Posts from the ‘Wine Event’ Category

Cliffs Wine Picks – Summer Rosé – Vol 1

 

2016 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé

2016 Bodegas Casado Morales Rioja Rosado

2015 Domaine La Rabiotte Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence

2015 Domaine de la Vivonne Côtes de Provence Rosé

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé

2015 Terre di Talamo Maremma Toscana Piano Piano

2016 V. Sattui Winery Rosato di Sangiovese

2016 Dinastía Vivanco Rioja Tempranillo-Garnacha Rosado

2016 Domaine de Bendel Côtes de Provence

 

 

 

Rosé wine is the fastest growing segment of the wine market in the United States.  A lot of wineries are having a hard time keeping up to the demand.  Even though Summer has just begun, a lot of wineries are already sold out of their pink wines.  I would only buy a pink wine that was produced within the previous two years, in this case 2015 and 2016.  Even though these wines can be enjoyed for a year or two longer, they are fragile wines that can be harmed by conditions outside the norm.  There is really no way to accurately know how the wine was handled during the entire process used in its’ distribution from the winery to your store’s shelf.

 

Summer started a week ago, so to most people, it is now Rosé season.  To a lot of us, there isn’t a Rosé season since we drink them all year.  This is the first of two blogs I will be posting dedicated to Rosé wines.  The second will be posted in the next week or two.  Most of these wines were purchased at my local Total Wine and I show the price I paid with any sales/coupons/volume discounts.  They are probably available at other retailers.  A couple were samples provided to me for review purposes, there are marked as such and I show the suggested price that was supplied to me or the average price I found on the internet.

 

 

 

2016 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé – $10.35

This Pinot Noir Rosé is from the Vin de Pays d’Oc appellation from France’s Languedoc Roussillon region.

 

The wine is a very light pink color.  The energetic nose has strawberries, cherries, orange blossoms and subtle minerals.  This has light body with nice acidity.  On the palate bright red fruit and minerals pop out on the front end with orange blossoms and lime zest coming through later.  The mouthwatering finish has good length with red fruit and lime zest.  This is a light, crisp rosé with nice up front red fruit.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2016 d'Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé

2016 d’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé

 

 

 

2016 Bodegas Casado Morales Rioja Rosado – $8.62

This appears to be a blend of Tempranillo 60% and Viura 40%.

 

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The fresh and lively nose has cherries, crushed stone minerals, orange zest, underbrush and white pepper.  The has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, minerals and a hint of underbrush pop out on the front end with orange zest coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of white pepper providing some depth.  This is a fresh and lively summer sipper.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a pink plastic stopper.  (89 pts)

2016 Bodegas Casado Morales Rioja Rosado

2016 Bodegas Casado Morales Rioja Rosado

 

 

 

2015 Domaine La Rabiotte Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence – $11.21

This appears to be a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah.

 

The wine is a pale pink salmon color.  The easy going nose has strawberries, cherries, stony minerals, white pepper, orange zest and a hint of leafy herbs.  This has medium body with nice acidity and seems totally dry.  On the palate red fruit and minerals pop out first with white pepper and a touch of herbs coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of orange zest entering the picture.  This is a nice, easy drinking Rose for a sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (89 pts)

2015 Domaine La Rabiotte Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence

2015 Domaine La Rabiotte Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence

 

 

 

2015 Domaine de la Vivonne Côtes de Provence Rosé – $11.98

This is a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault.

 

This is a pale pink salmon color.  The slightly subdued nose has strawberries, minerals, cherries, white peach, white pepper and a touch of underbrush.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, minerals and white peach come through on the front end with strawberries and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of underbrush providing some depth.  A nice rosé for a warm, sunny meal on the deck or patio.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a manmade cork substitute.  (89 pts)

2015 Domaine de la Vivonne Côtes de Provence Rosé

2015 Domaine de la Vivonne Côtes de Provence Rosé

 

 

 

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé – $10.35

This is a blend of 73% Grenache and 27% Syrah.

