thousands of pretty labels with prices ranging from $5-$35 was difficult at the best of times. We were always happiest with wine recommendations from friends.

 

So, that’s what we wanted to do with The California Wine Club, start a wine of the month club that was just like “one friend recommending a great bottle of wine to another friend”.

 

We are now celebrating 23 years of business and the wine adventures keep getting better! Pam and I knew that there were hundreds of small, family-owned wineries dedicated to producing exceptional wine … and it was this wine that we wanted to share with our monthly wine club members. Each month we travel California’s wine country searching out the wineries, meeting the families and tasting the wines that never make it to local stores or wine shops.

 

All the details are available on their site by clicking here.

 

 

CA Wine Club Options

With five wine of the month clubs to choose from, they have wine selections and wine gifts to suit all tastes and all budgets. To learn more click any of the following links:

 

Premier Series – Our original and most popular club!

Signature Series – For collectors and connoisseurs!

International Selections – From small “mom & pop” wineries around the world.

Aged Cabernet Series – Napa’s most prestigious Cabernets aged 8 – 12 years.

Pacific Northwest Series – Discover limited-production, award-winning wines from Oregon and Washington.

 

The California Wine Club is a different kind of wine of the month club…a difference you’ll taste with your first shipment!

 

 

Special offer for Cliff’s Wine Picks readers, get 50% off your first 3 months.  Click here for this special offer.

 

 

Wine Reorders and pricing

If you get a wine from one of their clubs and have to get more, it’s quick and easy.  Go to their Wine Reorder page and select the wines you want to purchase for up to 50% off normal retail prices.  A bonus is that you can purchase the wines even if you aren’t a member of one of the plans.  If you want to check out their selections and great prices, visit the Wine Reorder page by clicking here.  Note that purchases must be in 6 or 12 bottle increments and mixed cases are allowed.  You don’t have to order a solid case of a wine to get their great pricing.  Be warned, after checking out their selections and pricing, there’s a good chance you’ll be joining one of their wine clubs.

 

Price is always a big consideration when making wine purchases.  The California Wine Club prices, in a word, ROCK!  As an example, the Pinot Noir included in my shipment has a “tasting room” price of $30 but reorders are only $12.99 a bottle.  The Edelzwicker has an $18 release price but reorders were only $10.99 a bottle.

 

Their packaging

Besides the wine, my package included a “newsletter” called Uncorked.  This 12 page, full color publication was full of great information.  The info included a nice story on the winery, write ups about the wines including technical info and “insider” information from the owner/winemaker.  The newsletter also included a nice recipe for an Alsatian Onion Tart as well as a list of some previous wine selections still available via the company.

 

 

About Claiborne and Churchill

Claiborne & Churchill is a small, family-owned winery founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill.  Former teachers at the University of Michigan (Clay specialized in Old Norse Languages and Literatures and Fredericka taught German), the couple left the “Groves of Academe” for the vineyards of California in 1981 in order to start a new life in the wine industry.  Clay began as a “cellar rat” in a local winery, learning the business from the ground up (actually underground), and soon the two were encouraged to start their own wine production in that host facility.

 

With its first crush in 1983 Claiborne & Churchill announced its special focus, producing 565 cases of Dry Gewürztraminer and Dry Riesling, modeled on the fruity but dry dinner wines of the French province of Alsace.  Claiborne & Churchill now produces about 10,000 cases of wine a year, purchasing grapes from vineyards in the cool maritime valleys of California’s CentralCoast.  About two-thirds of these wines remain our signature wines, the Dry Riesling and Dry Gewürztraminer, which are sold all over the country (and abroad) by a network of brokers and distributors.  A variety of other wines, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as other wines in the Alsatian style (Pinot Gris, Dry Muscat, and an Edelzwicker), are produced in small lots and can be ordered directly from the winery.

 

In 1995 Clay and Fredericka completed construction on their new and permanent winery building.  This structure, a noteworthy example of environmental architecture, is a “straw bale building,” the first of its kind in California.  With sixteen-inch thick walls made of bales of rice straw, the winery is so well insulated that it maintains a constant cellar temperature, without the need for mechanical cooling or heating.

 

At Claiborne & Churchill traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation and barrel-aging (even with Riesling and Gewürztraminer), minimal manipulation of juice and wine, “natural” or spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeast, and limited use of SO2, all in the belief that the winemaker’s task is to bring out the flavor and character that is latent in the grape.  Our aim is to create pleasurable dinner wines in which there is a harmonious balance of fruit and oak, structure and texture.

 

For much more information, visit:  Claiborne & Churchill Website

 

The lineup for this tasting:

CA Wine Club Line up

 

 

 

2012 Claiborne and Churchill Edelzwicker Proprietors’ Blend – SRP $18

This wine is a blend of 47.5% Gewurztraminer, 47.5% Riesling, 2.5% Pinot Gris and 2.5% Pinot Blanc from various vineyards on California’s CentralCoast.

 

This is sealed with a twist off cap and has 12.9% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color.  The very refreshing nose has apples, honey, spice, orange blossoms, lemon zest, and a faint petrol note.  This wine has light to medium body, is off dry and has decent acidity.  This has a creamy mouth feel and a jolt of closing citrusy acidity.  On the palate this tastes like crisp, tart apples that were dipped in honey and sprinkled with spices and citrus zest.  The finish has decent length with the apples and spice lingering nicely.  This would be wonderful on its own or with a light meal on a warm, sunny day on the deck or patio.  Not a wine for deep thoughts or contemplation, just twist off the top and enjoy.  (87 pts)

2012 Claiborne and Churchill Edelzwicker Proprietors' Blend

2012 Claiborne and Churchill Edelzwicker Proprietors’ Blend

 

 

2009 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Noir – SRP $30

This 100% Pinot Noir was produced using grapes from several vineyards in the EdnaValley.  The finished wine was aged in French oak barrels for 10 months.

 

This has 13.8% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shade or two darker than medium ruby.  The interesting nose has raspberries, earthy underbrush, cola, cherries, warm baking spices, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  The palate is highlighted by tart cherries and spices with earthiness and raspberries coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with the earthiness and spicy cherries slowly fading away.  (89 pts)

 

This would pair nicely with your holiday dinner or with chicken any time of the year.

2009 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Noir

2009 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Noir

 

 

 

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 13, 2013 to Dec 15, 2013

 

 

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2008 Keplinger Lithic

 

 

 

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard – $59.00

I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years.  A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release.  Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smoothen out and open up.

 

This wine has 13.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

At Rhys Vineyards we aspire to make great Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from some of California’s most unique and expressive vineyards.  This pursuit has lead us to search the state for exciting rocky soils that exist within the mountainous, cool, Coastal climate zone.   Over the last 15 years we have developed seven estate vineyards, six in the Santa Cruz Mountains and one in Anderson Valley, each of which is capable of producing uniquely compelling, distinctive, soil driven wine.

