Posts from the ‘Wine Event’ Category

Cliffs Wine Picks – Crocker & Starr

 

This is based on samples provided to me by the winery or a company representing the winery.

 

 

2014 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Crocker & Starr Malbec Casali 7th Edition

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon Stone Place

 

 

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I was invited to attend an “online tasting” with Pam Starr and taste a few of the wines produced by Crocker & Starr.  I had never tried these wines but I knew of the winery.  They were always on my personal list of wines I had to sample.  Thankfully the day had come for me to experience these wines.

 

In 1997, Charlie Crocker and Pam Starr established Crocker & Starr on the Crocker Estate in St. Helena, resurrecting a world-class vineyard with roots dating back to the 1870s. Charlie is co-owner with Pam, the winery manager and winemaker. Between Charlie’s historic estate that has grown grapes for over 140 years and Pam’s winemaking expertise, vision, and business acumen, the partners proved to be a spectacular match.

 

Tons of information on Charlie and Pam, the vineyard, winery and most importantly their wines is available on their website by clicking here.

 

 

My line up for this tasting

Crocker & Starr Line up

Crocker & Starr Line up

 

 

 

2014 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc – SRP $34

My sample was a 375 ml bottle.

 

This is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, 87% from the winery’s Crocker Estate Vineyard with the remaining 13% from Oak Knoll’s Las Trancas Vineyard.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel (68%), used French oak (20%) and concrete egg (12%).  The wine was aged sur lees for 8 to 9 months before blending and bottling.  A total of 1200 cases were produced.

 

The wine is a pale, light yellow with a slight green tint.  The fresh and vibrant nose has pear, melon, lime zest, vanilla bean, chalky minerals and a hint of baking spices.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and seems totally dry.  On the palate tart pears, melons, minerals and a hint of baking spices pop out early with lime zest and vanilla bean coming in later.  The finish has great length with lime zest and minerals providing a nice counter balance to the pear and melon.  Don’t serve this too cold, it really sings when it’s just on the cool side.  I’d love to have this with a nice lobster roll or some freshly grilled shrimp.  This has 14.4% alcohol.  (93 pts)

2015 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

2014 Crocker & Starr Malbec Casali 7th Edition – SRP $80

My sample was a full sized, 750 ml bottle.

 

This wine is a blend of 92% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot from the winery’s sustainably farmed vineyard in St. Helena.

 

The grapes were harvested between September 17 and October 3.  After small lot fermentations, the wine was aged for 17 months in French oak with 55% being new.  There were 553 cases produced.

 

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The dazzling nose has blackberries, plums, dark roasted coffee beans, baking spices, dark bittersweet chocolate, dusty minerals, vanilla bean, licorice and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Crushed berries, plums, coffee beans and dark chocolate jump out on the front end on the palate with baking spices, minerals and licorice coming in later.  The finish has very good length with vanilla bean and scorched earth providing nice depth.  This has great balance and is built to age.  This tastes great now with some air, but a couple years in the cellar will be greatly rewarded.  This will be outstanding in a couple of years and last through at least then end of the next decade.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 Crocker & Starr Malbec Casali 7th Edition

2014 Crocker & Starr Malbec Casali 7th Edition

 

 

 

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc – SRP $80

My sample was a 375 ml bottle.

 

This wine has 1% Petit Verdot added to the Cabernet Franc.

 

After small lot fermentations the wine was aged for 20 months in French oak with 80% new.  There were 548 cases produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The stunning nose is full of cassis, black cherry, dried leafy herbs, plums, warm baking spices, freshly ground espresso beans and scorched earth.  This has medium body with solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cassis, dried herbs, ground espresso beans and black cherries quickly take control on the front end with black cherries, baking spices and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has great length with a nice blend of fruit and savory elements.  Some time in the cellar will be greatly rewarded but this tastes great now with some time in the decanter.  This has the depth and balance to age very gracefully for two decades.  I love Cabernet Franc wines and this is probably the best I have ever tasted.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (96 pts)

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc

 

 

 

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon Stone Place – SRP $120

My sample was a 375 ml bottle.

 

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is from 38+ year old vines from the winery’s sustainably farmed Crocker Estate Vineyard in St. Helena.  The grapes came from the oldest plantings on the property, Block 3.

 

After being hand harvested on October 7 & 8, and small lot fermentation, the wine was aged 20+ months in French oak, 90% new.  There were 572 cases produced.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, cassis, warm baking spices, vanilla bean, dried rosemary, stony minerals, dark chocolate and a touch of cedar.  This has medium to full body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, baking spice, eucalyptus and vanilla bean quickly jump out immediately with minerals and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish is extremely long with a touch of cedar entering the picture.  This is drinkable now but a couple years in the cellar will be rewarded and is greatly recommended.  The great tannic backbone and acidity as well as the superb balance guarantee a long and graceful life.  If you open this in the next couple of years, give is a lot of air.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (95 pts)

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon Stone Place

2014 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon Stone Place

 

 

 

Conclusion

These are world class wines that will appeal to everyone.  These have the great taste that will appeal to infrequent wine drinkers but offer outstanding complexity with enough minerality and savory notes to cause a true wine enthusiast to grab the bottle to see what they are drinking.  Every one of these wines would be a welcome addition to my dinner table and you should give them a shot, you will be equally amazed.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Bella Grace Vineyards

 

 

Bella Grace Brut Sparkling Wine

2013 Bella Grace Montagñaro

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

 

 

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This post highlights a few wines from Bella Grace Vineyards from California’s Amador County.  I am noting the Suggested Retail Price of the wines even though only the Montagñaro was a sample, the other bottles were purchased by me.  Some of the vintages I reviewed may no longer be available.