 

The wine is a deep salmon pink color.  The riveting nose has cherries, strawberries, minerals, white pepper, orange blossoms and a hint of dry earth.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate red fruit, minerals and white pepper immediately grab your attention with orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of dry earth providing depth.  This is a little fuller body than most Rosés from the region but it has the bolder flavors and nice acidity to support the extra weight.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper.  (91 pts)

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé

2016 Château de Fabrègues Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé

 

 

 

2015 Terre di Talamo Maremma Toscana Piano Piano – $14.99

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

 

The wine is a bright pink color.  The fresh and lively nose has cherries, strawberries, dusty minerals, dry earth and orange blossoms.  This has light to medium body with good acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, strawberries and minerals take control on the front end with dry earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with orange blossoms providing some depth.  This is an easy drinking Rosé to enjoy on the deck or patio on a sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper.  (89 pts)

2015 Terre di Talamo Maremma Toscana Piano Piano

2015 Terre di Talamo Maremma Toscana Piano Piano

 

 

 

2016 V. Sattui Winery Rosato di Sangiovese – SRP $26

This is based on a sample provided by the winery or a company representing the winery.

 

This wine is 100% Sangiovese primarily from the winery’s Hibbard Ranch in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley.  This wine is only available direct from the winery, visit their website for more info or to purchase.

 

The wine is a bright peach color.  The inviting nose has cherries, strawberries, melon, subtle dry earth, orange blossoms and lime zest.  This has medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate the fruit controls the front end with cherries and strawberries immediately grabbing your attention, later melon and a touch of dry earth enter the picture.  The finish has nice length with orange blossom and lime zest providing good depth.  This is very easy to sip on a sunny warm day by itself or with a light meal.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2016 V. Sattui Winery Rosato di Sangiovese

2016 V. Sattui Winery Rosato di Sangiovese

 

 

 

2016 Dinastía Vivanco Rioja Tempranillo-Garnacha Rosado – SRP $15

This is based on a sample provided by the winery or a company representing the winery.

 

This is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Grenache.  In the past I sampled their white and red Rioja wines and liked them more than the Rosado.  More info on them is available on this site.

 

The wine is a bright pink color.  The alluring nose has cherries, strawberries, orange zest, leafy herbs, crushed stone minerals, white peach and melon.  This has medium body with decent acidity.  On the palate red fruit and minerals open the show with orange zest, leafy herbs and white peach coming in later.  The finish has decent length with some melon providing depth.  The finish gets a touch soft, a little more acidity would be welcome.  Over all, a nice Rosé to sip alone on a warm, sunny day but the lower acidity would present a challenge to pair with food.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a plastic “cork”.  (87 pts)

2016 Dinastía Vivanco Rioja Tempranillo-Garnacha Rosado

2016 Dinastía Vivanco Rioja Tempranillo-Garnacha Rosado

 

 

 

2016 Domaine de Bendel Côtes de Provence – $16.99

This is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Syrah.

 

The wine is a light, pale pink color.  The inviting nose has strawberries, cherries, white peach, orange blossoms, lime zest and minerals.  This has light to medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate strawberries and cherries pop out quickly with orange blossoms and minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with lime zest providing depth and a crisp acidic closing note.  The slight sweetness makes this very easy to sip on a warm, sunny day.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (88 pts)

2016 Domaine de Bendel Côtes de Provence

2016 Domaine de Bendel Côtes de Provence

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Bruce Patch Wines

 

2012 Bruce Patch Take Five

2013 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Equavinity Landy Vineyard

2014 Bruce Patch Equavinity Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2014 Bruce Patch Patchwork

2014 Bruce Patch Red Dress

2014 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Harris Kratka Vineyard

 

This is based on wines provided by the winery at no charge.

 

 

 

 

From Doo Wop to Dry Creek

 

A lot of successful winemakers grow up in the wine industry, others migrate to it based on a life changing experience.  Bruce Patch is from the latter group.  Bruce started out in the music industry.  In his past life he met the Beatles and helped to discover the famous 80s band, The Cars, who happen to be one of my favorite bands of the era.  When Bruce relocated to the west coast from his native Boston, Bruce turned his energies to several small music labels of his own and focused on classic R&B and Doo Wop artists and contemporary South Pacific music.

