Posts tagged ‘Bedrock’

Cliffs Wine Picks – Aug 16, 2013 to Aug 18, 2013

 

 

2001 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2008 Foris Gewürztraminer

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera delDuero

 

 

 

2001 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett – $21.83

We’re big fans of German Rieslings with a bit of age on them.  We’ve been know to open 20 to 25 year old ones, so at only 12 years old, this one is on the young side.  I bought a few bottles of this wine several years ago, and this is our last bottle.  To me, a good Riesling is a revelation.  Unencumbered by oak, the fruit and minerality are allowed to grab the spotlight and shine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden yellow to straw color.  The slightly shy nose has apples, honey, minerals, orange blossoms, and a hint of petrol.  This has medium body, crisp acidity, and some nice closing sweetness.  On the palate apples and pineapples hit first with a nice streak of minerality and orange zest coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with very nice balance between the acidity and sweetness.  This is drinking wonderfully today and could last in the cellar for a few years, but why wait?  (91 pts)

2001 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett

 

 

 

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $19.00

This rosé from Bedrock as well as Villa Creek’s offering, form the nucleus of my warm weather  rosé wines.  I mix in a few others I buy at the local store, but these two make up well over 50% of the rosés we drink during the year.  If you aren’t on the Bedrock mailing list, I highly recommend getting on their waiting list.  They are producing some of the best white wines coming out of California and their reds, after some cellar time are outstanding.  This rosé completes the loop making Bedrock one of the better wineries making a wide variety of wines.  As a bonus, their pricing is very consumer friendly with a lot of wines under $25.

 

For more information on the winery or to get on their mailing list, visit their website here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light pink to salmon color. The fresh and clean nose has strawberries, minerals, white peaches, cherries, and some subtle earthiness. This has light body with crisp acidity and maybe just a touch of residual sugar. Crisp, juicy fruit and minerals dominate the palate with a touch of earthiness in the background. The finish has nice length and leaves a very slightly sweet and crisp final impression. The perfect wine to enjoy on a warm Summer afternoon with or without food.  (90 pts)

2012 Bedrock Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rose

 

 

 

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $38.00

I decided to make this an all Bedrock day.  This will by my first bottle of wine from the winery using grapes from the outstanding Monte Rosso Vineyard.  Owner/wine maker, Morgan Twain-Peterson was able to secure grapes from the same block his father Joel used to create the outstanding wines for his old winery, Ravenswood.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, violets, fresh ground black pepper, toasty oak, vanilla, melted licorice, freshly ground dark roast coffee, and a touch of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, layers of fruit, spice, and savory elements take turns engulfing the taste buds, trying to out do each other.  The finish is extremely long and again reveals new layers every few seconds.  This is obviously on the young side and even though it will last in the cellar through the end of the decade, it is absolutely stunning right now.  (95 pts)

2010 Bedrock Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

2008 Foris Gewürztraminer – $13.29

It’s a nice Summer day that calls for a light lunch on the deck and a crisp, white wine.  I haven’t had one of these for a several months but prior bottles have been very nice.  Even though it is labeled as being dry, it does seem to have just a hint of sweetness which adds a touch of body and depth.  I would have preferred to have consumed this bottle last year, but as always, a bottle or two gets missed before the weather deteriorates with the changing seasons.  I remember this wine having such nice acidity and balance that I’m not even considering chilling off a back up bottle.  Let’s see how well this bottle survived some extended cellar time.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellowish straw color.  The fresh and exotic smelling nose has lychee, apple, pineapple, orange zest, nice spice, and rose petals.  This is light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness, even though it is labeled as dry.  An almost oily texture on the palate accompanies nice spicy, fruit laced, lychee with come citrus in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the spicy citrus hanging on and slowly dissipating.  This is as good as this one will get, so I’d advise drinking up before the colder seasons roll around since this started fading after a couple hours.  (89 pts)

2008 Foris Gewurztraminer

 

 

 

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera del Duero – $28.73

I was in the mood for something a little different today.  It hasn’t been all that long since I opened an Aalto Ribera del Duero, but that bottle just “primed the pump” causing me to want another.  A lot of people prefer a Rioja from Spain, but to me the Ribera del Duero is THE destination for outstanding Spanish wines.

 

I bought several of these a number of years ago and opened one WAY too young.  It was enjoyable but needed a couple more years in the cellar.  It’s time to see if I was able to keep my hands off it long enough.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The open and inviting nose is full of black cherries, dark bittersweet chocolate, smoke, well worn leather, blackberries, warm baking spices, and violets.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy berries and cherries fly out of the gate with some building dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long and full of spicy cherries and dark chocolate.  Very tasty today but absolutely no hurry on this one.  (92 pts)

2004 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera del Duero

 

 

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.

 

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Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – May 10, 2013 to May 12, 2013

 

 

2008 Schild Estate Shiraz

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heirloom

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

2003 Château Pontet-Canet

 

 

2008 Schild Estate Shiraz – $19.00

 

My comments

This has been a very erratic bottle, a couple bottles have been very nice, almost worthy of the lofty position it was anointed by Wine Spectator, this was number 7 on the Wine Spectator, Top 100 Wines of 2010.  The other bottles have been thin, tart, and slightly green.  This was a controversial wine from the start.  After getting the lofty score and its inclusion in the top 10 on WS’s wine of the year list, the winery “made” more of the wine.  Supposedly the wine was made from purchased wine and was purely for consumption in Australia.  The contents of most of the bottles in my case leave me wondering if some of the wine ended up not staying in Australia.

 

Winery history

The winery’s website is “under construction” so I am posting information from James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion website.  You should visit his wonderful site.