 

The winery was named for the owner’s two grandmother’s, Bella and Grace.

 

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

 

 

Bella Grace Brut Sparkling Wine – SRP $24

This wine is from Mendocino County and was bottled at Roederrer Estates.  It is a blend of 73% Chardonnay and 27% Pinot Noir.  This wine has 12.5% alcohol.

 

The wine is a light golden straw color with abundant pinpoint sized bubbles.  The fresh smelling nose has apples, light toast, lemon curd, lime zest, chalky minerals and white flowers.  This is light and crisp on the palate with tart lemon, creamy apples, minerals and closing lime zest.  The finish has nice length with mouthwatering citrus prompting you to reach for another sip.  (90 pts)

Bella Grace Brut Sparkling Wine

Bella Grace Brut Sparkling Wine

 

 

2013 Bella Grace Montagñaro – SRP $23

This unique Amador County wine is a blend of 50% Zinfandel and 50% Barbera.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol.  This wine was a “sample” added to a case I purchased from the winery.

 

The wine is a medium garnet color.  The exotic nose has blackberries, scorched earth, black cherries, dusty minerals, licorice, white pepper, dried violets and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate dusty, earthy fruit and spice jump out quickly with white pepper and dried flowers coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with the savory elements in the front with fruit supplying nice background sweetness.  This intriguing blend has very nice balance.  (91 pts)

2013 Bella Grace Montagñaro

2013 Bella Grace Montagñaro

 

 

2012 Bella Grace Vineyards Grenache – SRP $30

The wine is a light garnet red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, white pepper, dusty minerals, licorice, baking spices, scorched earth and dried herbs.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate mineral laden cherries, white pepper and baking spices grab hold immediately with scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with dried herbs, white pepper and minerals pushing the fruit into the background…in a good way.  I think this will improve with a bit of cellar time but it’s a worthy companion today with something hot and juicy off the grill.  (90 pts)

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

 

 

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve – $33.00

This wine uses grapes from the estate’s BellaGrace Vineyard in Amador County.  The wine has 13.8% alcohol.

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The exuberant nose has blackberries, dusty minerals, cocoa powder, iron shavings, black pepper, scorched earth, dried leafy herbs, road tar, warm baking spices and dried violets.  This has medium body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, dusty minerals, cocoa powder and black pepper grab hold on the front end, slowly allowing scorched earth and dried herbs to slip through.  The finish has good length with iron shavings and baking spices entering the picture adding nice complexity and depth.  This is young, I’ll hold off a few years before opening another bottle.  The additional cellar time will be rewarded.  (91 pts)

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve

 

 

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel – $20.00

This wine has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, plums, stony minerals, scorched earth, baking spices, white pepper, cherries and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Berries, plums and minerals coat the palate on the front end with white pepper and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note and a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth.  This is on the young side but very tasty and easy to enjoy.  This is a winery that deserves some attention.  (90 pts)

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

 

 

Conclusion

I have never been disappointed by a Bella Grace wine.  They have been consistently balanced and very tasty.  I highly recommend checking them out, I’m glad I did.

 

 

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 2016 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Wines of Lodi

 

 

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Petit Verdot Inkblot

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann

2015 McCay Cellars Rosé

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2014 McCay Cellars Viognier

2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc

2015 LangeTwins Sangiovese Rosé

2013 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine

2013 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

 

 

These are all wines I purchased, none are samples that were provided to me.  Some were from my cellar, some were purchased during my recent tour of Lodi and some were purchased after I returned home.  I may write about wines but I am also a collector and wine consumer.  I may write about some wines that are provided to me but I buy the wines I want to drink.  Here are some of the wines from Lodi that are now part of my cellar.  The prices noted are what I paid without tax or shipping.  Most of the wines were discounted due to case or multi-case purchases, or store related percentage off coupons from Total Wine.

 

Some of the bloggers have already posted blogs on our visit to the area.  I’m sure there will be more posted in the coming weeks, a few will be from me.  For this post, I wanted to highlight a few of the world class wines bearing the Lodi name on the label.

 

 

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Petit Verdot Inkblot – $33.24

This is a wine I tasted during a visit to the winery as part of a group of bloggers with Snooth and the Lodi Wine organization.  I liked it enough to include a few bottles in a case of Lodi wines purchased when I returned back home.  For more information, visit the Michael-David Winery website.

 

This wine has a “touch” of Petite Sirah included with the Petit Verdot.  The grapes for this wine came from Jon Wetmore’s vineyard on the northeast side of Lodi.  This wine is always put into new barrels early in the harvest season due to the high level of tannin, color and concentration.  The wine was aged 19 months in French oak.  This is the first varietal bottling of Petit Verdot by the winery, there are very few other Lodi wineries producing Petit Verdot labeled wines.

 

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The impressive nose has crushed berries, baking spices, licorice, black cherries, dusty minerals, dark chocolate, scorched earth and a touch of cedar.  This full bodied wine has moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate loads of crushed berries, baking spices and dusty minerals grab control on the front end with licorice, black cherries and scorched earth coming in later.  The long finish is full of berries, spice and a touch of cedar.  This is an impressive Petit Verdot.  The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Petit Verdot Inkblot

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Petit Verdot Inkblot

 

 

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann – $28.00

I have been on the Bedrock mailing list since the inception several years ago.  Bedrock is owned by Morgan Twain-Peterson, son of former Ravenswood owner and Zinfandel visionary, Joel Peterson.