 

During this period, Bruce met his partner, artist Andrea Cleall, at a donut shop on the outskirts of Topanga Canyon.  When the couple moved to the Russian River Valley in the late 1990s, Bruce transitioned his sales and marketing skills into a successful distribution business representing small independent wineries in Sonoma County.  The experience he gained from these contacts led Bruce to start his own label, Wine Guerrilla.   Over the course of a decade, he built the brand and won accolades for his line-up of stellar single vineyard zinfandels.

 

Bruce doesn’t own any vineyards but the contacts he had made earlier allows him to source fruit from some of the best vineyards in Sonoma County.

 

Besides Bruce’s prized Zinfandels, he also produces wines from Primitivo, Malbec and now even a Pinot Noir.

 

Up to this point in his history, all his wines were from Sonoma County grapes but I saw he recently produced a wine using grapes from Lodi.  The future looks very bright for Bruce Patch Wines.

 

Much more information on Bruce and his wines is available on his website by clicking here.

 

 

 

The labels for Bruce’s wine feature unique artwork by Sean Colgin.  Here are the wines for this post:

Bruce Patch Line-up

Bruce Patch Line-up

 

 

 

2012 Bruce Patch Take Five – SRP $35

This is a blend of 50% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 18% Malbec, 8% Sangiovese and 4% Petit Verdot from 5 select Sonoma Valley vineyards.  The wine was aged for 30 months in French and American oak.  There were only 200 cases produced.

 

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The enticing nose has plums, baking spices, black cherries, tobacco, scorched earth, licorice, fresh ground espresso beans and dried flowers.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate plums, espresso beans, baking spices and black cherries quickly grab your attention with tobacco and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has very good length with licorice and a dried floral note providing nice depth.  This is a big bodied wine with nice fruit and savory elements all held together nicely by the tannic backbone and acidity.  No hurry on this one, it has the balance to age gracefully for several years.  This has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2012 Bruce Patch Take Five

2012 Bruce Patch Take Five

 

 

 

2013 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Equavinity Landy Vineyard – SRP $30

The Landy Vineyard occupies 23 acres in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley that lies in the warmer part of the valley.  After fermentation the wine was aged for 20 months in American oak.  The total production was only 200 cases.

 

The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  The flamboyant nose is full of brambly berries, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, plums and black pepper.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate waves of fruit, minerals and black pepper immediately jump out on the front end with bittersweet chocolate coming in later.  The finish has very good length with layers of fruit and peppery spice.  For such a big, full flavored wine, this has the structure and balance to last in the cellar for several years.  That said, this one would be hard to resist.  This has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2013 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Equavinity Landy Vineyard

2013 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Equavinity Landy Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Bruce Patch Equavinity Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – SRP $48

This wine is 100% Dijon clones Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast vineyards.  The vineyards enjoyed hot days and cool nights to provide ripe fruit while maintaining good acidity.  The wine was aged for 14 months in French oak with 25% being new.  There were only 100 cases produced.

 

The wine is a bright ruby color.  The very appealing nose has black cherry, strawberry, white pepper, dried underbrush, cola, dusty minerals, dark roast coffee beans and dried wildflowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, strawberries and white pepper grab control immediately with dry underbrush, minerals and cola coming in later.  The finish has nice length with coffee beans and a dried floral note providing good depth.  This is on the young side, give it a year or two in the cellar and enjoy it over the next decade.  A pretty nice Pinot Noir from a Zinfandel guy.  I am enjoying this a bit more with every sip.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (91 pts)

2014 Bruce Patch Equavinity Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2014 Bruce Patch Equavinity Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

 

 

 

