Posts tagged ‘Borgo Scopeto’

Cliffs Wine Picks – May 26, 2014 to June 1, 2014

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch

2010 Domaine la Rocalière Lirac ikebana

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2011 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Rosso di Montalcino

2010 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Portrait

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch – $32.29

For some reason, this wine always slipped through the crack when I was placing my order with Turley.  I grabbed one bottle of the 2008 vintage, but that was the only bottle of this wine I ever bought.  In May 2011, the local wine store received a stash of this wine and put it on the shelf at a great price, so I had to grab a few bottles.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The typically Turley nose is full of brambly berries, warm baking spices, vanilla, stony minerals, black pepper, wild flowers and dark bittersweet chocolate.  This has a fairly full body, solid tannins and good acidity.  The palate is immediately flooded with spicy, peppery, berries and minerals with vanilla and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and full of peppery berries.  This is still on the young side but still delicious.  (94 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch

2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Domaine la Rocalière Lirac ikebana – $11.69

This is a blend of 47.5% Mourvedre, 47.5% Carignan and 5% Grenache.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, licorice, minerals, baking spices, dried herbs and a touch of mint.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy fruit, minerals and dried herbs jump out up front with some earthy underbrush coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length.  This is a great value to enjoy over the next few years.  (91 pts)

2010 Domaine la Rocalière Lirac ikebana

2010 Domaine la Rocalière Lirac ikebana

 

 

 

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2011 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Rosso di Montalcino – $20.69

I grabbed a bottle of this based purely on a recommendation from a friend.  I’m usually a pretty easy sell when it comes to a quality made Italian wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The enticing nose has earthy cherries, dusty minerals, mint, raspberries, rose petals, plums and new leather.  This has medium to full body with moderate chewy tannins and good acidity.  On the palate tart berries, minerals and earthy elements jump out first with cherries and a minty note coming in on the back end.  This has very good length with the savory elements carrying the load.  Give this one another year in the cellar or give it plenty of air, it seemed to start opening up after about 3 hours.  (92 pts)

2011 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Rosso di Montalcino

2011 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

2010 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Portrait – $13.49

I wanted something for us to sip in the hotel on our way home from vacation.  Since my wife loves Aussie Shiraz, I figured this would be a nice wine to sip while sitting back and relaxing.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, eucalyptus, dead wood embers, licorice, baking spices, minerals, dark chocolate and potpourri.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Much more lively and bright on the palate than the nose lead me to expect with tart berries, cherries and spice up front with dark chocolate coming in on the backend.  The finish has nice length that closes with a touch of mouthwatering acidity and minerals.  A pretty nice Aussie Shiraz that avoids the over bearing ripeness of some similarly priced offerings.  (90 pts)

2010 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Portrait

2010 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Portrait

 

 

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $19.94

The owner/winemaker is Cody Wright, the son of well known and popular Oregon winemaker/owner Ken Wright.  This was a new winery to me when the local wine store had an e-mail special on the wine.  In my opinion, any time you can get hold of a good Pinot Noir for under $20, you buy.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

Purple Hands winery strives for the expression of genuine inherent terroir of soil and grape.  We search for ideal moments of ripeness and complexity balanced with authentic strength of soil character.

 

Our wines are windows into dynamic breadths of terroir, extracting and unlocking a code of sweet and savory from our rich Oregon soil.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color with a slight ruby tint.  The soft and nuanced nose has black cherries, raspberries, fresh flowers, baking spices and subtle earthiness.  This is medium body at most, with racy acidity, and soft but persistent tannins.  The silky palate has tart, juicy fruit, spice, and a bit of earthiness which carries through on the slightly short finish.  This is a nice, light weight style of Pinot with juicy acidity and a touch of earthiness and spice to balance out the fruit.  This is a nice change up from the broad shouldered California Pinots.  (90 pts)

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Apr 14, 2014 to Apr 20, 2014

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek – $9.50

Perennially a value priced favorite.  In this vintage, it seems to have a bit more oomph than most vintages.  Perhaps there was a surplus of very good grapes from some of the better vineyards or some grapes headed for single vineyard wines were declassified.  Either way, we’re the winners.  This is a jammy, fruity blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Syrah and Nebbiolo.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby with a slight brick tint.  The enjoyable nose has blackberries, cherries, vanilla, baking spices, dark chocolate, dried flowers and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium body,  soft tannins and good acidity.  This has nice up front jammy fruit with spices and a touch of eathiness.  On the back end the fruit thins out a touch allowing the savory notes to take over.  The finish has decent length with the spicy oak and earthiness in control with the fruit in the background providing a bit of sweetness.  I’d advise drinking this one up over the next year or two before the fruit fades more on the back end and finish.  Even showing some age, this is still a nice bottle of wine for $10.  (88 pts)

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

 

 

 

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $19.99

This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.