 

Ed Schild is a BarossaValley grapegrower who first planted a small vineyard at Rowland Flat in 1952, steadily increasing his vineyard holdings over the next 50 years to their present level. The flagship wine is made from 150-year-old shiraz vines on the Moorooroo Block. The cellar door is in the old ANZ Bank at Lyndoch, and provides the sort of ambience that can only be found in the BarossaValley. A $4 million winery was constructed and opened in time for the 2010 vintage. Schild Estate was caught up in a PR storm in early 11 after its 08 Shiraz was ranked no. 8 in the Top 100 Wines of the Wine Spectator. All of its stock had to be sent to the US, and a separate blend was made for Australian distribution with a slip label stating it was blend no. 2. The event has not stopped production increasing from 20 000 to 45 000 dozen. Exports to all major markets.

 

Author: James Halliday

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, smoke, melted licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, baking spices, white pepper, and some earthy underbrush.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and tart acidity.  On the palate tart berries and spice hit first followed by dark chocolate, earthy elements, and cherries.  The finish has nice length with a green herbal note creeping in.  I’ve encountered some rather extreme bottle variation on this wine.  This one lacks some of the richness found on the better bottles and the acidity is a touch over blown.  (86 pts)

2008 Schild Estate Shiraz

 

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heirloom – $35.00

 

My comments

Bedrock has quickly turned to a major provider of white wines in my house.  I generally have a hard time limiting my purchases of Morgan’s white wines to a couple cases.

 

That said, I joined this e-mail list to get access to the old vine red wines the winery produces.  This wine is mainly Zinfandel (50%) with a healthy amount of Carignane (30%).  The remainder is a mix of the other two dozen varieties interspersed in the vineyard.

 

Winery history

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

 

The winery’s objectives are:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

To dream big but keep production low!

 

 

The 2009 Heirloom is a more poised and elegant expression of the red soils found at my family’s Bedrock Vineyard.  Though perhaps not as brooding as the 2008, I find the aromatics of black fruits, pungent orange oil, and exotic spices quite compelling.  On the palate the wine is dense and vibrant and surprisingly open given the normally tannic structure imbued into Zinfandel based wines from Bedrock.  As always, the wine is a blend of the 26 varieties interplanted from the 121-year-old vines at the ranch.  This year’s blend is approximately 50% Zinfandel, 30% Carignane, with the balance being the other 24 or so varieties. 10 barrels and one puncheon made. 60% new, tight-grain, French oak from Ermitage, Rousseau, and Cadus.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, baking spices, mocha, fresh ground espresso, cherries, licorice, and wild flowers.  This has medium to fully body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine slowly reveals multiple layers of fruit, spice, and subtle earthiness.  The finish is very long and full of berries and spice with a nice floral note making a closing appearance as well as a touch of dark chocolate.  (92 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co The Bedrock Heirloom

 

 

 

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes – $13.29

 

My comments

Generally I am not a point chaser, but when the local wine store puts a new wine of the shelf with a “talker” noting a 93 point score from Robert Parker and the wine is under $15, I had to grab a bottle.  This is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was aged in concrete.  This will be my first exposure to this wine and if it approaches the level of the Wine Advocate review, I’ll be stocking up.

 

Winery history

One of the oldest viticultural areas of France, vines in the Roussillon were cultivated by the Romans, and perhaps even before that.  With some of the most dramatic topography in France, many of the zones are composed of extremely steep hillsides – resembling the Priorat in Spain in many ways.

 

One of the most sought-after winemakers of Europe at the moment, Jean-Marc Lafage lends his expertise with Southern European varietals to several top estates in both France and Spain (he makes Evodia with Eric Solomon among other custom cuvee projects) and also in South America.  However, his best work is perhaps at home at his estate in the hills of the Roussillon with his wife, Eliane, also a highly accomplished winemaker.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  The clean and refreshing nose has cherries, baking spices, eucalyptus, forest floor, tobacco, blackberries, and wild flowers.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has spicy fruit, a touch of eucalyptus, and some earthiness.  The finish has nice length and closes with a touch of dark chocolate.  Not a lot of complexity but a very tasty glass of wine to enjoy over the next few years.  (90 pts)

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

 

 

 

2003 Château Pontet-Canet – $67.99

 

My comments

I attended a tasting of 2003 Bordeaux wines at a local wine store several years ago.  Even though I liked Bordeaux wines, I wasn’t all that experienced tasting these wines soon after release when they are generally still very tight and unyielding.  A few of the wines poured were so tight it was hard to get them to reveal very much with the usual small pours at this type of event.  That said, this wine was very tight but you could easily taste the power and depth on the palate.  It was a very easy decision to grab a few bottles to stash in the cellar.  Seven years later, it’s time to open one to see how it is doing.  Thankfully, I have enough in the cellar to not worry too much about opening this one on the young side.

 

Winery history

Jean-François de Pontet, royal governor of the Médoc, combined several vineyard plots in Pauillac in the early 18th century.  Years later, his descendants added neighbouring vines in a place named Canet.  This was the beginning of one of the largest estates in the Médoc, which quite naturally added the name of its founder to that of the land registry reference.

 

A century later, Pontet-Canet was included in the famous 1855 classification, thereby confirming its membership among the elite of the Médoc.  This privileged position did not go unnoticed by one of the most important Bordeaux shippers of the time, Herman Cruse, who bought the estate in 1865.  He built new cellars, modernised the winemaking facilities, and established the wine’s reputation around the world.  The Cruse family owned Pontet-Canet for 110 years, until another shipper (from Cognac this time), Guy Tesseron, acquired it in 1975.