 

This is from a vineyard now owned by Tegan Passalacqua (Turley winemaker) and his wife Olivia.  This is an “own rooted” Zinfandel vineyard that was planted in 1915.  The “own rooted” vines had survived because the soil is very sandy which is a natural deterant to pests and diseases they plague vines in other soil conditions.  The wine is a deep ruby color.  The very inviting nose has brambly berries, cherries, warm baking spices, dusty minerals, black peppercorns, dried leafy herbs, licorice and violets.  This has a medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This is rich and voluptuous on the palate with juicy fruit, minerals, black pepper and dusty minerals on the front end with dried herbs and dry earth coming in later.  The spicy finish has nice length.  This is a very easy Zinfandel to sip and enjoy.  The wine has 14.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Kirschenmann

 

2015 McCay Cellars Rosé – $16.20

We met Michael MaCay and his Syrah grower Phil Abba and had a “side of the road” tasting at Phil’s Abba Vineyard.  Just like every grower we met you could “feel” Phil’s dedication and pride in the grapes that come out of his vineyard.  I bought this wine as well as McCay Cellars’ Syrah and Grenache wines make from the fruit from Abba Vineyard.  This was fantastic on the side of the hot, dry and dusty road and I could not wait to open a bottle to sip at home.

 

McCay Cellars is owned by Michael McCay.  McCay moved to Lodi in the mid 1980s and started to grow grapes.  He started making wine in 1994 and launched McCay Cellars in 2007.  Much more information is available on the winery, history and most importantly their wines by visiting the McCay Cellars webpage.

 

This wine is mainly Carignane (from 102 year old vines) with Grenache.  The wine was produced with a “native fermentation” in stainless steel.  The wine is a bright salmon color.  The fresh smelling nose has strawberries, peaches, dusty minerals and lime zest.  This has a medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate strawberries and minerals immediately grab your attention with peaches in the background.  The finish has nice length with a hint of lime zest leading you to grab another sip.  This has just a hint of sweetness making it an easy to enjoy companion to a warm day in the sun.  (90 pts)  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

2015 McCay Cellars Rosé

2015 McCay Cellars Rosé

 

 

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc – $9.49

Ironstone Vineyards is a family owned winery that we visited during our Lodi excursion.  The Kautz family were gracious hosts during the visit.  I enjoyed their entire line-up of value priced wines.  The quality of the wines far exceeded the “low price of admission”.  To me, their Petite Sirah and this Cabernet Franc were the standouts.  I like the wine enough to include a few bottles in the case I bought soon after returning home.  Visit the Ironstone Vineyards website for a ton more information on the winery, family and the wines.

 

This wine is 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alta Mesa and Sloughhouse AVAs in Lodi.  The wine gets a brief 2 month aging in new French oak.  The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The very approachable nose has crushed berries, stony minerals, dried leafy herbs, vanilla, cedar and wild flowers.  This has medium body with soft tannins and good acidity.  On the palate juicy berries, vanilla and dried herbs dominate the front end with toasty cedar coming in on the back end.  The fruit laden finish has nice length.  This isn’t a wine to lay down, I’d drink this one on the younger side while the fruit is crisp and fresh.  Open this one with a juicy burger hot off the grill or even better with a platter of cheeses and meats with a few friends.  This wine is a steal if you can find it for around $10.  (90 pts)  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an artificial cork.

 

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc

 

 

2014 McCay Cellars Viognier

Information and links dealing with McCay Cellars is above with my review of their rosé.

 

The wine is a golden straw color.  The inviting nose has apples, peach pits, honey, orange blossoms, dusty minerals, lime zest and lemongrass.  This has medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  Apples, lime zest and peach pits immediately coat your palate with richness, on the back end minerals and lemongrass enter the picture.  The finish has nice length with honey and orange blossoms adding depth.  This is an easy drinking wine that would be a hit with friends.  (90 pts)  This wine has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

2014 McCay Cellars Viognier

2014 McCay Cellars Viognier

 

 

2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc – $19.20

I was already familiar with Acquiesce wines before the Lodi trip from earlier tastings.  Acquiesce Winery was not visited on this trip but one of their wines, the 2015 Belle Blanc, was included in an online Snooth Tasting and chat while we were there.  If you want to see the session, it is available online.  I bought this wine as well as their Roussanne while in Lodi and had them shipped back home to me.

 

The wine is a very light golden yellow color.  The fresh and lively nose has green apples, white peach, flinty minerals, pineapple, lemon zest and a hint of spice.  This has medium body with great acidity and it seems to be totally dry.  On the palate tart apples and flinty minerals take control quickly with white peaches, pineapples and spice coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with mouthwatering lemon zest leaving you reaching for another sip.  Another great example of the white wines made from Rhone grapes that excel in Lodi.  (92 pts)  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc

2015 Acquiesce Grenache Blanc

 

 

 

2015 LangeTwins Sangiovese Rosé – $12.00

LangeTwins is another winery we did not visit.  The winery was still well represented, this wine was included in our “Welcome” dinner the day we arrive in Lodi.  I tried a small taste of the wine, took a sip and wanted more.  Needless to say, with a large table full of people, the bottle was empty.  I bought a few bottles of the wine while in Lodi and had them shipped to me back in South Carolina.  More information on LangeTwins Winery is available on their website.