2014 Bruce Patch Patchwork – SRP $40

This is a blend of predominately Zinfandel (67%) with lesser amounts of Carignane, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot.  The grapes were from the Alexander and Sonoma valleys.  After fermentation the wine was aged for 20 months in French and American oak.  The total production was a miniscule 85 cases.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The big and outgoing nose has brambly berries, baking spices, charcoal, scorched earth, licorice, freshly cracked black peppercorns, black cherries, crushed stones and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  Berries, spice, scorched earth and black cherries quickly coat your palate on the front end with charcoal and black pepper coming in later.  The finish has nice length with some crushed stone minerals providing depth.  This is a big bruiser that shows nice refinement and is kept lively by the nice acidity.  This tastes great now and should hold for several years in the cellar.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Bruce Patch Patchwork

2014 Bruce Patch Patchwork

 

 

 

2014 Bruce Patch Red Dress – SRP $35

This is a blend of 63% Zinfandel, 16% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 7% Carignan and 4% Petite Sirah from Sonoma County.  The wine was aged for 20 months in French and American before only 90 cases were bottles.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, scorched earth, black cherries, eucalyptus, black pepper, charcoal and a hint of roasted leafy herbs.  This has medium to full body with nice acidity and moderate tannins.  On the palate dark fruit and scorched earth quickly grab your attention with black pepper and charcoal coming in later.  The finish has good length with a touch of pleasing roasted herbs providing nice depth.  This is drinking very nicely now but a year or two in the cellar will be rewarded.  This is a unique blend that works.  This has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2014 Bruce Patch Red Dress

2014 Bruce Patch Red Dress

 

 

 

2014 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Harris Kratka Vineyard – SRP $35

This wine is a blend of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Carignane and 5% Petite Sirah that was aged for 18 months in French and American oak.  The 17 acre Harris Kratka Vineyard is at the southern end of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.  There were 300 cases of this wine produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The full throttle nose has brambly berries, dusty minerals, warm baking spices, freshly ground espresso beans, eucalyptus, black pepper, dry underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate and dried wildflowers.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, minerals and baking spices quickly take control on the front end with espresso beans, eucalyptus and black pepper coming in later.  The nicely layered, lingering finish has dry underbrush, dark chocolate and a dried floral note providing great depth.  I’d give this one another year or two in the cellar and enjoy it over the following half dozen years.  this has 15.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2014 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Harris Kratka Vineyard

2014 Bruce Patch Zinfandel Harris Kratka Vineyard

 

 

 

Conclusion

These all were big boned wines that were loaded with flavor.  Even though they all taste great now, they have the structure and balance to reward some cellar time.   I highly recommend opening a bottle of one of these and serving it with something hot and juicy fresh off the grill with some Cars music playing in the background.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

Cliffs Wine Picks – Flora Springs Chardonnay

 

2016 Flora Springs Chardonnay Family Select

2015 Jon Nathaniel Wines Chardonnay Lavender Hill

 

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

 

 

Overview:

These wines were provided to me to sample and enjoy for #ChardonnayDay on May 25th.

 

 

Over the years Flora Springs was always one of our stops when we visited Napa Valley.  We took the two pictures below of the stained glass and wall murals during a visit in late August 2001, a couple weeks before 9/11.  When I was offered a couple samples from them, I was excited to reacquaint myself with these wines.

 

 

 

About the winery:

Flora Springs, located in the Northwest corner of the Rutherford appellation at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, was founded in 1978.  The stone cellar of Flora Springs is a once abandoned “ghost winery”.  It was Flora Komes who along with her husband Jerry that found the area while looking for a place to “kick off their boots”.  Flora was the one who saw the possibilities hidden behind decades of neglect, over-grown ivy, and shifting rock walls.  The property’s winemaking roots go back to the 19th century but if was the work of Flora and Jerry’s children, John Komes and his wife Carrie, and Julie Garvey and her husband Pat Garvey, that have etched the legacy of Flora Springs.

 

As both artisan winemakers and growers, the family is committed to the traditions of fine winemaking and responsible stewardship of its 650 acres of vineyard land for future generations to savor and uphold. Today, ninety percent of Flora Springs’ red wines are sourced from its organically-farmed estate vineyards, and all of these wines are crafted in their solar-powered 19th-century stone winery and caves.