 

Over two centuries Pontet-Canet has been owned by three different families.  Today it is run by Alfred Tesseron with his niece Melanie (daughter of Gerard Tesseron) who is the descendant of Guy Tesseron.  Thirty years after their arrival in Pauillac the Tesseron have the satisfaction of knowing that they have gradually replanted some of the vineyard and renovated the buildings and the wine making facilities.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to purple color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, cigar box, mint, dried herbs, minerals, warm baking spices, vanilla, well worn leather, and a bit of earthiness.  This is a wine you can sit and smell for hours and “almost” be satisfied.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate features spicy fruit with touches of oak, dried herbs, and some subtle earthiness.  The finish is extremely long and full of fruit, spice, and some oak, which is noticeable but not obtrusive.  This is still very young but with some air, it rounded into shape very nicely.  I decanted my bottle about two hours.  (95 pts)

2003 Chateau Pontet-Canet

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Nov 16, 2012 to Nov 18, 2012

 

 

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Compagni Portis – $24.00

 

My comments

This wine is a field blend consisting of about a dozen different varietals from a vineyard planted in 1954.  This is how wines used to be made before people wanted to see a specific grape on the label.

 

I joined the Bedrock mailing list to get my hands on their red wines, but with every bottle of white wine I open, I am more convinced they are making some of the best white wines coming out of California.

 

Winery history

In 2009 I took this vineyard not really knowing what to expect.  Yes, I had tried the excellent wines made by my friend Will Bucklin, and  yes, I was besotted (as I often am by plants from California’s viticultural antiquity) with the nearly 60-year-old, dry-farmed, vines of varieties of many different hues and shades:  However, I was not expecting to fall in love.  For me, the odd combination of field-blended whites yields a wine that offers a glimpse at the white wines of yore in California.  Rose, lychee, and spice come from the Gewurtzraminer, while brightness and enough backbone are given by the Trousseau Gris, Riesling, Berger, Green Hungarian, and whatever else is out there.  For me it has exactly what I am looking for when it comes to an heirloom wine — it is a sporadic, seemingly random, assemblage of varieties that can only be found together here in California’s oldest vineyards and makes a wine more indicative of place than variety, spacing, farming, or anything else.   That said, farming is important, and this winter I decided, as many men do when their emotions get in the way of their better senses, to lavish the vineyard with some viticultural bling.  Decades of minimal farming (and who can farm when getting $1200 a ton!) had rendered a vineyard full of blackberries and poison oak, dead vine limbs fraught with eutypa and bot canker, missing vine positions, and limited vigor.  This winter vineyard manager Phil Coturri, the Compagni Portis family, and I, started a rejuvenation project.  Gone are the blackberries and poison oak stealing the vines water and causing pricks and rashes.  A pyre of the fungus ridden vine arms slowly killing the plants was set ablaze.  In their stead are a set of new wires, a full conversion to cane pruning to increase the number of spur positions and potential clusters (I love concentrated fruit but .9 tons per acre is simply economically unsustainable), and in the fall the first set of cover crops will be put down to add nutrients back to soil and increase friability and tilth.  What does this mean?  It means that Bedrock dropped some serious coin, but that we have taken the first step in making sure the vineyard will be around for another sixty years.  I say this as preamble to the raise in price from $20 to $24 dollars per bottle for the wine so you will know that I am not simply trying to line my pockets — in reality, selling all six barrels of the wine at this new price will only pay for half of the improvements.  Rather, I am hoping you will be willing to join me in preserving this one-of-a-kind vineyard from a bygone age.  As for the winemaking, this is a vineyard where I believe simplicity is key.  The wine was whole-cluster pressed and then fermented in stainless-steel and neutral oak barrels with native yeasts.  The richness of fruit and spice in 2010 prompted me to halt malolactic conversion to retain brightness to leaven the opulence of the fruit.  I am unquestionably pleased with the results.  Six barrels produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The wine has an outstanding nose with beeswax, fresh flowers, peaches, apples, pineapple, flint, stony minerals, and spices.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate the wine displays layers of fruit and spice with some nice minerality in the background adding considerable depth.  There is a long, lingering, flavor filled finish.  This is an outstanding effort and a big bargain at $24.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2006 Shafer Relentless – $42.74

 

My comments

I decided to open a Relentless to honor the fact the 2008 vintage of this wine was named Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year.  I had a bottle about a year and a half ago just to check it out before giving it some cellar time.  I’ll probably open a bottle every year and a half over the next several years.

 

Winery history

Shafer Vineyards traces its beginnings to 1972 when John Shafer left a 23-year career in the publishing industry and, with his family, moved to the NapaValley to pursue a second career in wine.  After purchasing a 210-acre estate in NapaValley’s Stags Leap District, the Shafer family faced the arduous task of replanting the existing vineyards, which dated to the 1920s, and terracing the steep and rocky hillsides, eventually expanding vineyard acreage to its current 50 acres.

 

Evolving from grape growers to vintners, the Shafers crushed their first Cabernet grapes in 1978 and began construction on their winery a year later.

 

The first Shafer Cabernet became a benchmark, winning the acclaimed San Francisco Vintners Club taste-off upon release and, over a decade later taking first place in an international blind tasting held in Germany, where it outranked such wines as Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour and Chateau Palmer.

 

Doug Shafer became winemaker in 1983 after graduating from the University of California at Davis with a degree in enology and viticulture.  A year later Elias Fernandez joined the winery as assistant winemaker.  Together Doug and Elias have worked closely to forge the Shafer style of quality, consistency and elegance.

 

New vineyards have been added over the years, with acreage acquired in the Oak Knoll, Stags Leap and Carneros districts, bringing the total Shafer vineyard acreage to over 200 acres.  Winery facilities have been expanded and extensive caves carved into the hillside for aging wine.