 

This wine is a bright salmon color, a bit darker than a typical rosé.  The refreshing nose has strawberry, cherry, dry earth, stony minerals, orange blossoms and a touch of lime zest.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate nice fruit and minerals hit first with orange blossoms and a touch of dry earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with mouthwatering lemon zest providing nice balance to the slight sweetness.  This is not sweet but there is just enough residual sweetness to add some body and keep the fruit at the front.  This is VERY easy to sip while relaxing.  This has 12.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (90 pts)

2015 LangeTwins Sangiovese Rosé

2015 LangeTwins Sangiovese Rosé

 

 

2013 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine – $16.99

This is a bottle from my cellar.  I am fortunate enough to have a local Total Wines and More that carries several Lodi wines.  This wine and the St. Amant covered later in this post are almost always in my cellar.

 

In Italian, Macchia, means “the spot”.  The owner/winemaker for Macchia is ever dapper, Tim Holdener.  I’ll post a picture of Tim in his “tuxedo” shirt in a later post.  We had a great visit to the winery which included tastes of several barrel samples.  Time hosted a “Barbera tasting” that included several wineries in his outdoor tasting area which would be better called a “man cave”.  The area was outstanding.  Again, pictures and tasting notes will be included in a later post.  During the event, when asked about the aging potential of Lodi Barbera wines, Time grabbed a bottle of his 2003 Barbera from his personal stash.  Spoiler alert – it was outstanding.  Much more information is available on the Macchia website.

 

The wine is a deep garnet to maroon color.  The open and inviting nose has brambly berries, warm baking spices, vanilla bean, black cherries, chalky minerals, black peppercorns and dried violets.  This has a fairly full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, spices, black pepper and cherries jump out quickly with vanilla and minerals coming in later.  The finish has good length with a dried floral note providing nice depth.  This is on the young side but already drinking very nicely with some air.  Load up if you can find this one.  The wine has 15.8% alcohol that is well concealed and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2013 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine

2013 Macchia Zinfandel Mischievous Old Vine

 

 

2013 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard – $16.99

This is a wine I always have in my cellar from the local Total Wine.

 

During the trip, we had a marvelous tasting of St. Amant wines in Marian’s Vineyard which is part of the Mohr-Fry Ranch with grower Jerry Fry and Stuart Spencer, the winemaker for St. Amant.  The vineyard is well over 100 years old and produces wonderfully rich and concentrated fruit.  I highly recommend visiting St. Amant’s website and reading about the people and wine, but especially about the vineyards that are used by the winery.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The enticing nose has brambly berries, charred wood, crushed stone minerals, cracked black peppercorns, baking spices, black cherries, tobacco, earthy underbrush and dried wildflowers.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, baking spices, crushed stones and black pepper jump out quickly with black cherries and subtle charred wood coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with a pleasing dried floral note entering the picture.  This could use a bit of time in the cellar but with a bit of air it is already stunning.  Stock up on this one.  (93 pts)  This wine has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

2013 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

2013 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

 

 

2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

This is another bottle from my personal cellar.

 

We visited Harney Lane Winery during our trip.  The Mettler family has been farming the vineyards for over 100 years.  After many decades selling the grapes, in 2006 the family decided to start making wine.  The grapes for this wine come from the Lizzy James Vineyard that was planted in 1904, making this truly an “old vine” Zinfandel.

 

Our visit to Harney Lane provided us a nice tasting of their wines including barrel samples.  We had to “work” for the samples by doing “punch downs” of their fermenting Petite Sirah.  Thankfully there was no mishaps for those wearing light colored clothes.  Pictures of a few of us doing the punch-downs will be provided in a later post.  Much more information on the winery’s history, family and wines is available on the Harney Lane website.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The inviting nose has blackberry compote, black peppercorns, crushed stone minerals, warm baking spices, scorched earth, ripe plums and vanilla bean.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate jammy berries, black peppercorns, baking spices and crushed stones jump out first with plums and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dark roast coffee entering the picture.  This wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

2012 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard

 

 

Conclusion and recommendations

 

Some other wineries that merit your consideration are Bokisch Vineyards, m2 Wines, Borra Vineyards, Markus Wines a sub venture of Borra Vineyards, Oak Farm Vineyards and Mettler Family Vineyards.

 

 

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

Lodi Wine & Visitor Center

2545 West Turner Road

Lodi, CA 95242

Phone: (209) 367-4727

Email: lwwc@lodiwine.com

 

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

 

 

 

I was included as part of this blogger trip by Snooth, one of the top wine related sites on the internet.  I highly recommend visiting their site.

 

 

loca_logo-enclosure_cmyk

 

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.

 

 

snooth_logo_low-rez

 

Whether one is just a beginner, or a total pro, Snooth offers its 1 million+ users countless opportunities to learn, taste, share and shop in the world of wine.

 

Members are able to interact with wineries, stores, fellow wine lovers, and wine professionals from all over the globe with Snooth’s daily newsletters, wine search, social forums and interactive media tools.

 

Since its launch in June 2007, Snooth has become one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive online wine destinations, featuring millions of price listings and wine reviews. Snooth also powers wine & food pairings for major sites including Epicurious.com (Conde Nast) and myRecipes.com (Time Inc).

 

Visit Snooth by by clicking here.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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 2016 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

#GarnachaDay with Snooth and Wines of Garnacha

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

garnacha-logo

 

 

2015 Clos Dalian Terra Alta Garnacha Blanca

2013 Viñas del Vero Somontano Garnacha Blanca La Miranda de Secastilla

2015 Altovinum Evodia

2015 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha Cariñena

2014 Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Centenaria

 

 

Overview

I was invited to participate in a #GarnachaDay online tasting with Snooth and Wines of Garnacha.  These wines were provided to me by the organizers.  A very informative online session hosted by Master Sommelier and Corkbuzz owner Laura Maniec and Master of Wine Christy Canterbury.  You can view the Virtual Tasting Chat Log and view the recorded video by clicking here.