 

Modus was first produced in 1997 from grapes selected in the vineyards of the Tuscan Estates of Ruffino.  It was not, though, a new wine in the real sense of the term.  Ruffino had, in fact, been experimenting with the coltivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The mesmerizing nose has black cherries, blackberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, warm baking spices, tobacco, smoke, subtle earthiness and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features up front fruit and spice with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and some earthiness.  This is on the young side but already very tasty.  (92 pts)

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines – $23.71

To me, one of the better values out there is the Turley Old Vines Zinfandel.  Along with the appellation wines from Carlisle and Bedrock, these prove you can get a great bottle of California Zinfandel for $25 or less.

 

This is a blend of Zinfandel grapes from some of the older vineyards in California that don’t produce enough wine to allow for a single vineyard bottling.

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color.  The very nice and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, incense, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the well behaved palate the spicy berries and black pepper take charge with some dark chocolate, vanilla, and earthy elements coming in later.  The finish has nice length and again highlights the spicy berries and earthiness.  If you think Turley zins are all overblown, you should give this one a try, it will change your opinion.  (92 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $33.60

If you check out this blog very often or follow me on Twitter, you already know I’m a big fan of Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  Vintage after vintage produce outstanding blends revolving around the grapes from France’s Rhone Valley.  The Willow Creek Cuvée as well as their Avenger are two of my favorite VC wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from the Denner and James Berry vineyards.

 

This has 15.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and was dipped in wax.

 

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.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The big and bold nose has raspberries, blackberries, minerals, licorice, dried herbs, warm baking spices, cherries, wood smoke, and a bit of earthiness.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit kicks off the show with minerals and some earthiness waiting in the wings.  The finish is long and

layered with nice fruit and savory elements taking turns stealing the show.  This is a touch young but still drinking very nicely with some air.  (92 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

 

 

 

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir – $16.14

I had to grab a bottle of this when I saw it on the local wine store’s shelf.  I’m a fan of Tony Soter’s much more expensive Pinot Noir wines, so I wanted to see how this much more affordable offering would compare.

 

This is from a VERY environmentally friendly project from Tony Soter.  “We work with growers that are Organic, Biodynamic, LIVE and Food Alliance certified — all of whom meet the Salmon Safe criteria in the process.”

 

This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

Behind this label is Tony Soter, an Oregon-born winegrower who is best known for making precious quantities of exquisite and often expensive wines of world-class status.

 

Tony is a passionate winegrower who has long been committed to sustainable farming.  He first began organic grape growing back in 1985.  Soter continues leadership today with his role in guiding the Oregon wine industry’s pursuit of verifiable carbon accounting and the labeling of certified sustainable Oregon wines.

 

Planet Oregon is his chance to make wines for a broader audience and make a bigger positive impact on the planet.  He wants Planet Oregon Wines to embody the conscious choice we all have to endorse and support sustainably produced wines.

 

Much more information on this project is available on their site by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The sexy nose has black cherries, crushed berries, white pepper, baking spices, violets and subtle earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, soft silky tannins and good acidity.  Cherries and spice initially grab hold on the palate, slowly allowing a floral note and white pepper to join the show.  The finish has good length with a touch of earthiness coming into focus.  The warmer vintage is obvious with the rich, ripe fruit.  This may not pack a lot of complexity in your glass, but it is mighty tasty.  (89 pts)

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

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:

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014-5296/?viewall=1#ixzz2z411esZO

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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

 

 

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co.

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282 – $24.00

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282

2009 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 282

 

 

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante – $23.81

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Winery

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante

2005 Azienda Agricola Forestale Rigoloccio Il Sorvegliante

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co.

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co.

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Sep 23, 2013 to Sep 26, 2013

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2004 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Casa Cisca

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese – $34.81

We’re real big fans of off-dry German Riesling wines with some age on them.  The overt sweetness and tingly acidity mellow and integrate over time leaving a delicious, food friendly elixir.  These wines are better defined as rich instead of sweet.  Try an aged Riesling with a spicy dish and you will become a fan.

 

The alcohol in the wine is 9.5% and the bottle has a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

Schloss Schönborn – famous wines with a long tradition.  Located in the heart of the Rheingau valley, the Domänenweingut Schloss Schönborn has long stood for premium wine culture.

