Posts tagged ‘Big Basin Mandala’

Cliffs Wine Picks – June 2017 Vol 2

 

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

2001 Boroli Barolo

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir – $22.40

This 100% Pinot Noir is a blend of 56% Carneros and 44% Russian River Valley.  The wine was aged for 12 months in 100% French oak, 30% new.

 

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, tobacco and dry underbrush.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  This is much more open on the palate with cherries, white pepper and minerals on the front end with tobacco and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has decent length with cranberries and dry underbrush entering the picture.  This wine has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35

Total production was 8 barrels.  This is a blend of 88% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The big and bold nose is full of blackberries, blueberries, baking spices, dying wood embers, dark chocolate, dried violets and dusty minerals.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate layers of fruit, spice and minerals jump out on the front end with wood embers and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has great length with a nice dried floral note adding some depth.  This is a big, bold and rich wine that needs a hearty meal.  This is now in a prime drinking window that should last another 4 or 5 years.  What this wine lacks in subtlety it makes up for in taste.  This has 15.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

 

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine – $14.84

This wine is a blend of Zinfandel from 16 different vineyard blocks.  The vines have an average age of 86 years.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, licorice, plums, black pepper, dry earth and a touch of spicy oak.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, black pepper and dry earth jump out on the front end with plums and licorice coming in later.  The finish has nice length with some spicy oak providing depth.  A textbook big zinfandel with sweet fruit and peppery spice that is easy to drink but doesn’t offer much complexity.  This has 15.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

 

2001 Boroli Barolo – $32.99

This 100% Nebbiolo comes from vineyards in the territory of Castiglione Falletto, in the heart of the Langhe and the Barolo area.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color with some bricking at the edge.  The sensuous nose has black cherries, eucalyptus, cedar, tobacco, leather, dusty minerals, dry underbrush, dried roses, road tar and baking spices.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate black cherries, cedar, tobacco and dried underbrush come through on the front end with spices, tar and leather coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a dried floral note and a hint of eucalyptus providing depth.  This is drinking marvelously today and should hold for a few more years.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2001 Boroli Barolo

2001 Boroli Barolo

 

 

 

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $15.09

This wine is a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Alicante and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The vines are an average of 10 years old.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The appealing nose has cherries, scorched earth, underbrush, white pepper, mushrooms and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, underbrush and dry earth jump out on the front end with white pepper and roasted mushrooms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note providing some depth.  This tastes very nice today but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard – $46.00

If you follow this blog, you already know I’m a big fan of Brian Loring’s wines.  His Rosella’s Vineyard is generally my second favorite wine behind the Clos Pepe wines.  These are generally made in a bigger riper style, very Californian.  If you’re looking for a Burgundian style of wine, look elsewhere.  If you are looking for a rich and flavorful Pinot Noir, welcome home.

 

The wine is a nice deep garnet red color.  The easy to enjoy nose has black raspberries, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, wild flowers, baking spices, earthy underbrush and a touch of mint.  This has medium to full body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy dark fruit and some earthiness hit first, followed by minerals and a hint of mint.  The finish has great length and full of nicely layered fruit, spice and earthiness.  This wine is in its’ prime drinking window now and should hold for a couple years.  This has 14.9% alcohol by volume and is closed with a twist off cap.  (94 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard

 

 

 

 

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 – October Selections 2

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

2001 Dehlinger Syrah

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir

2010 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

 

 

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs – $29.99

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The incredible nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, vanilla, black peppercorns, cherries, plums, dry earth, underbrush, dead wood embers and violets.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the plush palate the brambly berries, black peppercorns and minerals take control early with vanilla, cherries and plums coming in later.  The finish has great length with wood embers, subtle earthiness and a nice floral note seeming to linger forever.  This tastes fabulous now and should hold nicely for at least a few more years.  This wine has greatly improved over the last couple of years.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35.00

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The explosive nose is full of blackberries, cassis, smoke, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, melted licorice, vanilla, warm baking spices, and violets.  This is full bodied with moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine grabs hold of your palate unleashing wave after wave of lush fruit, spice, and savory notes in unrelenting layers.  The finish is very long, almost seeming to never end with very nice fruit slowly giving way to dark chocolate and then nice meaty elements and earthiness.  The extra time in the cellar has been rewarded in this case.  There is no hurry on this one, it should hold for at least a few more years.  (95 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.37

This is a perennial house favorite and best buy.  The blend changes every vintage, but the quality is always in the bottle.  This is always a blend of several grapes that always seems to work.

 

This vintage is a blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Syrah, 12% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 4% Sangiovese, 2% Zinfandel, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carmenere.