 

Much more informative information is available at the Wines of Garnacha site.

 

old-vine-garnacha

Old Garnacha Vines of Bodegas Alto Moncayo.

Picture courtesy of Foods & Wines of Spain

 

 

My Line Up

Here is my line up for this online tasting event:

img_9712

 

 

2015 Clos Dalian Terra Alta Garnacha Blanca

This wine is 100% Garnacha Blanca (White Grenache) from the Terra Alta region in Spain.  The wine does not see oak.

 

The wine has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light straw yellow color.  The very inviting nose has ripe apples, pears, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, lemon zest, orange blossoms, lime zest, white peaches and beeswax.  This has medium body with nice crisp acidity.  On the palate apples, pears, lemon zest and crushed stones jump out quickly with orange blossoms and beeswax coming in on the back end.  The lingering finish adds mouthwatering lime zest.  The bright fruit and crisp acidity makes this a perfect choice for a light meal or an aperitif on a warm, sunny day.  (89 pts)

2015 Clos Dalian Terra Alta Garnacha Blanca

2015 Clos Dalian Terra Alta Garnacha Blanca

 

 

2013 Viñas del Vero Somontano Garnacha Blanca La Miranda de Secastilla

This 100% Garnacha Blanca was aged 4 months in French oak.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow color.  The fresh and bright nose has apples, white peaches, crushed stones, pears, orange blossoms and a touch of Spanish peanuts.  The palate has nice white fruit and crushed stones on the front end with white peaches and orange blossoms coming in later.  The crisp finish adds a nutty element and just enough citrus leaving your mouth watering for another sip.  This would be a very nice companion for a light meal or appetizers on a sunny day.  (91 pts)

2013 Viñas del Vero Somontano Garnacha Blanca La Miranda de Secastilla

2013 Viñas del Vero Somontano Garnacha Blanca La Miranda de Secastilla

 

 

2015 Altovinum Evodia

This wine is a custom cuvee for Eric Soloman and comes from high altitude (2400 to 3000 feet) vineyards that were planted up to 100 years ago. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks and did not spend any time in oak barrels.

 

This wine has 15% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The sensuous nose has black cherries, flinty minerals, plums, warm baking spices, dry earth, dried violets, white pepper and melted licorice.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, plums, flint and baking spices quickly take control on the front end with white pepper and licorice coming in later.  The finish has good length with a dried floral note providing nice depth.  This is a smooth, velvety wine with no rough edges.  (91 pts)

2015 Altovinum Evodia

2015 Altovinum Evodia

 

 

2015 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha Cariñena

This wine is 100% Garnacha from the Cariñena region in Spain.  This wine is fermented and aged for under 12 months in stainless steel tanks.  This wine is produced to be enjoyed early.

 

This wine has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The hypnotic nose has blackberries, crushed stones, white pepper, cherries, dry underbrush, violets and warm baking spices.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, crushed stones and baking spices jump out quickly on the front end with white pepper and tart cherries coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dry underbrush and a floral note providing extra depth.  This is a wine that would satisfy both casual and more serious wine drinkers.  (90 pts)

2015 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha Cariñena

2015 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha Cariñena

 

 

2014 Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Centenaria

This 100% Grenache comes from vineyards planted over 100 years ago.  The wine was aged for 4 months in French oak.

 

The wine has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cocoa beans, black cherries, baking spices, scorched earth, dusty minerals and a hint of mint.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Blackberries, cocoa beans and dusty minerals jump out quickly on the palate with black cherries and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with baking spices providing additional depth.  This is a very tasty wine with solid structure.  (91 pts)

2014 Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Centenaria

2014 Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Centenaria

 

 

Conclusion

Spanish Garnacha is generally a crowd pleasing wine.  There is usually nice up front fruit that will appeal to the casual wine drinker but these wines generally have the structure and savory/mineral notes that appeal to the more “serious” wine lover.  If these wines are new to you or it’s been a while since you enjoyed a bottle, grab one on your next wine shopping trip.

 

 

 

snooth_logo_low-rez

 

This presentation and the wines were provided by Snooth.

 

Snooth is the world’s most comprehensive wine site, hosts the largest online wine community & features reviews & local prices for millions of wines.

 

Mission

Snooth is a revolutionary web-based social shopping experience that is simplifying how people select, learn about, and purchase their favorite wines.

 

Company Overview

Philip James launched Snooth in 2007 with one goal: to make wine info clear, accessible, and freely available.

The idea for Snooth first came to Philip when he began working in the wine industry and realized just how complex wine was — if even the most seasoned wine collectors could become confused, what hope was there for the casual wine lover?

He realized that the wine industry was hopelessly fragmented — with neither a standardized naming system nor a centralized repository of information — and created Snooth to change all of that.

 

Visit Snooth by by clicking here.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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 2016 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Finger Lakes Riesling Hour Tasting

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

 

 

Logo

New York’s Finger Lakes

North America’s premier cool-climate winegrowing region

 

 

It was my good fortune to be able to participate in an online tasting of Riesling wines from the Finger Lakes region of New York.  The event was the final online event celebrating the release of the 2013 Rieslings from the area.  The event was dubbed “Riesling Hour”, even though the event lasted for a couple of hours.

 

To follow ongoing conversations on the wines from the Finger Lakes region, check out the hashtag #FLXWine or follow @FLXwine on Twitter or give a “Like” to Finger Lakes Wine on Facebook.