 

Much more about the winery, the family and the wines is available on their website by clicking here.  I highly recommend checking out their “Working with Nature” and “Farming Responsibly” sections to read about their dedication to sustainability.

 

 

 

These bottles were supplied by the winery and Mora Cronin of Cronin Communications.

Cronin Communications is a marketing communications and public relations agency based in St. Helena, California.  Specializing in the wine industry, the firm provides services including strategic positioning and brand messaging, copy writing and media relations.  For more information, contact moracronin@comcast.net.

 

 

 

The wines for this tasting:

 

 

 

2016 Flora Springs Chardonnay Family Select – SRP $35

This wine comes from three sustainably farmed vineyards in Oakville, Oak Knoll District and Carneros.  The grapes were fermented in a combination of oak barrels (76%) and stainless steel tanks (24%).  The lees were stirred bi-weekly and the 20% went through malolactic fermentation.  After fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak for seven months.

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, pineapple, melon, warm baking spices, vanilla bean, lemon zest, flinty minerals and a hint of almond.  This has medium to full body with a creamy texture and very nice acidity.  On the palate apples, melon, spices and pineapple quickly grab your attention with vanilla bean, minerals and lemon zest coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with a hint of almond joining the rich fruit and tart lemon zest.  This has a nice creamy texture from 20% malolactic fermentation but retains the crisp acidity to provide nice balance.  This is very easy to drink and would be a great companion for a nice dinner on the deck or patio this Summer.  This has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and a hard plastic like disk.  (92 pts)

2016 Flora Springs Chardonnay Family Select

2016 Flora Springs Chardonnay Family Select

 

 

 

2015 Jon Nathaniel Wines Chardonnay Lavender Hill – SRP $50

Flora Springs’ Lavender Hill Vineyard is a seven acre vineyard in southern Carneros, one of the coolest sites in the Napa Valley.  70% of the juice was fermented in small French oak barrels to allow the oak to better integrate with the wine.  The remaining 30% was fermented and aged in concrete vessels.  The concrete does not leave behind any discernable flavor but the small microscopic pockets hold oxygen which help preserve aromatics and broaden the mouthfeel.  During the eight month aging process, the wine was stirred every two weeks to suspend the lees and release essential oils that add richness and viscosity.  The wine also went through partial malolactic fermentation to balance the bright fruit and give it a rich and supple palate.

 

The wine is a bright straw yellow color.  The bright and inviting nose has apples, pears, orange blossoms, baking spices, vanilla bean and a touch of honey.  This has a full body with a creamy texture and very good acidity.  On the palate tart apples and pears combine with orange blossoms on the front end with baking spices and a touch of minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with vanilla and mouth watering lemon zest providing great depth and forcing you to reach for another sip.  This is a very food friendly wine that has great balance.  This has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork topped with a hard disc.  (93 pts)

2015 Jon Nathaniel Wines Chardonnay Lavender Hill

2015 Jon Nathaniel Wines Chardonnay Lavender Hill

 

 

 

Conclusion

Both of these wines would be a welcome addition to your dinner table.  They have nice up front fruit and good closing acidity to be a good accompaniment to a wide range of dishes.

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Locations Tasting with Dave Phinney

 

Locations E-4 (Spain)

Locations F-4 (France)

Locations I-4 (Italy)

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

 

 

The question is – do you break the rules, and thousands of years of history and tradition, in pursuit of expressing freedom?

 

You do, if you are Dave Phinney of Locations Wines.

 

 

I was recently invited to “sit in” on an online tasting and chat with Dave Phinney the winemaker for Locations Wines.  It was a lively hour learning about Dave and his vision of Locations Wines.  You can tell this is a very important project for Dave.  There were a few times when the emotions took over making the chat seem even more real.