 

Winery history

Whether it’s our highly acclaimed Firehouse Red or one of our limited-production single vineyard reserve blends, Tamarack’s wines offer a delicious expression of Washington vineyards’ style and elegance.

 

When you visit the winery, you won’t find us in a fancy chateau.  Instead you’ll find yourself immersed in the everyday workings of a family-owned winery, racking, blending and bottling wine, in a renovated firehouse located in a World War II Army Air Base.

 

Founded in 1998 by Ron and Jamie Coleman, Tamarack’s first vintage consisted of 300 cases of Merlot.  The goal was to make elegant, balanced, delicious wines and offer them at a fair price.  Years later, and now up to 20,000 cases each year, the focus remains the same. Tamarack Cellars hand-crafts consistently outstanding wines for a great price.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The pleasant nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, minerals, cherries, baking spices, dried herbs, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with soft tannins and good acidity.  Nice, juicy, spicy fruit hits the palate first with some dark chocolate and earthiness coming in on the back end.  This has decent length on the finish which is showing a touch of oak.  For under $15 this is a keeper.  The bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork, I could not see the alcohol percentage on the label.  Before you ask, I checked before I even had a sip of the wine.  (89 pts)

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

 

 

2001 Dehlinger Syrah – $25.00

This was a free upgrade from Underground Cellar, I highly recommend checking them out by clicking here.   Note, if you sign up by this link, you will get an automatic $20 credit, if you ever buy wine from them, I’ll also get a $20 credit.  Their unique approach is that you buy a lower end wine and they will “upgrade” some of your bottles to a higher level wine.  Sometimes the upgrade is minor, sometimes you get lucky and score a real gem, like I did in this case.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a saturated ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, crushed stone minerals, white pepper, melted black licorice, roasted herbs, dry earth, underbrush, plums, tobacco and violets.  This has medium body with resolved tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spicy, peppery berries and cherries jump out first, quickly followed by crushed stones and roasted herbs.  The long, lingering finish adds some nice earthiness, plums and a floral note.  This is at its peak now and very easy to sit back and enjoy.  (93 pts)

2001 Dehlinger Syrah

2001 Dehlinger Syrah

 

 

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

This wine is a blend of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Franc.  The wine has 13.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has cassis, cherries, dried herbs, freshly ground espresso beans, cigar box, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cassis, cherries, tobacco and a load of crushed stones hit on the front end with espresso beans and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has great length with dried herbs entering the picture.  This needs some time in the cellar, at this point the tannins get a bit chalky.  (94 pts)

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

 

 

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection – 12.69

The wine is a pale golden straw color.  The fresh and appealing nose has apples, melons, lime zest, orange blossoms, flinty minerals and white peaches.  This has a light to medium body with nice acidity and a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, melons and lime zest jump out quickly with flinty minerals coming through on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a touch of white peach and orange blossoms adding nice depth.  The wine has a nice lingering citrus element that leaves your mouth watering for another sip.  This is a great wine for a casual dinner on the deck or patio on a warm evening.  (89 pts)

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection

 

 

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain – SRP $37.00

The wine is a deep purple color.  The sensuous nose has brambly berries, crushed stone minerals, fresh ground espresso beans, black pepper, scorched earth, black licorice, dry wildflowers and dried leafy herbs.  This has a medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Brambly berries, crushed stones and espresso immediately coat the palate with black pepper and dried herbs slipping through on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with licorice and scorched earth adding great depth.  This is a nicely balanced and nuanced zinfandel, not one that needs to be sipped on it’s own.  Fire up the grill, throw on a piece of meat, pull the cork and enjoy a great dinner.  This wine has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain

 

 

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir – $13.59

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, raspberries, dry earth, chalky minerals, roasted leafy herbs and orange zest.  This has medium body with soft silky tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, spice and white pepper pop out on the front end with roasted herbs and minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with subtle earthiness and orange zest.  Not a lot of complexity but this is an easy drinking, tasty, reasonably priced Pinot Noir to enjoy on a week night with a lighter meal.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

 

2010 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale – $16.99

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The outgoing nose has cherries, blackberries, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee beans, vanilla, road tar and roasted herbs.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, vanilla and roasted herbs hit on the front end with dark chocolate and coffee beans coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of eucalyptus coming in.  Not a lot of complexity and the finish ends with a slight sweet note.  (86 pts)

2010 Tyrrell's Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale

2010 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock – $49.00

I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin for a few years now.  I should say up front, I have only had their non Pinot Noir wines.  Their big reds are generally fairly full bodied but very balanced.  I think they are one big score from a major wine publication away from hitting the big time.