 

I want to thank the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and the wineries for providing these wines for me to sample.

 

 

About the region

The Finger Lakes became an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982 but its history goes back much further.  The first vineyard in the region was planted by Reverend William Bostwick in his rectory garden in Hammondsport, NY in 1829.

 

The region is now home to over 115 wineries with about 9,200 acres of vineyards.  The region produces about 220,000 cases of Riesling wine from the 848 acres of Riesling grapes.

 

In 1998 the region was brought to the forefront in the wine world when Semi-Dry Rieslings from Dr. Konstantin Frank’s and Fox Run Vineyards each won a Gold medal in Strasbourg’s Rieslings of the World Competition in Alsace.

 

The major varieties of grapes planted in the region are Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.  Each of these has over 100 acres of vines in the AVA.

 

 

Much more information about the region is available on the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website.

 

 

My Line Up

There were a lot of different wines opened for the event; my line up included two dry Rieslings and one “medium dry”.

Finger Lakes Riesling line up

Finger Lakes Riesling line up

 

 

 

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

 

The Winery

Villa Bellangelo was founded in 2002 by Michael Litterio as a Finger Lakes winery with a vision of the future.  The Missick family recently acquired Villa Bellangelo from Mr. Litterio and looks forward to continuing to offer Finger Lakes wine country visitors and customers premier service and a perfect product for many years to come.

 

Villa Bellangelo is situated in a magnificent location atop a hill overlooking central Seneca Lake.  Our tasting room has offered visitors breathtaking views for decades, but these historic landshave been a part of the heart of Finger Lakes agriculture and grape growing for centuries.

 

Much more information on the winery and their wines is available by clicking here.

 

The Wine

This 100% Riesling uses grapes from (Gibson Vineyard (63%), Morris Vineyard (30%) and Tuller Vineyard (7%).    The wine was fermented in stainless steel (93%) and neutral oak (7%).  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 3 months in 100% French oak barrels that were 4 to 10 years old.

 

The wine has 11.3% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light straw color.  The appealing nose has apples, honey, orange blossoms, lemon zest, flint and white peaches.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate ripe apples and flinty minerals jump out first with orange blossoms and lemon zest coming in later.  The finish has good length with mouthwatering citrus balancing out the sweetness.  (88 pts)

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

2013 Villa Bellangelo Riesling Dry

 

 

 

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

 

The Winery

The winery is located high on Torrey Ridge, overlooking one of the deepest parts of Seneca Lake.  Fox Run owns 55 acres of vineyards.  For over a century the land was a dairy farm.  Grapes were first planted in 1984 and the Civil War era dairy barn was converted into a modern wine making facility in 1993.  A new facility was built in 1996 with a picturesque view of Seneca Lake.

 

More information about the winery, their wines and their online store is available on their site by clicking here.

 

The Wine

This 100% Riesling comes from three blocks in the estate vineyard.  The blocks were established between 1989 and 1998 at elevations between 590 and 660 feet.  The wine was fermented at moderate temperatures using three different yeast strains.  The wines were chilled to stop fermentation just before reaching total dryness to leave a small amount of residual sugar in the finished wine.

 

The wine has 11.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden straw color.  The very inviting nose has apples, petrol, orange zest, flinty minerals, honey and white flowers.  This has medium body with decent acidity and a fair amount of lingering sweetness.  On the palate ripe apples and orange zest initially grab hold with minerals and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with the citrusy acidity to hold the sweetness in check.  (86 pts)

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry

 

 

 

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

 

The Winery

For three generations our family has been growing wine grapes on the shores of Seneca Lake using only sustainable viticultural practices.  So it’s not just a fad for us, it’s who we are.  These “green” decisions not only protect the health of our employees, consumers, and neighbors, but also insure our continued ability to grow and deliver the best possible wine for generations to come.

 

Much more about the winery, their wines and their commitment to the planet is available by clicking here.

 

The Wine

This wine is 100% Riesling from the estate’s sustainably farmed Red Oak Vineyard.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and is considered to be “Medium dry”.

 

This wine has 12.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light, clear straw color.  The slightly shy nose has apples, honey, candied orange zest, flinty minerals and white flowers.  This has medium body with decent acidity and some lingering sweetness.  On the palate, apples and orange zest jump out first with a nice lime note coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with ripe apples and lime closing the show.  (89 pts)

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

2013 Lamoreaux Landing Riesling Red Oak Vineyard

 

 

 

Conclusion

This was another very nice showing of the quality wines being produced in New York’s Finger Lakes region.  Even though this tasting was centered around the release of the new Riesling vintage, many other varietals are being used and are worthy of your attention.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cairdean Estate Winery from St Helena – Take 2

 

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

logo_icon

Cairdean – Scottish Gaelic for friends

 

 

Overview

This was Cairdean Estate’s second venture into the #winechat experience.  My post on their first session is available by ckicking here.

 

This #winechat was like Cairdean’s first, well received effort.  For this week’s version, I was allowed to select two wines from a list of 5 I’d like to sample during the chat.  The previous time, I opted for wines outside of the usual Napa Valley wines and selected a Malbec and a Merlot.  This time I went a bit more main stream and selected a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir.

 

For the record, here were the wines I had to choose from:

2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Carneros Pinot Noir

2011 Oak Knoll Merlot

2011 Napa Valley Rosé

 

 

Pinot Noir rows in Carneros

 

 

The Winery – Their Story

Cairdean Estate is the vision of husband and wife Edwin and Stacia Williams.