 

More information on Rhys is available on their website.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The sensuous nose has cherries, strawberries, baking spices, minerals, wild flowers, raspberries, and a touch of cedar.  This is barely medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Tart cherries and spice leads off on the palate with minerals, strawberries and a touch of spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has good length with bright fruit and oak driven spice carrying the load.  This is still on the young side but very tasty and food friendly.  (95 pts)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon – $40.00

For the last few years I’ve felt Big Basin was one of the wineries to keep an eye on.  I think they are one big score away from popping onto most wine drinker’s radar.  Could they become the next Saxum?  In my opinion, the sky is the limit for this winery.

 

This is a blend of 57% Santa Cruz County Syrah and 43% Monterrey County Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

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

 

Winery history

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, with a new winery building completed in 2003.  Proprietor and wine maker Bradley Brown sources his wines from three Estate Vineyards – Rattlesnake Rock, Old Corral Block and Homestead Block.  All of the Estate vineyards are planted to Alban Selections on steep hillsides with mudstone and shale soils – 7 acres of Syrah, 2 acres of Grenache and 1 acre of Roussanne – and are farmed organically.  Additionally, Bradley works closely with Coastview Vineyard located at 2400 ft on a mountain top in the Gabilan Mountains overlooking the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay (several miles due south of Mt. Harlan).  He has contracted with the vineyard to purchase Syrah planted in 1998 and to bud over certain sections of the vineyard to Pinot Noir and Grenache (in 2008) and plant a new block to an Alban selection of Syrah.  This vineyard is also farmed organically and managed according to Bradley’s direction.  Beginning in 2006, Big Basin started making Pinot Noir sourced from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  As of 2009, Big Basin is making three different single vineyard Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains (Alfaro Family, Lester Family and Woodruff Family Vineyards), plus the Pinot from Coastview Vineyard in the Gabilan Mountains.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose has cassis, charred meat, vanilla, dark chocolate, minerals, blueberries, and a touch of cedar.  This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate this is very big, rich and plush.  Though it pushes the ripeness to the top, it does not go over.  This is loaded with fruit and savory elements on the palate with a nice tannic backbone and just enough acidity to hold it all together.  The finish is impressively long and decadent.  I don’t think I’d want to stash this in the cellar for too long, but this will offer a lot of pleasure over the next few years.  (94 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

 

 

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.99

I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines.  If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.

 

This wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old.  Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.

 

In the nineties, the family began to market their zinfandel in the bulk wine market, selling to a number of prestigious, benchmark producers of Zinfandel in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

 

In 2000, Steve and Lori produced their first vintage of Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel.  They continue to produce wine from all of the vineyard blocks, culling only the very best lots for bottling Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel and designated vineyard wines.  They produced their first vintage of Farrah Syrah in 2001.  They have one goal…to produce world-class wine.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements.  Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar.  The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process.  Drink over the next few years and be happy.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

 

 

2008 Keplinger Lithic – $40.00

This is another mailing list only wine that I was fortunate to join before they started getting high scores from the wine publications.  The “rock star” winemaker, Helen Keplinger.  I bought several bottles of this wine, but have been patient long enough, one gets popped tonight.

 

This wine is a blend of 46% Mourvedre, 40% Grenache and 14% Syrah from Amador County.

 

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

 

Winery history (actually Winemaker background)

The culture of wine has been a part of my life since I can remember.  My dad had a wine cellar, which was the source of my childhood wine bottle collection – I also collected rocks, an early indication of my future as a winegrower.  Wine accompanied every gourmet dinner my mom prepared nightly; this combination of food and wine was an important part of our family evenings together.

 

I always had an intense curiosity for science, a huge appreciation of art, and a gravitation toward and revitalization in nature – all which dynamically come together in winemaking.  In 1998, I moved to California to attend the MS program in Enology at UCDavis.

 

Since UC Davis, I have worked with Heidi Barrett, Kathy Joseph, Michel Rolland, and David Abreu.  Since 2004, I have been the winemaker for some exciting projects, including Cellers Melis (Priorat), Kenzo Estate, Fort Ross, Sarocka, Scullly, Arrow & Branch, and Bryant Family Vineyards.  I am currently focused solely on Keplinger Wines.

 

I absolutely love what I do – I constantly strive to make great wines, respond to the curveballs of Mother Nature, and respect that each wine is a reflection not only of its origin, but the variables and characteristics of a particular vintage.

 

More information on the winery, their wines and access to the mailing list is available on their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, saturated ruby to purple color.  The nose is stunning and full of blackberries, black cherries, minerals, earthy underbrush, licorice, warm baking spices and roasted herbs.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate this displays layer after layer of fruit, spice, minerals, and earthy elements.  The finish is extremely long, seeming to linger forever with perfect balance between the fruit and savory notes.  This is built to last but tastes great today.  A monumental wine showing the quality AmadorCounty is capable of producing.  (95 pts)

2008 Keplinger Lithic

2008 Keplinger Lithic

 

 

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 9, 2013 to Dec 12, 2013

 

 

2005 Mitolo Shiraz Reiver

2009 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker’s Blend

2008 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Judge Family Vineyard

 

 

 

2005 Mitolo Shiraz Reiver – $23.74

Mitolo is one of the premiere wineries in Australia.  The wine maker, Ben Glaetzer, is one of the Australia superstars in the wine business.  This is an Aussie Shiraz that someone lost money on.  The release price was well north of $40 but I bought a case and a half for a touch over $20 a bottle from the local wine store.

 

The grapes for this wine come from a single vineyard in Greenock in the northern part of the Barossa Valley.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a Stelvin twist-off cap.

 

Winery history

For such a young winery, Mitolo’s history is rich.  It’s one studded with success, wide acclaim, and – most importantly – truly memorable wines.  But that’s only to be expected from a winery which, since the very first day, has been motivated by three potent words:

 

Purity. Elegance. Power.

 

Those were the guiding principles Frank Mitolo wrote down when he created the winery in 1999.  With his Italian heritage and a family history of working the land, Frank was only interested in pursuing excellence.  And the results were there immediately in the release of the first Mitolo wine – the 2000 G.A.M. – named after Frank’s children Gemma, Alexander and Marco.

 

Attracted by this commitment to only create wines of outstanding quality, acclaimed winemaker Ben Glaetzer joined Mitolo as a partner in 2001.  With grapes sourced from two of Australia’s premier wine regions, Mclaren Vale and the BarossaValley, Frank and Ben now work tirelessly to surpass their already impressive achievements.  Mitolo Wines, praised by some of the world’s toughest critics, are now enjoyed in more than 20 countries around the world.