 

In 1994, Elias was appointed winemaker, and Doug took over the reins as president when John became chairman of the board.

 

From a modest beginning of 1,000 cases in 1978, the winery has grown steadily until reaching its present size of 32,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Today Shafer wines are available in major markets nationwide and in many foreign markets.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The exotic and enticing nose has blackberries, fresh ground dark roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, melted licorice, black pepper, smoke, black cherries, tar, and violets.  This is full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there are layers of fruit and savory elements that thoroughly coat your  mouth.  The finish is fairly long and again is loaded with flavor.  Not a lot of subtlety here, just massive amounts of flavor, that are held in check by the outstanding tannic backbone and acidity.  (93 pts)

 

 

 

2005 Meritxell Palleja Priorat Nita – $16.74

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of the rugged, rough and tumble wines coming out of the Priorat for a number of years.  Generally these are not fruit forward wines, in a lot of cases they aren’t even fruit driven.  These are generally loaded with spice, dried herbs, minerals, and earthy elements.

 

Winery history

Following the family tradition, Meritxell Pallejà started off in the world of viticulture by studying oenology and assisting at wineries both in the region (Vilella de la Cartoixa, the Cooperativa Agrícola de Capçanes and Álvaro Palacios) and also in the Napa Valley and the French Burgundy (on that occasion at a biodynamic winery that would influence her own way of working).  NITA is her first wine (brought out in 2004 and called Cal Nita, named after her grandmother’s house in Falset).  It saw the beginnings of her biodynamic project that takes into account the lunar calendar not only in the production process but also in recommending the most opportune moment for drinking the wine.

 

The lunar calendar shows the relationship between various activities, such as the grape harvest, racking, bottling and even trying and tasting the wine, and the differing positions of the sun, planets, constellations and signs of the zodiac.  This means that it can be ascertained when wines are at a more or less active stage (a waxing or waning moon) or how a plant’s general health is being affected, which will come through in changes to colour, potency of aromas, flavours and essential properties.  For example, the wine will display its floral and fruity attributes to better effect if we drink it on “flower” or “fruit” days on the lunar calendar, and that is precisely when Meritxell suggests we open a bottle of her Nita.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color, much lighter at the edge.  The old school nose features crushed rocks, blackberries, scorched earth, dried herbs, licorice, leather, tobacco, underbrush, and dried flowers.  This has medium body with sold tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the initial fruitiness is quickly brushed out of the way by solid minerality, dried herbs, and earthy elements.  The long finish leans on the savory elements with the fruit in the background.  The finish is like a mouthful of crushed stones and dried herbs with one solitary blackberry providing some sweetness.  This is still on the young side but if you don’t mind solid tannins, it’s in a great place right now.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2004 Adriano Marco e Vittorio Barbaresco Basarin – $34.80

 

My comments

I’ve had three bottles of this wine in the cellar for close to 4 years.  Every time I check my inventory for an Italian wine, this is the first wine I see, since my inventory is sorted in alphabetical order on the wine name.  It’s probably still on the young side, but it’s time to check in to see how the wine is coming along.

 

Winery history

The Azienda Agricola Adriano Marco e Vittorio farm is located in the heart of the Langhe, at Frazione San Rocco Seno d’Elvio, over the beautiful Alba, producing wines with the unique characteristics of the territory. It is a family run company, who has been producing wine from its own grapes for generations. At the beginning of the 20th century, Giuseppe, the grandfather, who was share-farmer, started his activity of growing grapes. Later on, he purchased a small farm and together with his son Aldo, expanded the family property planting new vines. The grandsons, Marco e Vittorio, continued this expansion, introducing big changes as the wine-making and the bottling of their own production. The farm has currently an extension of 22 hectares of vineyards of NEBBIOLO for BARBARESCO, BARBERA, DOLCETTO, FREISA, SAUVIGNON and MOSCATO; 8 hectares are dedicated to the hazelnuts, typical from the Langhe region and 10 hectares are divided in meadows, fallow land and forests where the famous White Truffle from Alba can be found.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The very enticing nose has cherries, earthy underbrush, baking spices, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and fresh flowers.  This had medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the earthy, savory notes command center stage with dried herbs and fruit on the sidelines.  The finish has nice length and again highlights the savory elements.  This is still very young but tasty.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

Getting a few random offers with Holiday offers, mainly for wines I either already have or passed on earlier.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

It was a busy receiving week.

 

From Garagiste

(6) 2005 Frenchman Hills Red Wine Sentinel Gap Vineyards

(6) 2001 Weinhofgut Anton Zimmermann Bernkastel-Kueser Weisenstein Riesling Auslese

(6) 1998 Weinhofgut Anton Zimmermann Bernkastel-Kueser Weisenstein Riesling Auslese

(3) 2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

 

From Loring

(4) 2011 LoringWineCompanyPinotNoirRussianRiverValley

(4) 2011 Loring Wine Company Pinot NoirSantaLuciaHighlands

(4) 2011 LoringWineCompanyPinotNoirStaRitaHills

(3) 2011 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard

(3) 2011 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard (375 ml)

(6) 2011 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard (375 ml)

 

 

 

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!

 

Dinner Party October 27, 2012

 

We had some of our best friends over for dinner on Saturday, October 27th.  Since they are into good wine as much as we are and it’s been quite a while since we’ve “broken bread” together, I decided to pull out a few special bottles.

 

They were calling for a cold day, so we decided to go with a good, nothing fancy, comfort food, style of dinner, with the wine playing the starring role.

 

I tried to pick wines that were all different but that would fit into the more laid back, easy living dinner we had planned.