 

While working in the software industry on the East Coast outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Stacia developed a strong appreciation and passion for wine.  She made her first vintage in harvest of 2000, shipping in winegrapes from California through a local beer and wine hobby shop.  She met Edwin, an aerospace engineer, shortly after her first vintage.  Edwin being from Fresno, California was immensely interested in her winemaking project and educated her about the world-renowned Enology and Viticulture program at Fresno State.  After years of planning, Edwin and Stacia moved to Fresno with their two children so that Stacia could go back to school and earn a degree in Enology & Viticulture from Fresno State.

 

During Stacia’s time at Fresno State, she and Edwin planned their future together and knew that they wanted to work together and build a family business managing vineyards and making wine.  They had travelled the world together with their children in search of where they would land, but their hearts always belonged to Napa Valley – the first wine country they ever visited as a couple back in the year 2001.

 

After much searching for their home in Napa Valley, it was their elder son Kyle that led them to the quaint town of St. Helena.  He was entering high school and very much wanted to attend the public high school there.  In their searches for land that would allow a quintessential wine country lifestyle, they settled on a beautiful 50 acre parcel right on highway 29 in Saint Helena just north of downtown.

 

After relocating from Fresno to St. Helena in 2010, Edwin and Stacia embraced their vision and created Cairdean Vineyards.  Cairdean is Scottish Gaelic for friends, which reflects their belief that wine is meant to be shared by those held close to your heart.  The Cairdean symbol is a representation of that belief with the four hearts always present and brought together in the center by friendship.

 

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

 

 

Protocol

 

About Winechat

#winechat is a weekly, Twitter based discussion about something dealing with the world of wine.  Generally, each week’s chat session deals with a specific theme and is lead by an “expert” in that area.  This is generally a nice way to learn about a region, winery, type of wine, etc.

 

Mission

What is #WineChat?  Click here to learn more.

 

Description

How do you join #winechat? Using a tool such as Hootsuite, log into your twitter account & follow the #winechat stream. Be sure to include #winechat at the end of each tweet so everyone in the stream can see you!

 

Grab a glass and join in!

 

The #winechat schedule is available on their Facebook page by clicking here.

 

#winechat is hosted by Protocol Wine Studio.  For more information on them, click here.

 

 

There has been a change at the help of #winechat.  Since this chat was organized by Protocol Wine Studio, they are still getting the thanks.  Future #winechat sessions will be hosted by Just the Bottle.

 

 

 

My line up for this event included these two wines I mentioned earlier:

Cairdean lineup

Cairdean lineup

 

 

 

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP $68.00

This is a true Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  The fruit came from four very different vineyards and regions in the Napa Valley.  Grapes from Calistoga, Rutherford, Oak Knoll and Coombsville were used in the final blend.  This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Syrah and 2% Malbec.

 

After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged in French oak barrels, with 50% being new.  The total production was 948 cases.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, eucalyptus, warm baking spices, cedar, dried herbs, dusty minerals, licorice, tobacco and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate tart cassis and dried herbs hit first with minerals and cedar not far behind.  The finish has very good length with violets and spice entering the picture.  (93 pts)

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Cairdean Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir – SRP $52.00

This 100% Pinot Noir comes from vineyards in the coolest section of the Napa Valley, Carneros.  Two clones of the Pinot Noir grape was utilized, Martini and 115.  The grapes were harvested at the same time and were whole berry fermented together in an open top stainless steel fermentation tank.  There was a combination of daily pumpovers and punchdowns.  The wine was pressed just prior to dryness and barrel aged sur-lie for seven months.  The wine was then racked and barrel aged for an additional 4 months.  All French oak barrels were used with 50% being new.  There were 408 cases produced.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, smoke, minerals, cranberries, peat moss, dried violets and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Tart, mineral laden fruit jumps out first on the palate with charred wood and cranberries coming in later.  The finish has good length with a floral note and dry earth entering the picture.  This is tasty now but could use some time in the cellar.  (94 pts)

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir

2011 Cairdean Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

 

 

Closing comments

This makes four wines I have very much enjoyed from Cairdean Estate.  I can see a very bright future for this young winery.  If your travels take you to the Napa Valley, I heartily recommend a visit to Cairdean Estate.  After checking out their menu, I would recommend a stop later in the day combined with a meal at their restaurant, The Farmer & The Fox.  The winery tasting room is open until 8:00, so a post tasting meal would work perfectly.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Carinena Roundtable Tasting with Snooth

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Selección

2013 Bodegas Virgen del Águila Cariñena Agoston Tempranillo & Cabernet

2009 Castillo de Monseran Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

2012 Alto Cinco Garnacha Cariñena

2009 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva

 

 

LOGO DO CARINENA

 

 

Overview

In late June I had the extreme good fortune of being invited to participate in an online tasting of wines from Carignena, a region in Spain.  This event was organized by Snooth and Greg Dal Piaz.  This wasn’t your usual online Twitter based tasting or even one with someone in front of a camera leading the event and doing all the talking.  This was a true roundtable event.  We all connected to a Google+ Hangout with our own audio and video feed.  Whenever one of us talked, everyone’s video feed would switch to the person “with the floor”.  This was my first experience with this format, but I’m sure it won’t be my last.  There are limitations in the number of concurrent video feeds allowed in the session, but for events with under a dozen participants, this platform should be outstanding.

 

If my reviews and notes look familiar, that’s because this was originally published as part of a Snooth article titled “Cariñena’s Ready To Take Center Stage”.  The entire Snooth post is available by clicking here.  I decided since I had a blog ready to post, why not?