 

Winery history

Our mission is to create wines that reveal the complex nuances of the vineyards that inspire them – cool climate, ocean-influenced, mountain vineyards.  To this end, we spend long hours in our vineyard to insure that the grapes we grow represent the fullest expression of the vineyard and vintage.  We believe in and employ sustainable and organic farming practices.  The steep hillsides, cooling ocean breezes and fog, and mountain soils promote the development of color and complex flavors.  By keeping the yields very low and harvesting small sections of the vineyard at perfect ripeness, we strive to achieve the most important part of winemaking – great fruit.

 

Much more information available at:  http://bigbasinvineyards.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color, almost black.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, plums, minerals, dying charcoal embers, iron shavings, smoked meat, black pepper, dark chocolate, vanilla, and violets.  This is full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The palate is highlighted by nice, mineral laden, spicy, fruit with a touch of earthiness.  The long finish has the fruit slowly giving way to the minerals, spice, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This is drinking very nicely but will last and probably improve in the cellar for several more years.  (94 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

 

 

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou – $9.34

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The refreshing nose has strawberries, cherries, orange blossoms, tangerine zest and chalky minerals.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate strawberries and minerals jump out first with cherries and orange blossoms coming in later.  The crisp finish has a nice tangerine zest note and has nice length.  The perfect wine to sip on a hot day or to pair with a lighter meal.  (89 pts)

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d'Anjou

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou

 

 

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage – $18.71

The Crozes-Hermitage is my go to region for value priced wines from the Northern Rhone.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol by volume ands the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, cherries, dried herbs, minerals, smoked meat, black pepper, and some forest floor.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the nicely layered palate spicy fruit is joined by minerals and smoked meat with dried herbs and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length and leans on the savory elements with the fruit providing a touch of sweetness in the background.  This is drinking very nicely today but there is absolutely no need to drink these soon.  (91 pts)

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

 

 

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 2015 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 – My Top 10 Wines of 2013

 

Here are the top wines I sampled or drank in 2013.  It was a hard task since narrowing the list down to only 10 wines since I had tasting notes on well over 500 wines this year.

 

These wines were selected based purely on how much I enjoyed them.  Unfortunately, since most of the wines I open have been in my cellar for a number of years, they are not available to purchase today in the normal retail market.  Some are probably available on the auction sites, like WineBid.  If you are interested in any specific wine, let me know and I can help you track down a bottle.

 

I have another list that will come out in the next week or two of only wines that I purchased in 2013 that cost under $20.

 

 

top10

 

 

10 – 2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi – $50.99

I bought this wine after trying it at a tasting event at a local store.  I liked it at that time, but knew it would be immensely better with some extended cellar time.  I was able to ignore the bottle for the better part of a decade.  It’s time to see if the wait was worthwhile.  I should note, I am generally more of a Barbaresco fan than Barolo.

This is listed at 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a slight brick tint.  The nose on this wine is absolutely stunning, full of black cherries, minerals, roses, violets, mint, licorice, tar, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements take turns strutting their stuff with the savory notes eventually grabbing the show with the fruit providing nice background sweetness.  The finish is very long with some earthiness entering the picture.  No hurry on this one, it improved constantly until the bottle was prematurely empty.  (95 pts)

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

 

 

 

9 – 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $38.00

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 Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

8 – 2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35.00

I opened this wine to participate in an online winechat about the wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.  Everyone has heard of Ridge, but there are loads of other wineries in the region making outstanding wines.  As I’ve said in the past, I think Big Basin is one big score from one of the major wine reviewing periodicals away from appearing everyone’s radar.  I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin’s Syrah wines and blends for a few years.  I would highly recommend checking them out.  This is mainly Syrah with a small percentage of Cabernet in the blend. I believe I read this is made up of 6.5 barrels of Syrah and 1 barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The explosive nose is full of blackberries, cassis, smoke, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, melted licorice, vanilla, warm baking spices, and violets.  This is full bodied with moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine grabs hold of your palate unleashing wave after wave of lush fruit, spice, and savory notes in unrelenting layers.  The finish is very long, almost seeming to never end with very nice fruit slowly giving way to dark chocolate and then nice meaty elements and earthiness.  The extra time in the cellar has been rewarded in this case.  There is no hurry on this one, it should hold for at least a few more years.  (95 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

 