 

For me, the hardest part of a dinner party is selecting the wines.  I select every one for a specific reason, even if the reason is that I just want to drink one.

 

 

 

On a sad note, after a lot of good food and wine, we ended up not opening the 2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard.  My review of the Saxum is in my blog from Oct 26-28.

 

 

 

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Cuvée Karatas – $28.00

 

My comments

I joined the Bedrock mailing list to get my hands on their red wines, but I am increasing impressed by their white.  I think the Bedrock white wines are some of the best being produced in California.  Across the board they have been outstanding.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale, golden yellow color.  The fresh and vibrant nose has melon, white peach, apples, slate, beeswax, flint jasmine, citrus zest, grapefruit, and some white pepper.  This is light to medium bodied with tart, citrusy acidity.  On the palate there is a load of spicy, mineral laden fruit with lemon zest and a healthy splash of grapefruit.  The wine has a long, lingering finish with nice tart grapefruit, lemon zest, and a touch of white pepper.  This is stunning today but will last in the cellar for at least a few years.  (93 pts)

 

 

 

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

 

My comments

This was a special, limited production, bottling of the best of the best from Loring.  I was able to get a three pack of this wine.  It’s not for a Red Burgundy enthusiast, but a more over the top California version of Pinot Noir.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a deep, dark ruby color.  The very inviting nose is full of rich and smoky black cherries, earthy blackberries, minerals, baking spices, white pepper, underbrush, and vanilla.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is full of rich, spicy fruit with some subtle earthiness in the background.  The finish is fairly long with nice, ripe fruit and lingering spiciness.  This is nothing like a Red Burgundy, but that is not the winery’s goal so it succeeds, in my opinion.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2006 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra Barossa Valley – $68.74

 

My comments

Year after year, this is one of the bench mark wines from Australia.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  The deep and alluring nose has blackberry, minerals, eucalyptus, baking spices, black cherries, earth, vanilla, licorice, and a nice floral note.  This is medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  A bit brighter on the palate than the nose lead me to expect, very ripe but not syrupy or off dry and the acidity and tannins hold everything together.  Very rich and velvety on the palate with layers of flavors that get revealed layer by layer.  The finish is extremely long with the fruit and savory notes seeming to constantly change highlighting a different sensation every couple of seconds.  On of the best wines I’ve ever had, absolutely stunning.  (96 pts)

 

 

 

2008 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford – $48.00

 

My comments

Mike Smith is one of the up and coming wine makers in California.  I’m glad I was able to get in on the ground flood of the operation.  The winery also produces a very good Syrah to go with their numerous cabernets.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  On the outstanding nose the wine shows cassis, black cherry, Rutherford dust, minerals, licorice, baking spices, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly full bodied with solid tannins and very good acidity.  The wine has a long, lingering finish with spicy fruit and the dried herbs leading the way.  This is extremely young and will improve with a few more years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Oct 19, 2012 to Oct 21, 2012

 

 

 

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section – $19.00

 

My comments

One of my wife’s all time favorite wines.  How much does she like it?  Per Cellar Tracker I bought a total of 33 bottles, and his will be the 24th bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.

 

I should add I like this wine as well.  I still do not understand how it was such a slow mover at the local wine store.  This is part of my last case which only cost me $19.00, a bottle.  A steal based on the $35 release price.

 

Winery history

Stuart Miller is the winemaker and caretaker of the vineyard: this is truly a hands-on winery where every step of production from vineyard to bottling is overseen by Stuart himself.  His family are involved in all stages of the process, picking grapes, pruning vines, bottling, packaging and more.

 

Oliverhill was established in the early 1970s and the Miller family moved in during the early 1990s.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, wild flowers, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine gives a big blast of ripe, juicy berries with spicy oak and black pepper adding nice savory elements.  This is a big, bold, and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level.  (93 pts)

 

 

 

2011 Villa Creek Pink – $12.80

 

My comments

Having a little Rosé tasting with a friend today, so my contributions are this wine and the Bedrock listed below.  These two along with the One Time Spaceman MCA Rosé were the work horse wines this Summer in my house.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage. The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water. In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache. They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice looking pinkish salmon color.  The very crisp and clean nose has strawberries, white peaches, cherries, Asian spices, citrus zest, and a touch of earthiness.  Light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness makes for a very nice, easy drinking wine on a warm evening.  The palate has nice crisp, sweet fruit and spices with some earthiness lurking in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the fruit and spice slowly giving way to a touch of mouthwatering, citrusy acidity.  A very nice Rose with or without food.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $18.00

 

My comments

Having a little Rosé tasting with a friend today, so my contributions are this wine and the Villa Creek listed above.  These two along with the One Time Spaceman MCA Rosé were the work horse wines this Summer in my house.

 

 

Winery history

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

 

The winery’s objectives are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

.  To dream big but keep production low!

 

My Tasting Note

A nice, light, pinkish salmon color. Minerals, strawberry, white pepper, melons, orange zest, and a bit of dusty earthiness on the very appealing nose.  Light body with crisp acidity.  A very dry rose with nice minerality and fruit with the white pepper and citrus making an appearance on the back end.  Nice, lingering, mouthwatering finish.  The real deal.  Even those who like a crisp French Rose will find pleasure in this wine.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2005 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino – $26.91

 

My comments

I’ve been wanting to check in on this wine again.  We had a bottle about a year and a half ago and though it was enjoyable, I felt it needed some additional cellar time.

 

Winery history

The “Caparzo” name seems to originate from Ca’ Pazzo, as seen in several ancient maps.