 

 

417

 

 

About the region

Cariñena is located in the heart of the Ebro Valley.  Its vineyards cover a total surface area of 14,388 hectares, which include several surrounding towns: Aguarón, Aladrén, Alfamén, Almonacid de la Sierra, Alpartir, Alpartir, Cariñena, Cosuenda, Encinacorba, Longares, Mezalocha, Muel, Paniza, Tosos  and Villanueva de Huerva.  Nearly 1,540 wine growers tend directly to the vineyards, which are undisputedly the region’s main source of income.

 

Cariñena occupies an exceptional geographic location as it’s located on the same transport route that connects the Ebro Valley to Spain’s Eastern coast.  It is directly on the north-south route that structures the Aragonese territory.  This geographical position makes it a strong connection between the Basque Country and the Region of Valencia.  Moreover, due to its proximity to the French border, it’s also an area of great interest from the point of view of trade and cultural relations with Europe.  The motorway linking the Region of Valencia to France through Aragon strengthens even more the strategic value of Cariñena.

 

This wine region (Denominación de Origén (D.O.) is located 42 kilometres to the south of Zaragoza, 290 km from Madrid and 360 km from Barcelona.

 

This information is from the D. O. Carinena website.  Much more information is available by clicking here.  If you want to learn more about the region, climate, wines and history, I recommend checking them out.

 

 

Snooth_Logo_Low-Rez

 

This presentation and the wines were provided by Greg Dal Piaz and Snooth.

 

Snooth is the world’s most comprehensive wine site, hosts the largest online wine community & features reviews & local prices for millions of wines.

 

Mission

Snooth is a revolutionary web-based social shopping experience that is simplifying how people select, learn about, and purchase their favorite wines.

 

Company Overview

Philip James launched Snooth in 2007 with one goal: to make wine info clear, accessible, and freely available.

The idea for Snooth first came to Philip when he began working in the wine industry and realized just how complex wine was — if even the most seasoned wine collectors could become confused, what hope was there for the casual wine lover?

He realized that the wine industry was hopelessly fragmented — with neither a standardized naming system nor a centralized repository of information — and created Snooth to change all of that.

 

Visit Snooth by by clicking here.

 

 

 

My Line Up

Here is my line up for this online tasting event:

Line up for Carinena Roundtable Tasting

Line up for Carinena Roundtable Tasting

 

 

 

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Selección

This is a blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Garnacha.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The intriguing nose has cherries, minerals, white pepper, blackberries, licorice and dried violets.  This is barely medium body with moderate tannins and crisp acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and minerals jump out first with licorice and a floral note coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a cranberry note joining the show.  This needs some food to help keep the acidity in check.  (88 pts)

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Selección

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Selección

 

 

 

2013 Bodegas Virgen del Águila Cariñena Agoston Tempranillo & Cabernet

This is a 50-50 blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, cassis, dried herbs, crushed stone minerals, baking spices, dark chocolate, fresh thyme and a touch of cedar.  This has medium body with soft tannins and slightly soft acidity.  Juicy cherries and berries with baking spices coat the palate with minerals and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The sappy finish adds some cedar.  I’d like a bit more grip on the back end and finish, as is it gets a touch soft.  (88 pts)

2013 Bodegas Virgen del Águila Cariñena Agoston Tempranillo & Cabernet

2013 Bodegas Virgen del Águila Cariñena Agoston Tempranillo & Cabernet

 

 

 

2009 Castillo de Monseran Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The appealing nose has cherries, white pepper, vanilla, wild flowers, baking spices and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Spicy cherries and white pepper pop out first on the palate with a floral note coming out on the backend.  The finish has decent length with a touch of earthiness adding some depth.  Not bad but not really showing anything special at this time, I’m sure this will be better down the road.  (89 pts)

2009 Castillo de Monseran Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

2009 Castillo de Monseran Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

 

 

 

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, blackberries, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, mint, vanilla, plums and candied violets.  This is barely medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate zippy fruit and white pepper jump out first with minerals, plums and mint coming in later.  The finish has good length with a nice floral note entering the picture.  This is a solid effort.  (90 pts)

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

2011 Beso de Vino Cariñena Old Vine Garnacha

 

 

 

2012 Alto Cinco Garnacha Cariñena

This wine has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color.  The impressive nose has cherries, black raspberries, licorice, white pepper, cocoa powder, vanilla and candied violets.  This has medium body with soft velvety tannins and decent acidity.  Rich, ripe berries, spice and cherries coat the palate initially and grudgingly allowing some white pepper and cocoa powder to slip through on the back end.  A candied floral nose enters the picture on the finish which has decent length.  This is an easy drinking wine with slightly low acidity and just a touch of sweetness.  (87 pts)

2012 Alto Cinco Garnacha Cariñena

2012 Alto Cinco Garnacha Cariñena

 

 

 

2009 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva

This wine has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  Per Greg this is only$7 but appears to be available only at Trader Joes.  If you see this wine at that price, grab a case, you won’t be sorry.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has black cherries, raspberries, minerals, baking spices, cedar, white pepper, and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spicy cherries and raspberries hit upfront with minerals and spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has good length with some subtle earthiness and white pepper adding nice depth.  (90 pts)

2009 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva

2009 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva

 

 

Conclusion

I was already fairly familiar with the region and in fact have had prior vintages of half these wines.  This is a very unique region, some of the wineries are very “old school” and others are adopting the practices of the “new world” regions.

 

Every one of these wines were distinctive.  They had the “personality” and nuances to satisfy any wine lover but would easily satisfy even a novice wine sipper in any friendly gathering.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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