 

Dave’s goal is to create the best wine possible in a country regardless of where the wines were grown.  This may sound perfectly normal but this goes against the traditions (and regulations) that have been in place, in some cases, forever.  In America, cross appellation wines are common place.  It’s not unusual for a wine to contain grapes from multiple regions.  Ever see a bottle of Zinfandel labeled as coming from California?  This means the grapes came from multiple regions in the state…perhaps Lodi, Russian River Valley, Lake County, Amador, or anywhere in the state.  Dave goes one step further, he uses grapes from anywhere in the country.  Imagine a US blend including Pinot Noir from Oregon, Merlot from Washington, Cabernet Sauvignon from California and Cabernet Franc from New York.

 

Much more information is available about the winery, their vision and the wines is available on their website by clicking here.  If you are interested, I highly recommend checking out the site.

 

 

Here are the wines that were included in this online tasting:

 

 

 

Locations E-4

This is a blend of Grenache(Garnacha), Tempranillo, Monastrell and Carignan(Cariñena) sourced mainly from vineyards in Priorat, Jumilla, Toto, Rioja and Ribera del Duero.  After fermentation, the wine was barrel aged for 10 months.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The exuberant nose has blackberries, well worn leather, plums, baking spices, licorice, roasted herbs and earthy underbrush.  This has full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate juicy berries, plums, leather, spices and roasted herbs jump out on the front end with roasted herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with some underbrush providing depth.  This is a big, rich, smooth wine that is ready to go and full of flavor.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

Locations F-4

This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and assorted Bordeaux varietals mainly from Rhone, Roussillon and Bordeaux.  The wine was barrel aged for 10 months prior to bottling and release.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The outgoing nose has blackberries, raspberries, tobacco, baking spices, dried herbs, dark chocolate and wildflowers.  This has a full body with soft to moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate nice fruit and spices take control on the front end with dried herbs and tobacco coming in later.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate and a nice floral note providing plenty of depth.  This is a ripe and rich wine with enough acidity and tannins to hold everything in check.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

Locations I-4

This wine is a blend of Negroamaro and Nero d’Avola from Puglia and Barbera from Piemonte.  Like the other Locations wine in this tasting, the wine was barrel aged for 10 months after fermentation was completed.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The initially slightly shy but inviting nose opens up with some air revealing blackberries, black cherries, baking spices, vanilla bean, pine needles, dry underbrush and a hint of cocoa powder.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate dark fruit, baking spices and underbrush grab your attention on the front end with cocoa powder coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a pine note and vanilla bean providing depth.  This is much more open on the palate than the nose at this time.  A bit of time in the cellar will be rewarded.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

 

 

Conclusion – These wines were unique and most were made for immediate enjoyment.  In the case of the Italian wine, I think it has some upside potential if cellared for a year or two.  For the purists, don’t look for the infamous terroir.  Since these grapes are from multiple regions the terroir gets blended away.  These are fairly full bodied wines with soft to moderate tannins and lower levels of acidity making them very easy to drink.  These would be a big hit at your next party or gathering.

 

 

 

 

 

About Balzac

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

 

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

 

The results speak for themselves.

 

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

 

For more information on Balzac, please click here.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Lodi Wines Vol 4

 

 

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

2014 Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage Lodi

2011 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard

2014 Macchia Sangiovese Amorous Lodi

2015 Michael Klouda Wines Hatterle Zinfandel Lodi

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense Lodi

2012 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Barbera Lodi

2013 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera

 

 

This post includes a mix of wines from my cellar that I purchased and samples that were provided to me.  I have the samples clearly stated as samples and show the suggested retail prices.  Some were from my cellar, some were purchased during my recent tour of Lodi and some were purchased after I returned.  I 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.

 

 

I had the extreme good fortune to be invited on a Press Trip to Lodi last September and it was a wonderful trip.  I had been a fan of Lodi Wines before the trip but now I am a fan of the people of Lodi.  The growers are outstanding people with a true dedication to tending to their vines and producing some of the best grapes in the world.  The winery owners and winemakers treat the grapes with the respect they deserve and produce some of the best wines in the world.  If you think Lodi means big, burly red wines, you owe it to yourself to revisit the area.  Besides the big red wines, the area produces outstanding, lighter bodied, nuanced red wines and some of the best white and rose wines in the world.