 

And that is just the start.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  The very deep and inviting nose is locked and loaded with blackberries, smoked meat, baking spices, vanilla, dark chocolate, cherries, charcoal, dried herbs, and black pepper.  This has a fairly full body, solid, velvety tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate big fruit and spice quickly take hold allowing some dried herbs, chocolate, and vanilla to slowly slip into the picture.  The finish is long with cherries and a big blast of black pepper adding considerable interest.  (94 pts)

2005 Mitolo Shiraz Reiver

2005 Mitolo Shiraz Reiver

 

 

2009 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker’s Blend – $18.04

I grabbed a bottle of this wine and a few others while looking for a wine that could be opened as a nice week night cabernet.  I grabbed this wine since it was predominantly produced with grapes from Sonoma and Napa Counties.  The under $20 price was the reason for this shopping expedition.

 

This wine has 14.2% alcohol and is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

The Winery

At the heart of every glass of Ghost Pines is the notion that world-class wines are made from quality grapes – grapes that span many appellations.  An unconventional view against today’s backdrop of single-appellation wines, the Ghost Pines philosophy is a modern take on visionary winemaker Louis M. Martini’s approach to winemaking.  In the 1930s, Martini didn’t think about appellation boundaries.  He simply sought the best grapes from the best vineyards to craft his unforgettable wines, long before American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) were established in California.

 

Seventy-five years later, Napa’s historic Louis M. Martini Winery launched Ghost Pines to give Michael Eddy and a talented group of forward-thinking winemakers the freedom to blend the finest grapes across appellations.  The result is a collection of sophisticated wines that illustrate the best characteristics of each varietal and region, balancing elegance with structure, intensity with nuance.

 

Echoing the unharnessed, free-form character of its namesake tree, Ghost Pines embodies the progressive spirit of California winemaking: no boundaries, no limits.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color.  The slightly subdued nose has crushed berries, baking spices, cherries, white pepper, and a slight herbal note.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  Tart cherries and spice hit on the front end with a soft, non-offending herbal note coming in on the back end.  The finish is a bit short and shows a bit of oak and the reoccurring herbal note.  Though it shows a slight green herbal note and a touch of excess oak, this is still a worthy Cabernet for a week night dinner.  (86 pts)

2009 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker's Blend

2009 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker’s Blend

 

 

2008 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace – $18.75

The Scherrer Winery futures program for their Zinfandels is one of the best mailing lists to join.  The wines are ordered and paid for before they are bottled, several months later the wine is bottled and shipped.  Generally the winery holds their zins in the bottle for a year before releasing them to the restaurants, distribution, or the normal mailing list.  What’s the advantage of paying for wine and waiting for shipment?  How about a big discount, 40% to 50% off regular release price?  This top notch Zin cost me well under $20.

 

The Scherrer Zinfndels are built to age. These are well balanced zins with restrained alcohol levels that age marvelously.  With enough bottle age, these take on the nuances of an aged Claret.

 

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

 

Winery history

In the mid-1970’s, due to a normal teenage interest in alcoholic beverages, my family allowed me to make some wine from the family vineyard and beer at home (under adult supervision, of course).  This led to a UC Davis degree as well as concurrent work at a local winery doing the dirtiest and most menial jobs imaginable.  In the mid-1980’s good friends at Duxoup Wine Works (think Marx Brothers for the pronunciation) inspired me to try my hand at my own label so I negotiated cellar space in lieu of a raise by my then-current employer, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley (I got a raise anyway).  Greenwood Ridge was supportive of my project and decided to have some Scherrer Zinfandel produced for their label as well.  Unfortunately, I had a poor business plan and during the first year I realized I was not yet ready for this project.  Greenwood Ridge continues to make a small amount of Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel to this day.

 

Much more information on this outstanding winery and a link to join the highly recommended mailing list available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherries, warm baking spices, brambly berries, black pepper, violets, plums, and minerals.  This has medium body. moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the bright, tart cherries and spice kicks off the show with plums and black pepper bringing up the rear.  The finish has nice length and again is carried by the cherries and spice.  This isn’t your typical, big, ripe zinfandel.  This has nice refinement and shows nice cellar potential.  (92 pts)

2008 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace

2008 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace

 

 

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Judge Family Vineyard – $15.00

I grabbed a few bottles of this wine during a Novy sale where you received a bigger discount based on how many bottles you purchased.  I think I ended up with an extra 25% off.  A single vineyard, Novy Syrah for $15?  Stock up time.

This wine has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Our winemaking goal is to produce wines that best capture the distinct flavor and character of a given vineyard site.  To that end, we focus on sites that provide us with exceptional fruit.  We are fanatical in our protection of the vineyard flavor and are determined not to let any overt winemaking components mute the personality of an individual site.

 

In the cellar, we vinifiy each wine separately by block, clone and barrel type in order to maximize the individual components and provide greater complexity to the final blend.  This approach also provides us with much more flexibility in crafting a wine using only the best and most harmonious lots.

 

Given that the majority of our wines are single vineyard offerings, it is critical for us to maintain the site’s individual character in order to provide you with a truly diverse offering of wines.  To that end:

 

  • We believe in minimal intervention, “gentle” winemaking.  In other words, we let the wine make itself.  We do not want to do anything to the wine that isn’t absolutely necessary.
  • We believe in bottling our wines unfiltered and unfined whenever possible, convinced as we are that fining and filtering strip wines of flavor and character.
  • We believe that the best wines express their origins.  Our goal is not to produce the world’s best Syrah or Zinfandel but rather to produce the very best wine from a given site.

 

Much more information on Novy and the wines they produce is available on their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby to maroon color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, fresh cracked black peppercorns, smoke, charred meat, cherries, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate the berries, black pepper, and meaty elements hit the palate first with dried herbs and a bit of earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with the savory elements providing most of the flavor and the fruit providing some background sweetness.  (90 pts)

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Judge Family Vineyard

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Judge Family Vineyard

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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 – Dinner Party Wine Line-up

 

 

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

2006 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Blanc Les Granits

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir “The Three”

2005 Mas des Dames Coteaux du Languedoc

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

1998 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

1994 Prager Winery and Port Works Petite Sirah Royal Escort Vintage Port Paladini Vineyard

 

 

We had a small dinner party at the house with a couple friends in late November.  The friends, food and conversation were the stars of the evening, but we also had to open a few…OK, several bottles of wine.

 

Here are my thoughts and/or brief notes on the wines.  Since the wine was consumed over food and conversation, I was not able to take detailed tasting notes.  I will also just give the wines a letter score rather than the usual number since in most cases the wine was not the center of my attention.

 

 

 

Here is the lineup of wines the four of us enjoyed over a long evening:

Dinner Party Wines

 

 

 

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

This bottle was a gift from a friend so it made sense to share it with friends.  I’m normally not a big sparkling wine/Champagne drinker, but this was wonderful and set a nice opening theme for the evening.