 

Many of the vineyards along the slopes bordering the RhineRiver have been part of the Schönborn family estate since 1349, which has been added to continuously since then.  Several top sites were acquired in the 17th and 18th centuries, giving the estate a real boost.  The estate now covers 50 ha, of which 90% are planted with Riesling.  The remaining vineyards feature Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.  The Schloss Schönborn wine estate is one of the founder members of the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates (VDP) and has for many years been managing its valuable vineyards in tune with nature.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, golden yellow color. The very pleasing nose has petrol, apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, and some white pepper. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and nice sweetness. Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir. The wine has a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime. This may last a few more years in the cellar, but it tastes marvelous right now.  (93 pts)

1988 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spatlese

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2004 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Casa Cisca – $18.99

I’d been waiting for a good reason to open the sealed wooden 6 pack case of this wine.  The Twitter #winechat theme for the week, Spanish Monastrell served as the perfect reason to dig out a screwdriver and pliers.

 

The 2004 Casa Cisca, the estate’s flagship wine, is 100% old-vine Monastrell (70+ years of age) aged for 14 months in American oak.  This wine is several steps up from most of the winery’s offerings.

 

This is bottle number 8793 out of 13,420.  Per the label, this has 15% alcohol and has a natural cork closure.  The bottle used is one of the VERY heavy types used for winery’s highest end wines, 1.9 kg (4.25 lbs).  I think this massive bottle would crack concrete if accidently dropped in the driveway (only a mild exaggeration).

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The exotic nose is full of warm berry pie, cherries, Asian spices, cedar, tobacco, earthy underbrush, minerals, dark chocolate, wild flowers, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is lighter and brighter on the palate than I was expecting based on the slightly brooding nose.  Asian spice and tart cherries lead off the show with minerals and cedar making an appearance on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with minerals, spicy oak and some earthiness adding to the complexity.  This is still on the younger side and some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  That said, with some air this vibrant and bright wine is immensely enjoyable today.  (92 pts)

2004 Bodegas Castano Yecla Casa Cisca

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and the bottle uses a natural cork.

 

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.

 

Lytton Springs, in SonomaCounty, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This still seems to be a touch on the young side but is still very enjoyable.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – July 12, 2013 to July 14, 2013

 

 

2011 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Boer Vineyard

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

 

 

2011 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $18.99

We had a couple glasses of this wine a few weeks ago at a local restaurant.  When I saw it on the shelf at the local wines store, I had to grab a couple bottles.  I didn’t take notes on the wine at the restaurant, but I remembered it having nice red fruit and some subtle earthiness.  It will be nice spending a bit of time with a bottle to see how it performs over the course of an evening.  This is a nice, middle of the road, California Pinot Noir.  It’s not a big, overly ripe style of Pinot, but it’s also not a delicate, nuanced version either. 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red to ruby color. The very enjoyable nose has cherries, baking spices, strawberry, lilac flowers, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins, and very good acidity. Spicy red fruit kicks off the palate with more spice and some earthiness coming in afterwards adding depth. The bright fruit carries no excess weight or overly ripe notes. The finish has decent length and again highlights the spice laden red fruit. This very nice week night Pinot Noir offers great QPR if you can find it for under $20.  (89 pts)

2011 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 

 

 

 

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese – $7.92

This wine was offered by the local wine store via a weekly e-mail offer.  It’s hard for me to pass on a German Riesling, especially one I can get for under $8.00.  As expected, I grabbed a case without even trying it.  I worked at the store for a few hours yesterday, and there was still about a half bottle sitting under the wine bar that had been opened for over 24 hours.  The wine was room temperature so I wasn’t expecting too much when I tried a taste.  I was very pleasantly surprised the wine was outstanding.  I took the bottle home so I could sample it at a better serving temperature.  I also happily took my case home and stashed it in my wine cellar.

 

My Tasting Note

This note is from a bottle that had been opened for over a day and left over night on the counter with the cork stuck back in the bottle.  The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very appealing and inviting nose has apples, honey, orange zest, Spring flowers, and a touch of petrol.  This has medium body, a fair amount of residual sugar and very nice, crisp acidity that keeps the sweetness in line.  On the palate the honeyed apples and citrus zest coat the palate but is kept from getting cloying by the citrusy acidity.  The finish is long and again full of apples, honey, and citrus.  If you like an off dry Riesling, this is top notch.  This has marvelous balance that will allow it to easily cellar for several years.  (90 pts)

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese 

 

 

 

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Boer Vineyard – $25.00

Sandler Wine Company is the personal label of ever-present consulting winemaker, Ed Kurtzman.  Sandler Wine Company is devoted to small bottlings of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache, from some of Ed’s favorite vineyard and grower sources.  Production of most wines very seldom exceeds 100 cases and in some cases don’t even reach 25 cases.  This is a highly recommended mailing list to check out if you want very reasonably priced, small production wines. 