 

 

 

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo – SRP $23

This is based on a sample provided to me but this is a personal favorite.  I have a couple bottles in my cellar that I purchased before this sample arrived.

 

This wine includes a touch of Graciano.

 

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

 

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

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

2013 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

 

 

 

2014 Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage Lodi – SRP $25

Pinotage is an rare grape in California.  In the entire state there are only 58 acres of Pinotage vines and the Mettlers have 4 of these acres.

 

The Mettler family has been growing grapes for 8 generations and in Lodi for over 5 generations.  The grapes the family produced were sold to other well known wineries.  In 2001 the family started the winery and released their inaugural wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Much more information on the family, the winery and their history is available on their website.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The inviting nose has crushed berries, underbrush, baking spices, dark roasted coffee beans, dried herbs, cherries and dry loam soil.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate crushed berries, underbrush, coffee beans and dried herbs take over on the front end with loamy soil and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has good length with berries and earthiness lingering nicely.  With out a doubt one of the best Pinotage wines I have ever tasted.  It seems like the grape could have a future in Lodi.  This is a nice wine, not a novelty.  This has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2014 Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage Lodi

2014 Mettler Family Vineyards Pinotage Lodi

 

 

 

2011 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard – $12.12

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

 

Markus Bokisch was raised in California but spent his childhood summers in Spain with his family.  In 1992 Liz & Markus Bokisch moved to Spain and worked in the Spanish wine industry.  Upon returning to California, they quickly purchased the Terra Alta Vineyards property.  Using the connections they formed while living and working in Spain, they began importing “budwood” and planted the Las Cerezas Vineyard.  They produced their first vintage under the Bokisch label on 2001.

 

The wine is a bright red color.  The enticing nose has cherries, crushed blackberries, baking spices, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, dried violets and dry underbrush.  This has medium body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate ripe cherries, berries and white pepper come through on the front end with dried flowers, baking spices and minerals coming in later.  The finish has good length with cherries and dry underbrush carrying the load.  This is in a prime drinking window and should hold for a few years.  This is another wine that shows the diversity and quality of wines being produced in Lodi.  This wine is a steal at the SRP of $20.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard

2011 Bokisch Vineyards Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Macchia Sangiovese Amorous Lodi – $21.99

This is another wine from Lodi I picked up at Total Wine in Columbia after returning from my trip to Lodi.  I loved my visit to Macchia and highly recommend trying any you may see on a shelf.  I’m thankful the local Total Wine carries several Macchia wines.

 

Besides the usual Lodi wine suspects, Macchia produces several wines from Italian varietals.  A stop at the “man cave” tasting area at Macchia should be on your short list of places to visit in Lodi.  Additional information about the winery is available on their website.

 

This wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The sexy nose has cherries, warm baking spices, raspberries, dry earthy underbrush, violets, dusty minerals and a touch of licorice.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate this wine is full of rich fruit, spices and earthiness on the front end with minerals and a nice floral note on the back end.  The long, lingering finish closes with a hint of orange zest.  This is nothing like an Italian Sangiovese but the wine world would be a boring place if every wine made from a specific grape tasted the same no matter where it was grown.  This demands a hearty meal, think pasta with a meat sauce or a pizza with plenty of pepperoni and sausage.  This has 16.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2014 Macchia Sangiovese Amorous Lodi

2014 Macchia Sangiovese Amorous Lodi

 

 

 

2015 Michael Klouda Wines Hatterle Zinfandel Lodi – SRP $26

This “own rooted” vineyard was planted in 1930, Mr Hatterle has been farming the vineyard for almost 50 years.

 

I’ve now had the opportunity to try a couple Michael Klouda wines and both have left me VERY impressed.  In my opinion, we will hear more about the winery in the coming years.  More information on Michael, the winery and the wines is available on their website.