 

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.  (A-)

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

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

 

 

2006 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Blanc Les Granits – $25.17

I bought a couple bottles of this wine at a close out price a couple years ago.  We had a bottle not long after the purchase, but I wanted to save my remaining bottle for an event so we could share the bottle.  Tonight was a perfect occasion since my friend likes white Rhone wines even more than I do, and I like them a lot.

 

This had 13.5% alcohol and was sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a light, golden straw color.  The nose had nice apples, pear, white flowers, spices, orange zest and minerals.  On the palate the wine had a nice rich texture but was quickly followed with some citrusy acidity that kept it from getting plodding or heavy.  The finish was very long and fully of stony minerals, spice, orchard fruit and citrus zest.  (A)

2006 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Blanc Les Granits

2006 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Blanc Les Granits

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir “The Three” – $33.00

This was a special “limited” bottling from Brian Loring.  If my memory is not failing me, he only produced about a dozen cases of this wine.

 

The wine has 14.9% alcohol and was sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a deep ruby red color.  The nose had black cherries, blackberries, baking spices, white pepper, underbrush, and vanilla.  This had medium to full body with fairly solid but ripe and silky tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate this was big, rich, and spicy with loads of dark fruit and baking spices.  There was very nice length on the finish with the spicy fruit lingering for a long time.  Not a wine for everyone, and not an everyday wine, but tonight I absolutely loved it.  (A)

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir "The Three"

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir “The Three”

 

 

2005 Mas des Dames Coteaux du Languedoc – $15.86

This bottle was from a Garagiste Wine purchase a few years ago.  I had a bottle not too long after the wine was delivered and knew this was a great purchase for a touch over $15.

 

This wine has 13.5% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color. The nose had black cherries, red raspberries, plums, crushed stone minerality, smoke, roasted herbs, meat juices, warm baking spices, and a touch of earthiness. This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. The palate has some nice up front fruit followed by roasted herbs, minerals, grilled meat, and a touch of dark chocolate. The finish has nice length and leans more on the savory elements with the fruit adding a touch of sweetness.  (A-)

2005 Mas des Dames Coteaux du Languedoc

2005 Mas des Dames Coteaux du Languedoc

 

 

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County – $30.00

This winery is quickly becoming a personal favorite.  I love sharing their wines with friends so they can also become fans.

 

The wine has 14.2% alcohol and was sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a deep, dark ruby color, almost purple.  The very nice nose has blackberries, charred meat, smoke, roasted herbs, licorice, black pepper, minerals, brined olives, wild flowers, and a touch of mint.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has a nice blend between the juicy, crushed berries, and the savory elements of black pepper, roasted herbs, and charred meat.  The finish is long and layered with nice juicy berries adding sweetness to the savory elements.  (A)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

 

 

1998 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois

This bottle was brought by our dinner guests and fit in perfectly with the other wines we were opening.

 

This had 14.0% alcohol and was sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine needed a quick decant to wake up from its slumber in my friend’s cellar.  The wine was a nice ruby red with just a touch of brick at the edge.  After waking up the nose was stunning with crushed raspberries, black peppercorns, dried herbs, stony minerals, licorice, and a floral note.  On the palate the wine was rich and opulent but not overly heavy.  The finish seemed to go on forever.  I’d have loved to spend an evening with this wine to sample it as it progresses.  (A+)

1998 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois

1998 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

This was a last second addition to the evening’s festivities.  My friend said his wife had never really had a good, older Riesling.  That’s about all the prodding I needed to pull something from the wine cellar.  It’s not every day you can share a 25 year old German Riesling with fellow wine lovers.

 

The wine has 9.5% alcohol and was sealed with a very fragile natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a deep, golden yellow color.  The nose had apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, petrol and some white pepper.  This had light to medium body with good acidity and nice sweetness.  Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir.  The wine had a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime.  My friends loved the wine, but since I’ve had a few bottles of this wine over the last year, I knew this wasn’t a perfect bottle.  I think the fragile cork had caused a few slight issues to crop up.  It was real good but it just seemed to lack the oomph I was expecting.  (A-)

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

 

 

1994 Prager Winery and Port Works Petite Sirah Royal Escort Vintage Port Paladini Vineyard – $34.50

This bottle is from a winery in the Napa Valley we always visited.  When I saw this bottle pop up on Wine Bid last year, I had to stick in a low ball bid to see what happened.  I was lucky enough to win the bottle at what I felt was an incredible price for a bottle of 18 year old “Port” wine.

 

The wine had 18.3% alcohol and was “sealed” with the remnants of a natural cork.  I quickly saw that a normal cork screw would not work, so I pulled out the old Ah-So opener.  It easily slid between the cork and bottle but just a very slight twist caused the cork to disintegrate into the bottle.  No problem, the wine was simply served through a small strainer I use for occasions like this.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a deep, inky purple color.  The nose was full of peppery crushed berries, spice, cocoa powder and dark roasted coffee.  The years had tamed the wine so that it wasn’t big, brash and in your face.  It was sweet, but not overly syrupy.  It was still bold but the tannins were now reasonable and silky.  The finish was a touch short (or my palate was wearing out) but still very enjoyable and easy to sip at the end of a very enjoyable evening.  (B+)

1994 Prager Winery and Port Works Petite Sirah Royal Escort Vintage Port Paladini Vineyard

1994 Prager Winery and Port Works Petite Sirah Royal Escort Vintage Port Paladini Vineyard

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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 6, 2013 to Dec 8, 2013

 

 

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley

2008 Andrew Will Sorella

 

 

 

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino – $24.33

I like Altesino’s Brunello wines, when the local store stocked this Rosso on their shelf, I had to grab a few bottles.  When done right, a Rosso is just a notch below a Brunello in quality but sells for a fraction of the cost.

 

This is 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

The company is a leader in various, important innovations in the production of Sangiovese di Montalcino, causing it to stand out and become a reference point for the entire territory.

 

The introduction of the “Cru” (Montosoli) concept in 1975, the first experiments with barriques in ’79, the production in ’77 of the first Grappa di Fattoria under the consultancy of the master distiller Gioacchino Nannoni and the first Futures (purchasing wine before its release) for Brunello 1985 are some of the positive contributions putting Montalcino on the world map.

 

An intense relationship has built up over forty years with the land full of history, with its almost sensual beauty that is physically perceived and its subtle charm that reaches the body and soul. This is the philosophy that inspires Altesino to produce wine and maintain its culture.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a touch of brick.  The bright nose has cherries, strawberries, raspberries, dried herbs, tobacco, minerals, and a touch of underbrush.  This has medium body, light to moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the red fruit and spice hit first with dried herbs, minerals, and tobacco coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with the tobacco and minerals closing the show.  Not a wine to contemplate over, but a very tasty Rosso to enjoy over the next few years with a hearty meal.  (89 pts)

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

This bottle was from a large wine tasting in a local wine store.  I was able to bring home the wine that was left over at the end, about a half bottle.