 

For more information, checkout their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, bright ruby red color.  The civilized and refined nose has raspberries, minerals, warm baking spices, mint, cherries, wild flowers, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spice grab hold initially, eventually allowing a touch of mint, earthiness, and a floral note to come through.  The finish has nice length but gets a touch thin.  This needs some cellar time which should allow the back end to flesh out.  This is very good now, but will be much better in another year or two.  (90 pts)

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Boer Vineyard 

 

 

 

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

I grabbed a six pack of this wine from an e-mail offer by the local wine store based on a very positive recommendation by an Italian wine loving friend.  This “Super Tuscan” is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah. 

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT 

 

 

We made up a platter of assorted breaded and fried ravioli with fresh basil and grated parmigiana with some marinara sauce for dipping to go with the  Borgo Scopeto Borgonero.  A salad completed the dinner.  The food and wine pairing was perfect.  The wine has enough acidity to cut through the fried ravioli especially the ones that were stuffed with cheese.  The wine also had enough oomph to stand up to the ones that were stuffed with beef and sausage. 

Fried Ravioli 

 

 

 

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.

 

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 Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rose 

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $33.60

If you check out this blog very often or follow me on Twitter, you already know I’m a big fan of Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  Vintage after vintage produce outstanding blends revolving around the grapes from France’s RhoneValley.  The Willow Creek Cuvée as well as their Avenger are two of my favorite VC wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from the Denner and James Berry vineyards.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The big and bold nose has raspberries, blackberries, minerals, licorice, dried herbs, warm baking spices, cherries, wood smoke, and a bit of earthiness.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit kicks off the show with minerals and some earthiness waiting in the wings.  The finish is long and layered with nice fruit and savory elements taking turns stealing the show.  This is a touch young but still drinking very nicely with some air.  (92 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee 

  

 

I grilled up some beef and chicken fajitas to pair with the Willow Creek.  The wine was able to stand up to the big, bold flavors from the meat.  The only problem was that the mixed peppers had one pepper that was quite hot that clashed with the wine.  Luckily that particular pepper was fairly small and did not appear in too many bites of the fajitas.

Beef and Chicken Fajitas 

 

 

  

***** 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 – Apr 22, 2013 to Apr 25, 2013

 

 

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Howell Mountain

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve

 

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Howell Mountain – $36.00

 

My comments

This is my last bottle of four I bought at the winery in June 2005.  After killing off a couple fairly quickly, I’m glad I was able to stash one so I could check it out with some bottle age.  In its youth, this was big and brash, full of big fruit, pepper, and spice and equally big tannins.

 

This is actually a blend of 85% Petite Sirah from the Dunn Vineyard and 15% Black-Sears Vineyard Zinfandel.  This was the last vintage for this wine, Randy Dunn pulled the grapes from Elyse so he could supply his son Mike’s new project.

 

Winery history

As many of you know, when we started making our own wines in 1987, we named the tiny, 200 case operation after our daughter, Elyse.  Not wanting to leave our son, Jake, out of loop, we eventually named our Rhone blend after him – anyone remember “Jake’s Cuvee”?  It wasn’t enough, because at the ripe age of eight Jake asked, “When do I get my own label without her name on it?”  Good point!  And as parents not wanting to show favoritism, why not create a namesake label for him as well?

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars debut bottling was in 1998 and we fondly and literally refer to it as the brother label of Elyse Winery.  By this time, we had gained access to small quantities of extremely allocated fruit from some highly desirable vineyards in the valley and this label was the perfect place to showcase them along with our only estate wine, Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars is focused on small production, low yield, vineyard designate wines from NapaValley.  Due to the extremely limited production, these wines are available exclusively through the winery, website, and wine club.

 

Oh Brother!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color, much lighter at the edge.  The smooth and sophisticated nose has blackberries, plums, white pepper, forest floor, dried herbs, dark chocolate, baking spices, tobacco, smoke, and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has medium body, fairly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy, earthy berries steal the show with dried herbs and dark chocolate adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long with chocolate dusted berries and dried herbs hanging on for quite a while.  This is drinking very nicely now, but could last in the cellar for a few more years.  Don’t expect a big and brutish Petite Sirah, this has mellowed into something smooth and sophisticated. (94 pts)

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Howell Mountain

 

 

 

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

 

My comments

I bought 6 bottles of this wine from a local wine store e-mail offer based on a solid recommendation from a fellow wine lover.  This “Super Tuscan” is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah.  It’s a cool, rainy, Midwestern day in mid April, a perfect time for some pasta and my wife’s meat sauce.  This seems to be a good occasion to sample a bottle.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty – $16.62

 

My comments

This is another wine I bought based on a local wine store’s e-mail offer.  We generally like Aussie Shiraz as long as it doesn’t cross the line and end up on the sweet and syrupy side.  Based on reviews of previous vintages, this was worth grabbing a six pack.  It’s time to open one and see what I have.