The vineyards, cellars and all wine-making equipment were developed towards the end of the 1960s, with progressive adaptation and constant up-dating of both the land and the cellars.

Innovative cultivation systems and, in particular, several clones are still experimented today on the estates – extending over an area of 200 hectares (470 acres), comprising 90 hectares of vineyards, 4 of olive groves, 87 of woodlands and 19 of sowable land.

 

Caparzo aims to ensure top quality products through meticulous, craftsmanlike techniques while equally taking a modern approach to management, efficiency and business relationships.

More than forty years have passed from the first rows of vines and from the first wine-shop experiences.

Caparzo has since grown while keeping faith with the traditions of Brunello and the various local terroirs, at the same time as enhancing its wines with creative spirit and dedication to innovation as a means of ensuring the highest possible quality.

This is why Caparzo wines are served by the most famous restaurants in the world, as well as at international meetings and on official State occasions.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about two hours.  The wine is a ruby to garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  On the very nice nose there is cherry, raspberry, well worn leather, cedar, sautéed mushrooms, baking spices, dried herbs, wild flowers, and earthy underbrush.  This is medium body with moderate, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine has a nice initial attack on the palate but the oak eventually takes over.  The finish had nice length but the oak once again dominates.  A bit of excess oak can be over looked, but this is a couple steps beyond just excess.  Hopefully I’m just catching it at a bad time and the other elements will show up, but for now, let this one sleep unless an abundance of oak is not a problem for you.  Checking an earlier tasting note, I didn’t list excess oak as being a problem.  I’m leaning towards catching the wine at a bad point in its evolution.  If that is the case, my score will be dreadfully low.  (86 pts)

 

 

 

We had the Brunello with some Tortellini in Marinara Sauce with Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, and fresh Basil.  A fantastic pairing!

 

 

 

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.97

 

My comments

The 2007 vintage of this wine was a show stopper for under $10.  When the local received a small cache of the 2008 vintage and made it available for $10 via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a case.  My first bottle wasn’t up to the level of the 2007, but it showed considerable promise.  I don’t know the story behind this vintage since the winery’s website says the 2007 was the last one produced.

 

Winery history

At Wild Hog Vineyard it is difficult to separate the wine from the winemaker. Daniel Schoenfeld began making wine as a home winemaker in 1977. He loved good food and wine and wanted to share his enjoyment with friends. He and Marion, his wife and co-owner, are both gardeners with a passionate belief in sustainable living. Marion tends a three acre organic garden which produces the vegetables and fruits that the family consumes. Daniel farms the five acre vineyard above the house. Together with their two children, Iris and Ariel, they harvest the bounty from the land. They take from the land only what they give in return.

 

As a winemaker, Daniel has a very simple view-allow the fruit to speak for itself. All Wild Hog wines are unfiltered allowing the full flavor to be extracted. The grapes are picked ripe and crushed (or de-stemmed) into open top fermentors-1 to 4 ton size. Yeast is added and the must will ferment 10 to 21 days, until dry. The must is then pressed and the juice held in American oak barrels. After 12 months in the barrel for Pinot Noir and 18 months for Zinfandel, the wine is bottled at the winery, using our own equipment. Since we do no filtering, the wine is racked two or three times during its time in the barrel. The winery produces between 3000 to 4000 cases per year, depending on harvest and availability of good fruit.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, black pepper, minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, violets, dried herbs, and some earthy underbrush.  This is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows peppery, crushed berries, some earthiness and minerality, and the eucalyptus note on the back end.  The finish has very nice fruit and savory elements, and has decent length.  I really like the mint/eucalyptus note that carries through from the nose to the finish.  The label says 15% alcohol, but it seems much lower.  This is not a big, ripe, fruit forward wine like the 2007.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard – $30.00

 

My comments

The Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Cabernets have been a personal favorite for several years.  The Mosisoli Cabernet, like a lot of the great Napa Valley Cabs taste very nice upon release, but some time in the cellar helps bring out the nuances and terrior, transforming them into something special.

 

Winery history

NapaValley’s Elyse Winery has two causes for celebration this harvest. In addition to a stellar looking 2012 vintage in NapaValley, it is the 25th harvest for the winery.

 

It was back in 1987 that Ray and Nancy Coursen crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine. While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food. Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

 

Winemaking is cooking without a flame. Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in NapaValley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table. Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.

 

“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event. It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner

 

“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice, deep ruby color, showing absolutely no sign of age.  The outstanding nose has cassis, smoke, well worn leather, fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate, dried herbs, tobacco, and a faint hint of cedar.  This is medium bodied with nice, ripe, integrated tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is very civilized and refined on the palate with a nice fruit to savory balance.  The finish is long and full of cassis, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  Very food friendly, but I’m very much enjoying a post dinner glass.  This can easily rest in the cellar for a few more years, but it is stunning today.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Loring Wine Company

This could get costly.  Loring is one of our favorite wineries.  They are mainly into making big and ripe Pinot Noirs, but have branched out a bit.  Now they are going about three steps beyond just branching out.  In their next release on October 24th, they will be releasing five wines, none of which is Pinot Noir based.  This release will include the following:

 

2011 Grenache

Amazingly pure high notes of blackberry, plum, and red and black cherry. Plush and rich, but the acidity keeps it bright and focused. Concentrated but not heavy. Spice and minerality round out the finish.

 

2011 Mourvedre

A symphony of blackberry, coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Great intensity and precision, with depth and richness. Once again, great acidity holds everything together in one seamless chorus of deliciousness.

 

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

A dizzying array of blackberry, red and black cherry aromas and flavors, along with deep crème de cassis. Nice elements of baking spice and toasty oak. Muscular, dense, and concentrated on the palate, but still bright with a surprisingly elegant finish due to great acidity.