 

I’ve had earlier vintages of this wine and enjoyed them.  I’m interested to see what the wine is like from this highly acclaimed vintage.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The tempting and inviting nose has black cherries, baking spices, earthy underbrush, cola and a touch of spicy oak.  This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit is a bit brighter than the nose lead me to expect with tart cherries and baking spices up front with some building earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with fruit and spice carrying the load.  Not bad for an entry level Pinot and a keeper for a touch over $20.  (90 pts)

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

 

 

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

This bottle was from a large wine tasting in a local wine store.  I was able to bring home the wine that was left over at the end, about a third bottle.

 

This is one of the “big names” in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  This vintage didn’t get as much acclaim as earlier vintages.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The outstanding nose has kirsch, brined olives, potpourri, crushed berries, cherries, cedar and minerals.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this wine slowly displays layer after layer of fruit, spice and minerals.  The layered finish has very good length and is loaded with constantly evolving flavors.  This tasted outstanding today but deserves some serious cellar time for it open up and spread its wings.  (94 pts)

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

 

 

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch – $15.07

From a 375 ml bottle

 

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.

 

The local wine store used to stock this wine in half bottles but I don’t know if anyone other than me bought it.  A quick check of my purchase history in Cellar Tracker show I bought well over 2 cases of this wine.  I know the last case was the last one the distributor had in stock.  I’m not seeing as much Elyse on wine store shelves here in Wisconsin, which is a loss for the normal consumer.  I keep the Elyse (and Jacob Franklin) part of my cellar stocked with purchases direct from the winery.

 

The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

In 1983, Nancy and Ray arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure.  After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to NapaValley and became innkeepers for a bed &breakfast. Ray then spent formative time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge working in the vineyards.  Ray’s nine year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker honed his skills in the art of blending and was the inspiration for Ray’s winemaking style today.

 

In 1987, Ray & Nancy started Elyse Winery with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still a cornerstone vineyard source for the winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, in 1997 they purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane, the home of Elyse Winery and tasting room.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color showing just a touch of brick, mainly at the edge.  The very appealing nose reminded me more of a Claret than a zinfandel.  There was some brambly berries and pepper, but they were joined with tobacco, cedar, dried herbs, cassis, and warm baking spices.  This has a medium body, soft integrated tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate this has lost most of its early “baby fat” and is a smooth, nuanced Zinfandel that again could be easily mistaken for a quality Claret.  The finish is fairly long with nice fruit, spice, and a touch of earthiness.  To some people, this may be over the hill, to me it is in a wonderful spot. This was from a 375ml bottle.  (93 pts)

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch

 

 

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley – $27.00

This wine is a blend of 77% Dry Creek Valley Syrah, 12% Dry Creek Valley Grenache both from the Teldeschi Vineyard, 9% Knights Valley Syrah from Peklan Ranch and 2% Russian River Valley Viognier.

 

Normally this is where I’d tell you to go to their website and sign up for the mailing list, but not this time.  Unfortunately the Carlisle mailing list is full, the best you could do is get on the waiting list.  The problem with that one is big, the wines are so good and fairly priced, very few people drop off the list.  My best advice is to find someone on the list and beg them to share a bottle or two of their allocation with you.

 

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

 

Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple to black color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, charcoal, white pepper, smoke, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, blueberries, Asian spices and minerals.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is full of crushed berries, white pepper and Asian spices up front with smoke and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with some dark chocolate entering the picture.   This is drinking very nicely but has the stuffing and balance to keep in the cellar for another decade or more.  (92 pts)

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley

 

 

2008 Andrew Will Sorella – $61.74

I tasted this wine not long after release at the local wine store.  The wine, though very young, showed considerable promise.  I grabbed a few bottles and left them stashed in the cellar for a few years.  It’s time to check in to see how the wine is progressing.

 

This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot from the Champoux Vineyard in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills.

 

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

 

The Winery

Andrew Will Winery was started in 1989 and is owned by Chris Camarda.  The winery was launched out of a love for wine that Chris had developed while working in the restaurant trade for almost 20 years.  Named after the Camardas’ son Will and nephew Andrew, Andrew Will has been a major contributor to the success and notoriety in recent years of Washington State wines.  Initially, the winery consisted of 900 square feet of rented industrial space in Seattle.

 

In 1994, the Camardas moved to Vashon Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, where they built the present winery.  The fruit however comes from the mainland, across the Cascades in Eastern Washington, where all the significant vineyards lie in the rain shadow of the mountains.

 

Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval vineyards are adjacent on the loam and gravel soils of Red Mountain but produce different styles of wine.  Klipsun makes massive, opulent wine to appreciate early. Ciel du Cheval possesses a slightly more tannic structure and great ageing potential.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The suave and enchanting nose has cassis, cherries, warm baking spices, plums, minerals, dried leafy herbs, cocoa powder, with hints of cedar and earthy underbrush.  The wine has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  The fruit, spices and minerals coat the palate, eventually allowing a touch of cedar and subtle earthiness to enter focus.  The finish is very long with cocoa powder and dried herbs joining the party.  This wine is the complete package and has the balance to improve over the next few years and last in the cellar for a decade or more.  (95 pts)

2008 Andrew Will Sorella

2008 Andrew Will Sorella

 

 

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 2, 2013 to Dec 5, 2013

 

 

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $14.24

This is a blend of 37% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah and 9% Malbec, from the High Valley AVA in the eastern part of Lake County in California.

 

The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery History

Brassfield Estate Winery & Vineyard is located in the western section of High Valley at High Serenity Ranch on a truly distinctive and remarkable winegrowing property.  Our valley floor vineyards sit at 1800 ft elevation.  The higher vineyard blocks rise to nearly 3000 ft.  The temperatures of some parts of this unique vineyard are some of the coldest in CA, giving Brassfield a heat summation equivalent to a Region 3 or less in some vintages.

 

In 1973, Jerry Brassfield purchased the original 1,600 acres here as a cattle ranch and wildlife reserve.  Over the next three decades Jerry acquired additional property.  Today, the LakeCounty estate includes 2,500 acres across both the eastern and the western sections of HighValley, as well as the Round Mountain Volcano.

 

The Vineyards were investigated for their potential to produce world-class estate-grown wines in 1998.  Vineyard planting began in 2001.  As the vineyards matured, the winery has grown with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, Asian spices, black pepper, smoked meat, dark bittersweet chocolate, plums, some eucalyptus, and a hit of earthiness.  This has a fairly full body, solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has a nice initial hit of fruit and dark chocolate that is joined by some building spice and earthiness.  The finish has nice length and is joined by a touch of spicy oak.  The oak has started to integrate and will probably be even better integrated with some air or a little more cellar time.  This is very tasty today if a touch of oak doesn’t bother you too much.  (90 pts)

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast – $20.00

To me, Morgan Twain-Peterson from Bedrock is trying to follow playbook written by Mike Officer at Carlisle.  The playbook is fairly simple, offer outstanding, personality filled wine at good prices.  Though relatively new to the game, Bedrock is following the playbook to perfection.  Bedrock has one upped Carlisle in one regard, besides their outstanding red wines, they put out some of the best white wines being produced at reasonable prices in the state.