7 – 2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon – $34.50

One of my favorite, value priced, Napa Cabernets.  Every vintage Cathy Corison seems to put out a wine that is a lot better than the competition at the same price point.  The winery never seemed to be a media darling, but the changes at the Wine Advocate lead to a new person reviewing the wines, and he seems to appreciate the wines a lot more.  These aren’t wines meant for immediate enjoyment, they need a few years in the cellar to help them transform into something magical.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The nose is one of those I can sit and just smell and be happy, at least for a little while then I have to take a taste.  The rich and sophisticated nose has cassis, cherry, melted licorice, dried herbs, well worn leather, spice box, tobacco, minerals, and just a bit of smoke.  This has a medium body, ripe, mostly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  This has nice, rich and spicy fruit on the palate with dried herbs, tea leaves, and a touch of earthiness adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is very long and lingering with the spicy fruit and dried herbs seeming to last forever.  This was a killer bottle of wine that is in its prime drinking window.  This should last for at least a couple more years in the cellar, but if you have multiple bottles, give one a try now.  (94 pts)

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

6 – 2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley – $30.00

This is quickly turning into one of my favorite wines.  I bought a case and this is the third bottle I have opened.  This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot.  The number in the wine name indicates the percentage of Cabernet Franc in the blend.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The outstanding nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, licorice, baking spices, smoke, tobacco, minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, and cherries.  This had medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate has a wonderful blend of fruit and savory elements with everything in balance and harmonious.  The long, lingering finish has nice spicy cassis and dried herbs with just the right amount of spicy oak adding to the profile without being too obtrusive.  I love this wine.  (95 pts)

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

 

 

 

5 – 2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard (SRP $65.00)

This was a winery supplied sample.

Ferrington Vineyard is home to our only Anderson Valley Chardonnay site as of 2012.  Located near Boonville, on the same side of Hwy 128 as Deer Meadow, Ferrington was originally planted in the late 1960s.  The 70 acre site is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer on decomposed sandstone and clay soils.  In 2010 we entered into a contract to purchase about two tons of Robert Young clone of Chardonnay, and the first vintage yielded just over 100 cases.  Ferrington was purchased by the Schoeneman family in 1997 and it has since become one of the most sought after sites in Anderson Valley.  We gained access to Pinot Noir from this site starting in 2012.

 

Technical info

The grapes were harvested for this 100% Chardonnay on October 18, 2010.  This was barrel fermented and aged sur-lie for 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new.

The final alcohol is 14.6%.

 

Tasting note

The wine is a very light yellow to golden color.  The very exotic and inviting nose has apples, flinty minerals, lemon curd, lime zest, Asian spices, hazelnuts, and a touch of toast.  This has medium body and tart, citrusy acidity.  Bright apples and citrus greet the palate with minerals, spice, hazelnuts pouring in over the top and from all sides.  The finish is very long with the spicy, citrus driven, fruit and spice seeming to never totally fade away, leaving a nutty, lemony note.  This is incredibly young at this time and will improve with some cellar time.  One of the best California Chardonnay wines I’ve ever had the pleasure to drink.  This is stunning.  (95 pts)

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard

 

 

 

4 – 2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man (SRP $35)

This was another winery supplied sample.  All of the wines from Northwest Totem Cellars were outstanding, but this one stood out as having that “something” that made it special.

This is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot from the Columbia Valley.  This has 14% ABV.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, leather, white pepper, minerals, violets, vanilla, dried herbs, and just a touch of cedar.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This wine is delicious on the palate.  Nice berries and cherries start the show but are quickly joined with sweet vanilla, spices, and a touch of dried herbs.  The finish is long and nuanced with layers of fruit and savory notes finally giving way to a nice closing note of dried herbs and cherry.  For a very young Bordeaux blend it is stunning, with perfect balance.  I’m sure this will be better with some cellar time, but it will be hard to resist.  (95 pts)

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

 

 

 

3 – 2008 Saxum Broken Stones – $75.00

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

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

 

 

 

2 – 2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – $60.00

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the Napa Valley.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The absolutely stunning nose has cassis, melted licorice, dried herbs, cedar, wild flowers, tobacco, and warm baking spices.  This has medium body, fairly solid silky tannins, and very nice acidity.  This is rich and plush on the palate with cassis and baking spices up front with dried herbs and spicy oak coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long, seeming to never totally disappear and full of rich fruit and spice.  This has the balance to age gracefully for several years but it is absolutely irresistible today.  (96 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

 

 

 

1 – 2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra – $37.00

I had a bit of this wine several months ago at a friend’s house and thought it was outstanding, but didn’t take an official tasting note.  Since I have a few bottles, it seems like a perfect time to open one and spend an evening with it to see how it tastes.

 

My Tasting Note

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

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

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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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