 

The wine is a garnet color.  The sensuous nose has brambly berries, black peppercorns, baking spices, scorched earth, violets and licorice.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart berries, black pepper and baking spices take control on the front end with scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a nice floral note providing some depth.  This is a stylish and refined Zinfandel, not a burly beast.  This food friendly and balanced wine would be a nice companion with your dinner.  I like this style of Zinfandel more than the ones that push the ripeness levels to the extreme.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2015 Michael Klouda Wines Hatterle Zinfandel Lodi

2015 Michael Klouda Wines Hatterle Zinfandel Lodi

 

 

 

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 two 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.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an artificial cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2014 Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

From the winery:

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

 

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

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense Lodi

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense Lodi

 

 

 

2012 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Barbera Lodi – SRP $25

The Proprietor and Winemaker for Uvaggio is Jim Moore.  You may not have heard of Jim, but there is a good chance you have tasted some of his wines over the years.  While working for Robert Mondavi winery, Jim envisioned and developed La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi in California.  Jim was also instrumental in helping to launch the partnership between Robert Mondavi Winery and Frescobaldi family of Florence to launch the Luce and Lucent labels from Tuscany.

 

This wine is 98% Barbera from the Leventini Vineyard and 2% Primitivo from the Bella Vigna Vineyard.  The wine was fermented with a yeast strain isolated in Barolo.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 9 months in 27% new French oak, 13% once or twice used French oak and the reminder in fairly neutral oak.

 

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

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, black cherries, dry sandy loam, roasted herbs and wild flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and dry earth take control on the front end with roasted herbs and a nice floral note coming in later.  The finish has very nice length and is loaded with fruit.  This doesn’t offer a lot in the complexity department but the front loaded fruit makes it easy to drink and enjoy.  No hurry on this one, it may even show some improvement with another couple years in the cellar.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (88 pts)

2012 Uvaggio (L'Uvaggio di Giacomo) Barbera Lodi

2012 Uvaggio (L’Uvaggio di Giacomo) Barbera Lodi

 

 

 

2013 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera – SRP $25

I was able to attend a tasting at the winery’s Gill Creek Ranch in late September and loved the “alternative” wines they served.  Their white wines were crisp, light and mineral driven.  I was able to sample this specific wine at a large Barbera tasting with several wineries participating.  This was one of the standouts (for me) at the event.  The winery has a “second label” called Markus, these wines must be tasted, they are truly outstanding.

 

This is 100% Barbera from over 40 year old vines from the vineyard planted around their tasting room in Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA.  The winemaker, Markus Niggli (Swiss born) uses native fermentation of only free-run juice.  After fermentation, the wine is aged for 22 months in 35% new French oak.  Total production was a miniscule 120 cases.

 

If you ever make it to Lodi, a stop at Borra Vineyards is a must.  If you’re lucky enough to meet Markus, you’ll be impressed with his forward vision and old-school approach to wine making.  Much more information about the winery, people and wine is available on their website.

 

The wine is a nice garnet color.  The seductive nose has black cherries, crushed stone minerals, baking spices, cola, scorched earth and dried wild flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate black cherries, minerals and spice quickly jump out with cola and dry earth coming in on the back end.  The lingering finish adds a nice dried floral note.  This won’t be mistaken for an Italian Barbera, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I liked this wine…a lot.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist-off cap.  (92 pts)

2013 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera

2013 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera

 

 

 

Conclusion and recommendations

These are all wines made with pride by families who either grow their own grapes or buy them from “friends”.  The over riding thing I learned during my visit is this region performs like one big team.  Everyone from the grape growers to the winery owners are equals when it comes to producing these world class wines.

 

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

Lodi Wine & Visitor Center

2545 West Turner Road

Lodi, CA 95242

Phone: (209) 367-4727

Email: lwwc@lodiwine.com

 

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

 

 

 

 

Lodi Information

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Lodi Green Program

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – 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

 

 

crocker-starr-logo

 

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!

 

 

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