 

This wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop.  Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.

 

The winery’s objectives are:

.  To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.

.  To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the NorthCoast.

.  To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.

.  To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.

.  To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.

.  To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.

.  To dream big but keep production low!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, Asian spices, cocoa powder, charred meat, black peppercorns, roasted herbs, vanilla, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate there is nice balance between the dark fruit, spice and meaty elements.  The finish had good length with some dark chocolate adding a nice touch.  This has improved considerably over the last year.  (93 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

 

 

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza – $14.24

Over the years I’ve enjoyed many bottles of Italian Dolcetto wines.  These are generally nice, every day wines that are available at wallet friendly prices.  The Italian word “dolcetto” means “little sweet one”.  Don’t take that literally since these wines are usually bone dry.  Most are light to medium body, fairly fruity with a touch of spice.  The moderate acidity makes it a wonderful partner to a wide range of food.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol and is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

The wine, in the winery’s words

This Dolcetto d’Alba is a creation of the Langhe hills, La Morra Fontanazza in particular.  A delicious, easy-drinking wine, it is a product of the terroir and the distinctive regional microclimate.  An “honest” red wine, the “Fontanazza” is made in traditional manner, without the intervention of new technology.  It has always been considered the everyday drinking wine of native Langhe people.  The “Fontanazza” selection is not aged in oak in order to offer a fresh, fruity, inviting and easy-to-drink wine.  “Fontanazza” presents a magnificent ruby-red color with lovely violet reflections.  The intense and persistent nose offers floral and fruity sensations with evident signs of sweet spices.  The palate is characterized by the same sensations, exalted by a pleasant acidity and a delicate, slightly bitter aftertaste.  With these characteristics, the Dolcetto “Fontanazza” is an excellent companion to every dish of the Italian and international cooking tradition.  The ideal wine glass has a medium-sized bowl and a long stem.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep garnet color.  The sensuous nose has cherries, plums, baking spices, white pepper, minerals, and violets.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and great acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit takes center stage with minerals and pepper coming in from the sidelines.  Nice length on the mineral driven finish.  Not one to keep in the cellar but easy to enjoy over the next year, maybe two.  (89 pts)

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d'Alba Fontanazza

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza

 

 

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $25.99

I grabbed a bottle of this previously unknown wine based on a recommendation from a friend.  I like the change of pace offered by an Oregon Pinot after having a few bottles of heavier California Pinot Noirs.

 

This wine has 12.6% alcohol and the bottle is closed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Evening Land Vineyards was born in 2005 with the purchase of Occidental Vineyard on California’s Sonoma Coast.  We later traveled north to acquire Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon’s southeastern Eola-Amity Hills. Finally, we crossed an ocean to begin producing wine in Burgundy.

 

Today, we are a pioneering, international wine company that produces terroir-driven wines from Burgundy, the Eola-Amity Hills and the Sonoma Coast.

 

More information about this unique winery is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, semitransparent, ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spice, raspberries and forest floor.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the tart, spicy fruit grabs the palate followed by earthy elements and a saline note.  The finish has nice length and is carried by the saline and earthy elements with the fruit providing a touch of needed sweetness.  This is much more Burgundian than anything coming out of California.  I like this and will probably grab a few more bottles.  (90 pts)

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

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 – Lodi Multi-Generation Wineries

 

 

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

 

 

2009 LangeTwins Zinfandel Centennial

2011 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Marian’s Vineyard Lodi

2011 Klinker Brick Bricks & Mortar

2010 Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown

 

 

 

What you call Crazy,

We call Passion

 

LoCA_Logo-Enclosure_CMYK

About the tasting

Giving Thanks – A Salute to Lodi’s Multi-generational Families

 

This very special virtual tasting was a prelude to Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays.  During this time of year, we reflect on what we’re thankful for, like family and traditions.  We’d like you to celebrate with us as we taste wines produced from families that have been in the tradition of winemaking and winegrape growing for multiple generations (some for over a century!) and discuss the rich history of the Lodi wine region.

 

Highlighting families that have been in the Lodi wine industry for generations, Stuart Spencer – Program Director for the Lodi Winegrape Commission and second generation Winemaker for St. Amant Winery – hosted this tasting along with Randy Lange, fifth generation winegrape grower and Director of Winery Operations at LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards, and Farrah Felten, sixth generation winegrape grower as well as Tasting Room Manager and Wine Club Director at Klinker Brick Winery.

 

 

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.

 

 

About Charles Communications Associates

CCA is an independent creative marketing firm that employs traditional public relations and new media strategies to assist companies, organizations and non-profits in the creation, development and marketing of interesting and compelling brands.  Recognized as one of the most effective PR firms in the wine industry, we have an exceptional track record of promoting products in the gourmet, natural and organic food and beverage categories, from wine and tea to top shelf spirits and luxury goods.  We consider ourselves fortunate to work with clients who share our philosophy of social responsibility in work and everyday life.

 

For more information, visit the CCA website.

 

 

The Line Up

These wines were provided by the wineries and Charles Communications for the tasting:

Mulit-Generational Lodi Wines line up

 

 

 

2009 LangeTwins Zinfandel Centennial – SRP $60

Produced from a vineyard planted in 1903, the Centennial Zinfandel is elegant with layers of rich brambleberry and intense blackberry with well-integrated oak notes and spice.  The Lange Family has been sustainably growing winegrapes in the Lodi Appellation for five generations.  To learn more about LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards, please visit their site by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has brambly berries, black peppercorns, vanilla, coconut, spicy oak, warm baking spices and some earthiness.  The wine is fairly full bodied, with soft to moderate tannins and has good acidity.  On the palate peppery berries, spicy oak, and cherries hit up front with a touch of earth in the background.  This has decent length with some coconut joining berries and oak.  (89 pts)

2009 LangeTwins Zinfandel Centennial

2009 LangeTwins Zinfandel Centennial

 

 

2011 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard – SRP $35

Produced from a vineyard named after Kathy Mettler’s grandchildren, Kirsten Elizabeth and Ian James, this 100% Zinfandel offers lush aromas of raspberry jam, anise and fig compote.  Since 1907, the Mettler Family has been farming vineyards on Harney Lane and surrounding areas.  To learn more about Harney Lane Winery, please visit their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine has 15.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The wine is a saturated ruby red color.  The inviting nose has briary berries, scorched earth, raspberries, dried herbs and warm baking spices.  The wine has a full body, moderate tannins and decent acidity.  The palate has jammy berries, pepper, spice, some earthiness.  The finish has nice length with some dark chocolate coming in with dried herbs and earth.  (89 pts)