 

Winery history

Betts & Scholl is a cooperative effort between Richard Betts, Master Sommelier & winemaker and Dennis Scholl, contemporary art collector and joyous wine drinker, who typically finds himself either in Aspen or Miami Beach.  Together, they created special relationships with star growers and winemakers from around the world to share in the Betts & Scholl vision.

 

This partnership is totally dedicated to making great wine as Richard & Dennis see it, which is, ultimately, wine that they like to drink.  No trophies, no wine for competition, just wine for the table – wine made to be enjoyed in the spirit of those wines that got Richard hooked on the whole deal in the first place.  This is to say wine you can drink everyday – a grocery, if you will – something that is on the table at lunch, at dinner, in harmony with food, an essential part of the meal.  This notion is fundamental to great living all over Europe, and it’s one that Betts & Scholl aims to bring back and live every day.

 

So Betts & Scholl chose to make the good stuff! Richard & Dennis’ shared aesthetic spoke for elegant, complex, balanced wines of great perfume and finesse with the power to seduce.  The object of the B&S fancy is neither the obvious nor the forceful.  Instead it is those wines that transport: They taste only of the place from where they’ve come.  Come take the trip.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very outgoing nose has blackberries, baking spices, underbrush, black pepper, cherries, licorice, and wild flowers.  This has a full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there are ripe, juicy crushed berries and baking spice up front then the acidity kicks in and tart cherries and a bit of earthiness takes over.  The finish is fairly long and leans on spicy, earthy cherries.  This is a bit disjointed at this time showing distinct, different “personalities” on the palate.  This needs some cellar time for the acidity to better integrate or a couple hours of air.  (88 pts)

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

 

 

 

2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve – $15.30

 

My comments

 

This is a nice everyday wine from one of my favorite small Napa Valley wineries.  If you make it to wine country, pay a visit to the Calistoga based Vincent Arroyo Winery.  Their tastings usually lead to a trip into the barrel storage area and some barrel tastes.

 

This popular blend combines Estate grown Gamay with our Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah.  Always blended to taste, our goal is to create a wine that can be opened “any time” — from the get-me-to-dinner glass to the perfect complement for pasta or steak salad.  The wine usually doesn’t last long in anyone’s cellar (or closet!) but ages very well as the Burgundy characteristics begin to emerge after several years introducing a new dynamic to what many might think of as an easy-drinking wine.

 

Winery history

Walking into the Vincent Arroyo Winery, one gets the sense that it has been here forever.  Is it just the comfortable atmosphere of a big barn full of oak wine barrels that lends to the sense of permanence?  Vincent Arroyo, himself, may feel like he has been here forever, as well.  He left behind a career as a mechanical engineer in the Silicon Valley during the early 70’s and headed to Calistoga, at the northern tip of the NapaValley.  He felt much more at home close to the land, being able to see and taste the fruits of his labors.

 

The purchase of the 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch property in 1974 began the evolution of what is seen today, 85 acres cultivating 9 different wine grape varietals.  Vince has always been a farmer at heart, taking care of the land to produce the best that it can.  He began to transform the Greenwood Ranch by ripping out existing prune trees and unhealthy vines and planting new vineyards.  For many years, he did it all alone, the tractor work, cellar work and a one-man sales force.  Originally he made just a few hundred cases of his favorites, Petite Sirah and Cabernet, selling the majority of the grape tonnage to other Napa wineries.  Today, he produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals.

 

More information is available at: http://www.vincentarroyo.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The nice but slightly shy nose has black raspberries, plums, baking spices, fresh wild flowers, and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft tannins, and nice acidity.  The palate has nice, spicy fruit, with a bit of toasty oak.  The finish has decent length with just a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This is a very nice “change of pace” wine and something very unique.  This is mainly estate grown Gamay with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah.  (88 pts)

2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Received my last couple of deliveries for the Spring shipping season:

 

(3) 2011 HelioterraPinotNoirWillametteValley

(3) 2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select

(6) 2012 Villa Creek Pink

(6) 2012 Villa Creek “White”

 

 

 

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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