 

2010 Convergence (75% Grenache / 25% Mourvedre)

Super intense with layers of ripe raspberry, blackberry, baking spice, and vanilla that jump out of the glass. Deep and concentrated on the palate, with additional notes of smoked meat and minerality in the finish. An immense wine that’s still light on its feet.

 

2010 Divergence

The 2010 is a little less crazy than our past two vintages, but it’s still one of the biggest, baddest wines you’ll ever come across. Massive in every way, but still amazingly balanced. Blackberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla cascade over your palate. Insanely concentrated and mouth-coating, but with stunning acidity that keeps the finish bright and focused.

 

Visit http://loringwinecompany.com/ for more information or even better, to sign up for the mailing list.

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

Direct from the winery:

(6) 2007 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown DiamondMountain

(4) Villa Creek Mas de Maha

(3) Vila Creek Avenger

(2) Villa Creek High Road James Berry Vineyard

 

From local wine store:

(6) 2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc SantaRitaHills – Sta.RitaHills

(3) 2007 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino

(2) 2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvée 32”

(1) 2009 Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Riviera

 

 

 

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!

 

Oct 15, 2012 to Oct 18, 2012

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $26.59

 

My comments

I’d be hard pressed to pick my favorite Zinfandel based blend coming out of California between Ridge’s Geyserville and their Lytton Springs.  These are both wines that taste pretty good upon release, but transform into something magical with some cellar time.  These are generally not the type of zins that grab you by the throat and club you over the head.  These are much more refined and elegant.

 

Winery history

The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility. At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard.”

 

In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s. From these vines — now the “middle vineyard”— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of “estate” cabernet. That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California’s finest wines of the era. Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and ’61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage.

 

The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres. Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership. A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist. His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward “hands off” approach pioneered at Ridge. Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established. Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour.  The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The wonderful and fully open nose has brambly berries, freshly cracked black peppercorns, licorice, baking spices, black cherries, with hints of underbrush, vanilla, grilled meat, and just a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The finish is fairly long with nice fruit giving way fairly quickly to the more savory elements.  There is a touch of excess oak peeking through towards the end, but it should better integrate with a bit more cellar time.  This is an outstanding Geyserville that will drink nicely through the end of the decade.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2008 JC Cellars The Impostor – $25.73

 

My comments

This is a blend of  Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Carignane, Grenache and Viognier.

 

Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago. As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.

 

Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & WalesUniversity, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from FloridaInternationalUniversity.

 

Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing. The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal. The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.

 

With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream. He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from CaliforniaStateUniversity, Fresno in 1996. It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir. “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school. “It was a shocker. To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”

 

For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The big and bold nose has brambly berries, black pepper, smoked meat, licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, and violets.  This is fairly full bodied with big, solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the juicy, ripe, peppery berries lead the full throttle charge with nice savory elements providing depth and help to balance out the fruit.  The finish has nice length, again with a nice fruit to savory mix.  This is big and ultra ripe, but does not come across as overly alcoholic, sweet, or raisiny.  A very nice and successful balancing act.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast – $20.00

 

My comments

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

 

Winery history

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

 

The winery’s objectives are:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

.  To dream big but keep production low!

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour.  The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The very open and inviting nose has blackberries, smoke, charcoal, cocoa powder, grilled meat, black pepper, roasted herbs, leather, and some blueberry.  This is medium to full bodied with sold tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a big fruit and spice component with grilled meat, dried herbs, dark chocolate, and baking spice adding depth and loads of complexity.  The finish is fairly long and leans heavily on the savory elements with the fruit in the background.  This is still young and evolving but very tasty.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

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

 

My comments

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color, much lighter at the edge.  On the fairly straight forward nose there is cassis, cedar, dried herbs, tobacco, raspberries, smoke and a touch of cherry and leather.  This is medium body with soft, integrated tannins and good acidity.  Nice sweet fruit on the palate with dried herbs and spicy oak coming through on the backend.  Nice length on the finish which shows more of the savory side with the fruit just providing a touch of sweetness.  Drinking nicely now, but I’d probably lean towards drinking over the next year or two before the fruit fades and leaves the oak component as the dominant element.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

It’s shipping season so most mailing lists have already been completed.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

I received a 5 bottle sampler pack from The Seeker Wines.

 

Set included:

2010 California Chardonnay (unoaked!)

2011 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

2011 French Pinot Noir

2010 Argentina Malbec

2011 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

 

These will be sampled in the next couple of weeks.  They will be the subject of their own blog posting.  I’m looking forward to giving these a try.

 

 

 

 Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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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!

 

Sept 3, 2012 to Sept 6, 2012

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.00

I really liked the 2010 vintage of this wine; unfortunately we killed off the last bottle a few weeks ago.  The good news is we have a decent stash of the 2011.  I joined the Bedrock mailing list to get my hands on Morgan’s red wines, but his whites have been a revelation.

 

The wine is a bright straw color with glints of green and gold.  This has a fresh and refreshing nose full of apples, white peaches, stony minerals, citrus zest, eucalyptus, fresh cut grass, with a nice floral note.  This is light to medium body with crisp, citrusy, acidity.  This is bright and very lively with the fruit, citrus, and herbal notes taking turns enticing the palate.  The finish is fairly long with the eucalyptus making an appearance to lend a savory element to the fruit and citrus.  No hurry on this one, it should easily last a few years in the cellar, but as soon as you finish a bottle you will be drawn to open another.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2001 Boroli Barolo – $32.99

We very much enjoyed the early drinking 2000 vintage of this value priced Barolo.  Now that vintage has disappeared from my cellar, it’s time to check in on the 2001 to see how it is doing.