2011 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

2011 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

 

 

 

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Marian’s Vineyard Lodi – SRP $24

The product of an 8.3-acre block planted on the Mohr-Fry Ranch in 1901, Marian’s Vineyard Zinfandel exhibits ripe berry aromas.  A concentrated mid-palate delivers a broad range of rich fruit flavors.  The owner of a Stockton Medical Laboratory for nearly 20 years before making a life-changing decision to become a winemaker, Tim Spencer opened St. Amant Winery (named after his wife, Barbara’s, maiden name) in 1990.  To learn more about St. Amant Winery, please visit their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The enticing nose has berries, smoke, tobacco, dried herbs, underbrush and black pepper.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and decent acidity.  The palate is highlighted with jammy, peppery berries and smoke.  The finish has very nice length.  (88 pts)

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Marian's Vineyard Lodi

2012 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Marian’s Vineyard Lodi

 

 

2011 Klinker Brick Bricks & Mortar – SRP $30

Comprised of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petite Sirah and 10% Old Vine Zinfandel, this delicious wine presents aromas of currant and plum, coupled with garden notes of mint and thyme.  Steve and Lori Felten – fifth generation winegrape growers in the Lodi region – along with daughter, Farrah, continue the tradition of cultivating Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.  To learn more about Klinker Brick Winery, please visit the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

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

 

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The elegant nose has cassis, plum, mint, wild flowers and a hint of leafy herbs.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  This is rich and elegant on the palate with nice mix of fruit and savory with a pleasing herbal note coming in late.  The finish has very good length and is nicely balanced.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Bricks & Mortar

2011 Klinker Brick Bricks & Mortar

 

 

2010 Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown – SRP $25

Aged 22 months in French Oak, the Mettler Cabernet exhibits aromas of black cherry, rose petal and tobacco with a suggestion of mineral.  The Mettler Family has been growing premium winegrapes in the Lodi region for six generations, their roots in the wine industry dating back to the early 1800’s.  The Mettler Family’s inaugural wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, was released in 2001.  To learn more about Mettler Family Vineyards, please visit their website.

 

This wine is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petite Sirah and 1% Petit Verdot.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The intriguing nose has mint, cassis, warm baking spices, minerals and dried flowers.  The wine has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  There is nice cassis on the palate with mint, minerals and a touch of spicy oak.  The finish is fairly long with cassis and mint leading the way.  (89 pts)

2010 Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown

2010 Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown

 

 

The video of our Live Chat is available, at least for now, by clicking here.  The entire tasting lasted a bit over an hour.  This is filled with a LOT of great background and information on the region, people, and the wines.

Live Chat

 

 

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 – Nov 29, 2013 to Dec 1, 2013

 

 

2008 Teso La Monja Toro Almirez

2006 Copain Syrah Les Voisins McDowell Valley

2007 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll

 

 

 

2008 Teso La Monja Toro Almirez – $24.99

This is a new wine for me.  I had seen it on store’s shelves for several months but never grabbed a bottle.  Based on a recommendation from a friend, I grabbed a bottle to try.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

In this second stage of the Eguren family’s presence in DO Toro after Numanthia-Termes project, Teso La Monja was born with a different approach: fresher, north facing loamy soils with gravel on the surface, which offer longer vegetative cycles for achieving balanced, powerful yet elegant wines which transmit the maximum potential of soils’ minerality.

 

Toro’s prephiloxeric vineyards, own rooted ‘Vitis vinifera’ and autochthonous, aged up to 130 years, and old vineyards with an average age of 50 years old, form a terroir that gives birth tounique wines.

 

We fulfill the sustainable agriculture practices applied by our predecessors to preserve the life in the environment.  We respect nature and we work according to the cycles and biorhythms of the plant.  We search for the natural balance of the vineyard, with small productions between 1.000 and 2.000 kg/hct.  We are focused on achieving the purest wine which transmits terroir.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spices, and some earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very bright acidity.  Much bolder and outgoing on the palate with tart cherries, raspberries, minerals, and a load of spice.  The finish has good length with some earthiness and dried herbs entering the picture.  There is nothing brooding or heavy about this wine, the acidity has laser like precision and even overwhelms the palate at times.  Drink this with a juicy cut of meat or something rich and creamy to help tame the acidity.  (87 pts)

2008 Teso La Monja Toro Almirez

2008 Teso La Monja Toro Almirez

 

 

2006 Copain Syrah Les Voisins McDowell Valley – $35.00

Les Voisins.  French for “the neighbors,” our Les Voisins wines are derived from closely clustered, neighboring  vineyards, offering a nuanced and tightly focused reflection of Anderson Valley and Yorkville Highlands.

 

Les Voisins is the mid-level of wine offered by Copain.  At the top are the single vineyard wines and the lower level are the Tous Ensemble wines.  Wines at this level generally a very nice wine at an attractive price.

 

This wine is 13.8% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley in particular.  So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best.  For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s Rhone Valley.  During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life. At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him.  He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.

 

For more information on Copain, visit their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color, a touch lighter on the edge.  The enticing nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, smoke, vanilla bean and violets.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate this is rich and plush but carries no excess weight or overly ripe notes.  The bright red and black fruit and minerals carry the palate initially until nice spice and a floral note come in towards the back end.  The finish has good length with a nice mix of fruit and savory elements.  This wine has really blossomed over the last three years.  (92 pts)

2006 Copain Syrah Les Voisins McDowell Valley

2006 Copain Syrah Les Voisins McDowell Valley

 

 

2007 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll – $37.99

I grabbed a few bottles of this wine at the local store during a wine tasting.  A month or two later, the store put the wine on sale for about 25% off, so a few more bottles followed me home.  I had a bottle a little over a year ago and felt it would be better in another year…time to see if I was right.

 

This wine is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot from the winery’s estate vineyard, Main Ranch.

 

This has 14.3% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Constructed in 1886 by a Scottish sea captain, Hamden McIntyre, our winery was originally known as Eshcol. McIntyre designed it as a gravity-flow system: a horse-drawn winch brought grapes to the third floor of the three-story structure for crushing; gravity carried the juice to the second floor for fermenting; and, eventually, the wine descended to the first floor for aging. Eshcol was among a number of wineries McIntyre designed during this period; the others were Greystone (now The Culinary Institute of America), Far Niente and Inglenook.

 

Much more background and information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very inviting nose has cassis, cedar, Asian spices, dried herbs, tobacco, vanilla and dried flowers.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  The wine is loaded with up front spicy fruit, dried herbs and cedar come in on the back end.  The finish has decent length but it does thin out a bit as the fruit over powers the savory elements.  (90 pts)

2007 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll

2007 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll

 

 

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 – Nov 25, 2013 to Nov 28, 2013

 

 

2007 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard

2008 Seven Hills Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

2010 Reininger Syrah Walla Walla Valley

2006 Carlisle Two Acres

2009 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Ten

 

 

 

2007 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard – $35.00

Turley was one of the original non-Cabernet “cult” wineries in California.  In their early years the zinfandels they produced were a step or two above what was being produced in other wineries.  Over the years the winery has picked up a lot of competition and has slipped in a lot of wine drinker’s eyes but they are still top notch zins.  Even though it seems their mailing list is still in wait list mode, I have been able to buy some of their wines off the shelf at the local wine store.  In some cases the prices locally were better than the mailing list price.