 

This was decanted for about 2 hours.  The wine is a nice dark ruby color, considerably lighter at the rim and just a hint of bricking.  Black cherries, berries, tar, rose petals, baking spices, and a very slight herbal note on the very elegant nose.  The wine is medium body with velvety tannins and very nice acidity.  This is very civilized on the palate for a youngish Barolo, nice fruit and spice and just a touch of spicy oak pop out in front with some earthiness in the background.  The wine has decent length on the finish which is still a touch ragged with some excess oak and herbal notes popping out.  Give this another year or two in the cellar and drink it over the following several years.  Even today this is outstanding with some upside potential.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2006 Two Hands Brave Faces – $17.09

Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries and ranks pretty high on my list.  This is one winery that is not afraid to allow their grapes to get fully ripe before picking.  Some of their wines get awfully close to the over ripe and syrupy side of the line, but most of the time they don’t cross that line.  Remember, ripe fruit is not a flaw in a bottle wine.

 

I was able to grab a case of this wine from my local wine store during a blow out sale about a year ago.  To me, this was an absolute no brainer buy for a touch over $17 a bottle.  This is 65% Shiraz, 35% Grenache and 100% BarossaValley.  This is the type of wine that made Australia famous before the mass produced “critter wines” did their best to kill that reputation.

 

This was pretty much a pop and pour tonight.  This is a deep, dark maroon to purple color.  There are blackberries, charcoal, black pepper, smoke, meat juices. vanilla, black cherry, and baking spices on the warm and comforting nose.  The wine is fairly full bodied with velvety tannins and good acidity.  This is locked and loaded on the palate, full of fruit, pepper, and spice.  There is a long flavor filled finish full of spicy fruit.  As with most Two Hands wines, this is full of ripe fruit but it is not sweet or syrupy.  This is in a prime drinking window, drink over the next year or two.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2004 Castle Rock Petite Sirah – $9.49

This is a bottle that slipped through the cracks, I had it marked to drink through 2010.  Even though it’s from the Lodi region, which tends to produce very ripe and high alcohol wines, this one is only 13.5% ABV.  If it’s dead, I have a few tons of other wine to choose from as a backup.

 

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color with just a touch of lightening at the edge.  On the very nice nose are blackberries, blueberries, baking spices, some black pepper, and a bit of earthiness.  This is medium body with ripe, integrated tannins and good acidity.  Nice spicy berries on the palate with just a bit of earthiness coming in on the backend.  The finish is a bit short and some oak is popping out as the fruit fades.  This is on the down side of its life but was still an enjoyable week night accompaniment with dinner, especially for an under $10, 8 year old bottle.  (86 pts)

 

The wine held up and had a nice nose and palate, the most obvious sign of old age was the quickly fading fruit on the finish leaving some excess oak.

 

 

 

2006 Magito Zinfandel Panorama Blend – $13.23

Even though labeled as a Zinfandel, the Blend part of the name is very applicable.  Per the label and website, this is actually a blend of 75% Amador, Napa and Solano County Vineyards Zinfandel, 8% Sonoma Mountain Scopa Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Napa Valley Voyager vineyard Sangiovese, 5% Napa Valley Sarco Vineyard Syrah, 4% Mendocino County Merlot, and  2% Napa Valley Jonquil vineyard Petite Sirah.

 

I had a taste of this at the local wine store, and had to grab a couple bottles.  I remember the wine had a fair amount of acidity when I had sampled it a couple years ago.  I’m looking forward to enjoying this one tonight.

The wine is a medium ruby color.  There are brambly berries, black pepper, cherries, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and a touch of smoked meat on the very interesting and intriguing nose.  The wine is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Lively black and red fruit on the palate with some nice spice and dried herbs, there is a touch of earthiness in the background.  Decent length on the finish which does show a touch of excess oak.  A nice zinfandel for a week night dinner, as long as you aren’t looking for a classic zinfandel flavor profile.  (87 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

August West Wine

The August West offer hit the inbox on Wednesday.  Included in this offer were the 2011 Pinot and the 2010 Syrah from the RussianRiverValley, 2011 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot, and the 2010 Rosella’s Vineyard Syrah.  Visit http://www.augustwestwine.com/ to sign up for partner/winemaker Ed Kurtzman’s wonderful list.  All wines are very high quality and under $40 a bottle.

 

 

Anthill Farms Winery

The latest offer from Anthill Farms hit the old inbox on Wednesday.  The initial allocations are guaranteed through September 26th.  This release includes three single vineyard Pinot Noirs, an Anderson Valley Pinot, and one of the best mailing list bargains out there, their 2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah, which is only $18.  For additional information, visit http://www.anthillfarms.com/

 

 

Helioterra

Helioterra is a new discovery for me.  I met the owner/winemaker, Anne Hubatch, when she came back to visit her family in Wisconsin.  We tasted through her whole line up and I was very impressed.  I recommend getting in on the ground floor of this exciting Oregon winery.  Their next release is coming shortly, for more information, visit http://bit.ly/Q5TmSl

 

 

Wind Gap

Pax Mahle’s Wind Gap Winery had their latest offer go live on Thursday.  Included in this offer are a couple I’d love to try.  Included in this release are:

2009 Yuen Chardonnay, James Berry & Brosseau Vineyards, CentralCoast – $36

2011 PinotNoirSonomaCoast – $36

2011 Mourvedre, Bedrock Vineyard, SonomaValley – $32

2010 Syrah Armagh Vineyard, SonomaCoast – $40

Reasonable prices for Pax’s high quality wines.

As an added bonus, they also have some Library wines available.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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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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