 

This has 15.9% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley.  Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.

 

Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.

 

As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.

 

In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.

 

By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars was annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep maroon color.  The nose is stunning and filled with brambly berries, vanilla, black pepper, melted licorice, minerals, warm baking spices, and violets.  This has a full body, moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy, peppery berries lead off with vanilla and some subtle earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with some crushed stone minerals coming into focus.  This is at the top of its game right now but should hold for at least a couple more years.  (93 pts)

2007 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard

2007 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard

 

 

2008 Seven Hills Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley – $18.99

I attended a tasting at a local store that was hosted by Casey McClellan, the founder /winemaker of Seven Hills Winery.  This was one of two wines that I felt tasted far better than their selling price.  I left with several bottles and they picked up a new fan.

 

This has 13.8% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is one of Walla Walla Valley’s oldest and most respected wineries.  Guided by founder, winemaker and fourth generation farmer, Casey McClellan, Seven Hills Winery crafts an acclaimed portfolio of vineyard-designate and appellation-inspired wines.  Focusing on benchmark Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux-varietal reds from the Red Mountain and Walla Walla Valley AVAs, the wines of Seven Hills have played an important role in establishing the region’s reputation for world-class winemaking, and are recognized as some of the finest wines in the Northwest.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very satisfying nose has cassis, cherries, cedar, dried herbs, minerals, dried flowers, baking spices and a slight herbal note.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Spicy, cedary cassis and cherries carry the palate with minerals and a nice leafy herb note coming in late.  The finish is fairly long again highlighted by nice fruit and the herbal note.  This is drinking very nicely and for under $20 it is a steal.  (90 pts)

2008 Seven Hills Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

2008 Seven Hills Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

 

 

2010 Reininger Syrah Walla Walla Valley – $22.96

Even though I had heard of the winery for a few years, I have not had any of their wine.  The local wine store offered this wine in an e-mail only offer at an exceptional price, so I had to grab a six pack.

 

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

 

The Winery

From 1997 through 2004, REININGER Winery was located in a small but functional facility located at the historic Walla Walla Regional Airport.  The “shack-teau,” as Chuck and Tracy fondly nicknamed it, was originally designated as a WWII Army Air Corp runway “crash house” and “base theater” where old time crooners and classic films entertained troops.

 

In 2003, REININGER Winery purchased seven acres of land, located six miles west of Walla Walla, adjacent to Highway 12, and began renovating two pre-existing potato sheds into a remodeled 15,000 square foot winery, complete with production facility, administrative offices, and a spacious new tasting room.  “We worked closely with architect Jon Campbell to create a modern production facility incorporating rustic design elements,” said Chuck Reininger.  “This resulted in a unique atmosphere for events and entertaining.”

 

In that same year, Chuck and Tracy partnered with Tracy’s brothers, Jay and Cyndi Tucker, and Kelly and Ann Tucker, as well as her parents, Terry and Ronnie Tucker.  Today, Kelly Tucker serves as general manager and oversees sales and marketing.  Jay Tucker functions as tasting room director, plant manager, and grower relations contact.  Terry and Ronnie Tucker, who’ve been actively involved in both vineyard and winery projects since the 1980’s, bring an abundance of guidance and support to the organization.

 

Much more information can be found on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, minerals, white pepper, dried herbs, warm baking spices, blueberries and a touch of cedar.  On the palate the velvety berries and minerals provide a mountain of flavor with white pepper and dried herbs creeping in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with baking spices joining the party in your mouth.  This is obviously on the young side but it is already outstanding.  (93 pts)

2010 Reininger Syrah Walla Walla Valley

2010 Reininger Syrah Walla Walla Valley

 

 

2006 Carlisle Two Acres – $32.50

This wine is a blend of 75% Mourvèdre, 10% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane, 5% Syrah and 2% Alicante Bouschet from a restored 1910 vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

 

Normally this is where I’d tell you to go to their website and sign up for the mailing list, but not this time.  Unfortunately the Carlisle mailing list is full, the best you could do is get on the waiting list.  The problem with that one is big, the wines are so good and fairly priced, very few people drop off the list.  My best advice is to find someone on the list and beg them to share a bottle or two of their allocation with you.

 

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

 

Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The ever changing and evolving nose had crushed berries, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, roasted meat, tree bark, leather, cherries, and some dried herbs.  This is a medium to full body wine with ripe tannins and good acidity.  There are loads of spicy berries on the palate with nice earthy elements and dried herbs adding complexity.  This has a nice, lingering, long finish which highlights the more savory elements.  This is in a prime window to enjoy now or over the next half decade.  Outstanding.  (94 pts)

2006 Carlisle Two Acres

2006 Carlisle Two Acres

 

 

2009 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Ten – $75.99

Sea Smoke is another winery that originally was available only via their mailing list.  This once exclusive wine is now finding itself on a fair amount of store shelves around the country.  Luckily for me, the list now includes my local wine store.

 

Ten is named for the ten Pinot Noir clones found on our estate vineyard. Our most masculine wine, it is brooding and intense, with firm, mature tannins and a long, velvety finish.   Ten is not for the faint-of-heart and has been known, on occasion, to convert even the most fanatic Cabernet lover.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Our estate vineyard is located in the world’s southernmost – and sunniest – Region 1 microclimate, which has the coolest temperatures for grape growing.  The Pacific Ocean fog funnels across our hillsides each afternoon, creating ideal growing conditions

 

Our Pinot Noir vines are planted on south-facing hillside bluffs, in ‘transition zones’ characterized by rich clay soils, aiding us in our quest for quality.  This is where Pinot Noir finds its most sublime expression.

 

Our entire vineyard is farmed biodynamically, because nurturing the soil and vines without harsh chemicals is the right thing to do for the land and for our customers.

 

Sea Smoke’s unique combination of sun, fog, soil and meticulous farming results in wines that are lush, elegant and expressive.

 

More information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very open and inviting nose has crushed berries, baking spices, dried flowers, cola, roasted leafy herbs, minerals, mocha and some earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the plush, spicy berries and minerals jump out first with cola and dried flowers coming in later.  The finish is fairly long with a nice earthy element entering the picture add an extra layer.  With an hour of air this was drinking very nicely.  This should drink nicely for a few more years but isn’t one to stash long term.  (93 pts)

2009 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Ten

2009 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Ten

 

 

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!

 

%d bloggers like this: