Posts tagged ‘Brassfield Eruption’

Cliffs Wine Picks – Dec 2, 2013 to Dec 5, 2013

 

 

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $14.24

This is a blend of 37% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah and 9% Malbec, from the High Valley AVA in the eastern part of Lake County in California.

 

The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery History

Brassfield Estate Winery & Vineyard is located in the western section of High Valley at High Serenity Ranch on a truly distinctive and remarkable winegrowing property.  Our valley floor vineyards sit at 1800 ft elevation.  The higher vineyard blocks rise to nearly 3000 ft.  The temperatures of some parts of this unique vineyard are some of the coldest in CA, giving Brassfield a heat summation equivalent to a Region 3 or less in some vintages.

 

In 1973, Jerry Brassfield purchased the original 1,600 acres here as a cattle ranch and wildlife reserve.  Over the next three decades Jerry acquired additional property.  Today, the LakeCounty estate includes 2,500 acres across both the eastern and the western sections of HighValley, as well as the Round Mountain Volcano.

 

The Vineyards were investigated for their potential to produce world-class estate-grown wines in 1998.  Vineyard planting began in 2001.  As the vineyards matured, the winery has grown with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, Asian spices, black pepper, smoked meat, dark bittersweet chocolate, plums, some eucalyptus, and a hit of earthiness.  This has a fairly full body, solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has a nice initial hit of fruit and dark chocolate that is joined by some building spice and earthiness.  The finish has nice length and is joined by a touch of spicy oak.  The oak has started to integrate and will probably be even better integrated with some air or a little more cellar time.  This is very tasty today if a touch of oak doesn’t bother you too much.  (90 pts)

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast – $20.00

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

 

This wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

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

 

The winery’s objectives are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

.  To dream big but keep production low!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, Asian spices, cocoa powder, charred meat, black peppercorns, roasted herbs, vanilla, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate there is nice balance between the dark fruit, spice and meaty elements.  The finish had good length with some dark chocolate adding a nice touch.  This has improved considerably over the last year.  (93 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast

 

 

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza – $14.24

Over the years I’ve enjoyed many bottles of Italian Dolcetto wines.  These are generally nice, every day wines that are available at wallet friendly prices.  The Italian word “dolcetto” means “little sweet one”.  Don’t take that literally since these wines are usually bone dry.  Most are light to medium body, fairly fruity with a touch of spice.  The moderate acidity makes it a wonderful partner to a wide range of food.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol and is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

The wine, in the winery’s words

This Dolcetto d’Alba is a creation of the Langhe hills, La Morra Fontanazza in particular.  A delicious, easy-drinking wine, it is a product of the terroir and the distinctive regional microclimate.  An “honest” red wine, the “Fontanazza” is made in traditional manner, without the intervention of new technology.  It has always been considered the everyday drinking wine of native Langhe people.  The “Fontanazza” selection is not aged in oak in order to offer a fresh, fruity, inviting and easy-to-drink wine.  “Fontanazza” presents a magnificent ruby-red color with lovely violet reflections.  The intense and persistent nose offers floral and fruity sensations with evident signs of sweet spices.  The palate is characterized by the same sensations, exalted by a pleasant acidity and a delicate, slightly bitter aftertaste.  With these characteristics, the Dolcetto “Fontanazza” is an excellent companion to every dish of the Italian and international cooking tradition.  The ideal wine glass has a medium-sized bowl and a long stem.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep garnet color.  The sensuous nose has cherries, plums, baking spices, white pepper, minerals, and violets.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and great acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit takes center stage with minerals and pepper coming in from the sidelines.  Nice length on the mineral driven finish.  Not one to keep in the cellar but easy to enjoy over the next year, maybe two.  (89 pts)

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d'Alba Fontanazza

2010 Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza

 

 

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $25.99

I grabbed a bottle of this previously unknown wine based on a recommendation from a friend.  I like the change of pace offered by an Oregon Pinot after having a few bottles of heavier California Pinot Noirs.

 

This wine has 12.6% alcohol and the bottle is closed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Evening Land Vineyards was born in 2005 with the purchase of Occidental Vineyard on California’s Sonoma Coast.  We later traveled north to acquire Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon’s southeastern Eola-Amity Hills. Finally, we crossed an ocean to begin producing wine in Burgundy.

 

Today, we are a pioneering, international wine company that produces terroir-driven wines from Burgundy, the Eola-Amity Hills and the Sonoma Coast.

 

More information about this unique winery is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, semitransparent, ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spice, raspberries and forest floor.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the tart, spicy fruit grabs the palate followed by earthy elements and a saline note.  The finish has nice length and is carried by the saline and earthy elements with the fruit providing a touch of needed sweetness.  This is much more Burgundian than anything coming out of California.  I like this and will probably grab a few more bottles.  (90 pts)

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Top 10 QPR Wines of 2012

 

 

top10

 

 

 

QPR Stands for Quality to Price Ratio.  These are the wines that represented the highest quality and lowest prices.

 

Here are the top QPR wines I had in 2012.  I selected only bottles of wine that I purchased in 2012.  Will all (or any) of these wines be available in your area?  Good question.  The short answer is, all won’t be available, but one or two may be sitting on a shelf, especially the ones I bought towards the end of the year.

 

Instead of using the price I paid, which may have been a close out price, I am using the “Community Average value” from Cellar Tracker.  This means, you may actually find the wine for a lower price.  I just needed a good way to show an actual price.  It would be stupid for me to show a wine with a suggested price of $50, just because I bought one bottle at a blowout for $19.99.

 

The Cellar Tracker “Community average value” can be skewed if there were a lot of bottles bought at a sale price.  That means, I’m sorry if you can find the wine but it is considerably higher than the price I have listed.  There are a lot of factors that could cause the average price to drop below the current cost, volume discounts, special offers, sales, etc.

 

To be in the Top 10, a wine’s “Community Average Value” had to be under $20.  As an added bonus, I included five wines with an average value of $20.00 to $25.00.  Like I mentioned earlier, since the price listed is the “average” price, you may be able to find some of these for under $20.

 

Unfortunately, the average price of a couple wines in my list had their average price creep over $20 in the last week.  Instead of removing them, I left them on the list since with low “ownership” wines, one person paying suggested price can skew the average.

 

QPR

 

 

10 – 2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $13.56

 

My comments

This was a new one for me in 2012.  I bought one bottle, tried it, and had to load up.  I think this one will improve a bit with some cellar time and drink well for a couple of years.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted about 2 hours.  The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  Blackberries, Asian spices, licorice, cracked black peppercorns, plums, cherries, eucalyptus, underbrush, cherry, and a hint of smoked meat on the very nice and open nose.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Loads of spicy fruit on the palate that is not raisiny or syrupy.  Ripe but not overly so, walking the fine line.  Nice length on the finish which does show a bit of spicy oak.  Tasty now, but a bit more cellar time may be rewarded.  (90 pts)

Brassfield Eruption

 

 

 

9 – 2011 Villa Creek Pink – $15.10

 

My comments

This is one of my perennial summer Rosé wines.  This one is generally good with a light dinner on a warm day, or just a cool beverage to tame some Summer heat.

 

My Tasting Note

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

VC Pink

 

 

 

8 – 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico – $22.45

 

My comments

This was suggested to me by a friend at my local wine store as one to try.  I did, and as usual, he was right.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, ruby red color.  The very nice and pleasing nose has plums, black cherries, baking spices, underbrush, dried herbs, and fresh flowers.  This is barely medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with plenty of acidity holding everything together very nicely.  The finish has very nice length with red fruit, spice, and nice earthiness.  A very nice Chianti Classico, I need to pick up some more.  (91 pts)

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

 

 

 

7 – 2008 Core Grenache Santa Barbara County – $16.43

 

My comments

A top notch winery, a high quality region, and one of my favorite grapes, how could I not love it?

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a garnet red color.  The very intriguing nose has cherries, Asian spices, plums, dried leafy herbs, meat juices, leather, white pepper, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  This has solid fruit and spice on the plush and velvety palate.  The palate leans heavily on the tart cherries and Asian spices, but the pepper, plums, and pepper spread out to totally envelope the palate in flavor.  The long, lingering finish echoes the palate with the spicy, cherries and a touch of earthiness seeming to never totally fade.  This is a fantastic value that should find a place in your cellar.  This can be enjoyed over the next 4 to 5 years.  (91 pts)

2008 Core Grenache Santa Barbara County

 

 

 

6 – 2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau – $14.47

 

My comments

I used to drink a ton of this wine, but for some reason, probably price, I moved on to other wines.  My local wine store had this at a great price so I had to grab a few bottles, I’m glad I did since it is as good as ever.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very tempting nose features plums, cherries, wood smoke, baking spices, wild flowers, and some dried herbs and cedar.  This has a medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and dried herbs grab the initial spotlight with some spicy oak and baking spices adding nice depth in the background.  The finish has nice length and highlights the savory elements with the fruit in the background.  A very nice, value priced “baby Priorat”.   (91 pts)

2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau

 

 

 

5 – 2008 Treasure Hunter Cabernet Franc Catch 22 – $19.33

 

My comments

This is a Negociant that buys excess juice from wineries, sometimes does some blending, bottles it and sells it for a fraction of the price the original winery would have charged.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very interesting and inviting nose has blackberries, dried herbs, licorice, black cherry, baking spices, cigar tobacco, dark chocolate, cedar, and some violets.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a fair amount of upfront berries and black cherry with dried herbs and spices, slowly a nice hit of dark chocolate creeps in on the backend.  The finish has decent length and leans more toward the dried herbs and dark chocolate with the fruit playing more of a supporting role in the background.  This is a fantastic, young wine for under $20.  I’m going to try and hold off opening another for a few months, but it will be tough.  (92 pts)

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22

 

 

 

4 – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $18.46

 

My comments

This is another of the Rosé wines I load up on before Summer rolls around.  This one usually has a bit more acidity than the Villa Creek Pink (#9 above).

 

My Tasting Note

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

Bedrock Rose

 

 

 

3 – 2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT – $18.02

 

My comments

This is another wine I used to buy in large volumes but avoided when the price crept up.  The local store featured this for an outstanding price and I ended up getting well over a case to enjoy over the next few years.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The elegant nose has blackberries, plums, smoke, dried herbs, vanilla, black cherries, wild flowers and minerals.  This is medium body with silky, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  There is nice layered fruit, spice, and dried herbs on the palate with just a touch of earthiness in the background.  This has nice length on the finish which shows spicy berries.  Very nice.  (92 pts)

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT

 

 

 

2 – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Casa Santinamaria – $17.89

 

My comments

I joined the Bedrock mailing list to get their red wines, but thus far I have preferred their Rosé and whites.  The Bedrock red wines need some cellar time, but their whites, like this one are outstanding and offer fantastic value.  This is composed of Muscadelle, Chasselas, Zinfandel, Semillon, and even a little bit of Chardonnay.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow/straw color.  This ha a very intriguing nose with apples, pears, peach, minerals, white pepper, citrus zest, a very nice floral note and just a bit of an herbal note.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  This has luscious, juicy fruit on the palate with citrus, herbal notes and a bit of white pepper in the background.  This very unusual blend is very unique and delicious.  This is another winning white wine from Bedrock.  (92 pts)

Casa Santinamaria

 

 

 

1 – 2007 Core Hard Core – $20.16

 

My comments

This is a blend of 37% Mourvèdre, 33% Cabernet, 26% Syrah and 4% Grenache, and that add up to 100% delicious!  I’m not sure if Dave Corey still has any of this and what his current price is, I was able to load up during a sale on Invino.  This wine is just entering a nice drinking window.  Thankfully I still have some in the cellar to enjoy over the next few years.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The captivating nose has black cherry, smoked meat, black pepper, cassis, vanilla, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness and cedar.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is rich and spicy on the palate with layers of flavors popping in, including nice dark chocolate and espresso grounds elements.  This has a fairly long finish full of fruit and dark chocolate with some nice, spicy oak and earthiness adding to the enjoyment.  This is an outstanding effort that will reward additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

Hard Core

 

 

 

Bonus – Five wines from $20.00 to $25.00

 

 

 

11 – 2007 Core Tempranillo C3 Reserve – $21.40

 

My comments

I’m a big fan of Spanish Tempranillo wines, but other than Villa Creek’s Mas de Maha, which is a blend with a fair amount of Tempranillo, most from California haven’t been noteworthy.  Finally, an outstanding California Tempranillo wine!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a slightly hazy deep ruby color.  The wine has an exotic and exciting nose full of cherries, black raspberries, well worn leather, earthy underbrush, baking spices, licorice, and dried herbs.  This has a medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is loaded with tart cherries, raspberries, and baking spices up front with some earthiness and dried herbs in the background adding nice depth and complexity.   The finish is fairly long and full of juicy fruit and spice that slowly gives way to dried herbs and a touch of earthiness.  This is still very young and with the abundance of fruit, acidity, and tannins, some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  One of the better California Tempranillo wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.  (93 pts)

2007 Core Tempranillo C3 Reserve

 

 

 

12 – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.17

 

My comments

How about that the third Bedrock wine to make my QPR list, and like the two previous entries, it is not a red.  This is the second vintage in a row that this wine was a killer value.

 

My Tasting Note

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

Bedrock SB

 

 

 

13 – 2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $22.89

 

My comments

This was another new find for me in 2012.  I bought a few bottles of Helioterra wine based on a recommendation during a “Berserkers Day” event.  If you don’t know what a “Berserker Day” is, visit Wine Berserkers.

 

My Tasting Note

From a bottle that had been opened but not decanted for about 4 hours.  The wine is a very light, transparent ruby color.  This has cherry, wet earth, underbrush, baking spices, and a hint of a soft, herbal note on the soft, delicate, but very inviting nose.  The wine has light to medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice spicy, earthy cherries on the palate with a very pleasing faint herbal note in the background.  There is decent length on the finish which may fill out with some additional cellar time.  My first exposure to Helioterra, but this will not be my last.  (92 pts)

2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

14 – 2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvee 32” – $21.81

 

My comments

This is one of my favorite “Super Tuscan” wines coming out of California.  A “Super Tuscan” is generally a wine from Tuscany that had a non Italian grape blended with the native Sangiovese.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  On very enticing nose there are cherries, raspberries, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice, blackberries, black pepper, and violets.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is full of tart, spicy, fruit with nice earthy elements and some pepper adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long and features tart, juicy cherries, licorice, and some earthiness.  This is a very nice “Super Tuscan” from California.  Tastes fantastic today, but this will last in the cellar for up to five years.  (91 pts)

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia Cuvee 32

 

 

 

15 – 2009 Girard Petite Sirah – $24.00

 

My comments

This is another favorite in just about every vintage.  Girard is just about as consistent with this grape as any winery in the world.  They always seem to put out an exceptional Petite Sirah at a great price.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour. The wine is a deep, dark purple color. There are blackberries, black pepper, smoke, licorice, dark chocolate, dried herbs, underbrush, and some earthiness on the dark and pleasing nose.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  There is a lot of fruit and spice on the palate with just a bit of earthiness coming in on the back end with dark chocolate and black pepper.  Nice length on the finish where the dark chocolate really kicks into high gear.  This is very young but already very nice.  (91 pts)

Girard

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Sept 21, 2012 to Sept 23, 2012

 

 

 

 

1994 Schloss Schönborn Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spätlese – $16.99

 

My comments

I returned home from a business trip today.  It was 80 and sunny in North Carolina, it is currently a cold and damp 52 here in Wisconsin.  It sounds like a perfect day for some Seafood Gumbo.  We make ours a touch spicy so a nice, off dry Riesling usually is a perfect match.  We drank through just about all of the cases of older Riesling I bought from Garagiste Wine a few years ago, but this is from that stash.  Luckily I have 3 more cases of older German Rieslings that will be shipping in the next few weeks so I’ll be able to restock the cellar.

 

Winery history

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 Rhine river 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 very nice looking golden yellow color.  There is petrol, apples, stony minerality, white peaches, white pepper, and orange zest on the enticing nose.   This is light to medium body with zippy acidity.  Luscious, juicy fruit and minerals on the palate with nice citrus notes adding depth.  The finish is full of fruit and citrus but only decent length.  The sweetness is fully integrated so this is not longer a sugary sweet wine, it seemed more off dry.  Not as rich and powerful as some of the older German Rieslings I’ve had, but still very enjoyable.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

We had some Seafood Gumbo to pair with the Riesling.  The Gumbo was fairly spicy with bay scallops, salad shrimp, lump crabmeat, and a ton of fresh okra from my father in law’s garden in South Carolina.  I absolutely love an aged Riesling and a spicy gumbo, to me it’s a perfect pairing.  Definitely opposites attract with hot versus cold and spicy versus sweet.  It was a delicious meal and now I can have some leftover gumbo for lunch next week and enjoy a glass of the Riesling while relaxing.  Life is good!

 

 

 

My wife had some nice bottles this week while I was traveling.  These are all 375ml half bottles that were on the counter to greet me when I got home.  The wines were a 2007 Novy Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah, 2009 Loring Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, and a 2006 Scherrer Alexander Valley Old and Mature Vines Zinfandel.

 

 

 

2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $14.24

 

My Comments

This is a blend of 37% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah and 9% Malbec, from the High Valley AVA in the eastern part of LakeCounty in California.  I took a flier on a couple of bottles a few months ago at the local wine store.  We opened one that night and thought enough to grab six more bottles ASAP.  This was made from obviously very ripe grapes, but showed no raisin or syrupy notes.  I’m looking forward to trying it again.

 

Winery History

Brassfield Estate Winery & Vineyard is located in the western section of HighValley at High Serenity Ranch on a truly distinctive and remarkable winegrowing property. Our valley floor vineyards sit at 1800 ft elevation. The higher vineyard blocks rise to nearly 3000 ft. The temperatures of some parts of this unique vineyard are some of the coldest in CA, giving Brassfield a heat summation equivalent to a Region 3 or less in some vintages.

 

In 1973, Jerry Brassfield purchased the original 1,600 acres here as a cattle ranch and wildlife reserve. Over the next three decades Jerry acquired additional property. Today, the LakeCounty estate includes 2,500 acres across both the eastern and the western sections of HighValley, as well as the Round Mountain Volcano.

 

The Vineyards were investigated for their potential to produce world-class estate-grown wines in 1998. Vineyard planting began in 2001. As the vineyards matured, the winery has grown with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  On the exotic nose there are blackberries, Asian spices, cracked black peppercorns, licorice, eucalyptus, dark chocolate, cherries, earthy tree bark, smoked meat, and plums.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  The fruit and dark chocolate hit the palate first with some nice earthiness and spice coming in a couple seconds later followed by a touch of excess oak.  Nice length on the finish with is slightly marred by a bit too much oak.  This will benefit from some time in a decanter or even better a few more months in the cellar.  Earlier bottle that had been decanted a couple hours didn’t show as much oak.  Tasty but give it some air.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

2001 Castello di Verduno Barbaresco Faset – $28.74

 

My Comments

This is a wine I bought from Garagiste Wine a few years ago,.  I opened one bottle but felt it still needed some cellar time.  I love a nice Barbaresco maybe even more than a Barolo, to me they are a bit more versatile to pair with food.  It’s hard to find a good quality Barbaresco for under $30, but this one could fill that void for me.

 

Winery History

In 1838, King Carlo Alberto of Savoy purchased the Castle of Verduno from the two charitable institutions and entrusted the management of his estate and wine cellar to the famous enologist General Carlo Staglieno.  Here, following the method suggested by Giulia Falletti Colbert, the ‘Oenotechnician General’ Paolo Francesco Staglieno made the first vinifications of the nebbiolo grape, laying the bases for modern Barolo.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was decanted about 30 minutes.  The wine is a light to medium ruby with a fair amount of brick.  Earthy, cherries, fresh ground espresso, baking spices, dark chocolate, cedar, minerals, white pepper, and a slight floral note on the very pleasing nose.  Medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice earthy cherries, spice, and minerals on the palate with just a touch of oak in the background.  Fairly long finish which has an added slight herbal note that is in no way distracting.  Tasting very nice now, but this will hold and maybe even improve over the next few years.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

My wife made her meat sauce that simmers for hours for dinner.  Add in a couple pieces of garlic-cheese bread and a touch of grated cheese and we had a fantastic dinner on this cool early Fall day.

 

 

 

2008 JC Cellars “The First Date” – $14.24

 

My Comments

I grabbed a few bottles of this from my local wine store at an end of vintage closeout sale.  I am a big fan of both red and white wines made from the grapes native to the Rhone region in France.  I’ve been looking forward to seeing what Jeff Cohn was able to do with this white wine.  I’ve been a big fan of Jeff’s red wines since his days at Rosenblum.  This wine is a blend of 75% Roussanne, 25% Marsanne.

 

Winery History

When Jeff Cohn was the winemaker at Rosenblum Cellars, annually he crafted more than 70 different wines.  Today, at his Oakland-based warehouse winery, the irrepressible vintner now limits himself to a mere 21 bottlings, focusing on Rhône varietals.  Cohn’s longtime relationships with some of California’s top growers and vineyards enable him to source some of the state’s finest fruit, including Rockpile in SonomaCounty, Fess Parker in Santa BarbaraCounty and Stagecoach in Napa.

 

My Tasting Note

A real nice, golden yellow color.  The wine has a rich and exotic nose with white peaches, pears, minerals, lemon curd, beeswax, spring flowers, spicy oak, and hints of vanilla bean, and apples.  This is medium body with decent acidity, and a creamy, oily texture on the palate.  Nice mineral laden, white fruit on the palate with some spicy oak in the background and citrus zest proving nice zip.  Seems a touch disjointed on the palate with the oak popping in and out especially on the finish when the wine is a touch chilled, at room temperature, the wine settles down and is much more enjoyable.  Pretty nice, but watch the serving temperature, this is much better served at “red wine temperature”.  (88 pts)

 

 

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden – $34.99

 

My comments

Two Hands is probably my wife’s favorite non California winery.  Any time I pull one from the cellar, I get a big smile when she sees the bottle.  I grab as much of the wines as possible when I see them at a good price, because frankly, they are also a favorite of mine.  All the attention the winery gets from Wine Spectator is making it harder to find the wine at a decent price so I can grab case lots, so I make due with two or three bottles at a time.  Australian Shiraz may be a dead market according to most of the major wine writers, and that may be true, but now for Two Hands wines from Garden series down.

 

Winery History

Two Hands Wines was founded in early 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz.

The original aim shared by Michael and Richard was to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized Shiraz growing regions throughout Australia. Their intention was, and still is, to showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional characteristics and allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines. Two Hands refers to the very personable approach taken with each parcel of grapes, no matter how big or small. The wines are carefully guided through the viticulture and winemaking process by Michael Twelftree and winemaker, Matt Wenk.

 

In November 2011, Two Hands was named in the Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 for the 9th consecutive year, an achievement that has never been equaled by any other winery in the world.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  There are crushed berries, minerals, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, smoked meat, black pepper, vanilla, black cherries, Asian spices, and violets on the very inviting nose.  This is fairly full bodied with nice, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine is big, bold, and ripe on the palate with no raisin or syrupy notes.  The palate features nice juicy, spicy berries with some oak in the background with minerals, meat, and dark chocolate.  There is a long, lingering finish with the spicy berries lingering seemingly forever.  This may not be for everyone, but if you want an in your face Shiraz, look no further.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

For dinner we mad a house favorite for the first cool weekend, a big pot of Paul Prudhomme’s Red Beans and Rice.  We usually freeze a nice ham bone with a fair amount of meat still attached just for the dish.  Add some andouille and we’re set for a nice, hearty meal.  The recipe is available online at http://bit.ly/SN9fMS

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

 

Rudius

I’ve been on the Rudius mailing list since the beginning.  Rudius is Jeff and Brittany Ames.  Jeff’s name may not ring a bell, but here’s a bit of his bio:

In 2001 Jeff became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor.  Two years later, Jeff was named the head winemaker at Tor, a position he still commands.   Rudius is the culmination of Jeff’s goal of owning his own wine brand.

 

I have purchased a fair amount of Jeff’s wines and every one that I have opened has been outstanding.  I have had several of his cabernets and wines made by the Rhone varietals.  I highly recommend the Rudius mailing list.  More information about Jeff and Brittany, Rudius, and most importantly a link to join the mailing list is available on their site.  Visit http://www.rudiuswines.com/

 

 

Elyse Winery

This is Elyse’s 25th year.  You can help them celebrate the momentous occasion.  They are offering 25% off all purchases made through September 25th.  I have been a big fan of the winery since my first visit there in 2000.  They make some of my favorite, mid-priced, red wines.  I think their Cabernets, Zinfandels, Petite Sirahs, and Rhone blends are all very good to outstanding.  Visit http://www.elysewinery.com/25.html for more information.

 

 

Ledge Vineyards

This is one of my latest “finds”.  Mark Adams is the owner/winemaker for this family owned winery.  He releases one wine, and the grapes all come from the family owned vineyard.  The vineyard is about 7 acres currently and is located in Paso Robles not far from Denner and the James Berry Vineyards.  Mark is also been the assistant winemaker at Saxum where he has worked since 2004.  I highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this exciting list.  Visit http://www.ledgevineyards.com/index.php for more information or to join the list.

 

 

Herman Story

I’m not on the Herman Story mailing list, but a friend who is on the list shares some of his allocation with me.  These are big, ripe, bold wines and every once in a while that’s what I get in the mood for.  These wines aren’t for Francophiles.  If my friend wasn’t on the list, I’d join.  If you like that style of wine as much as I do, I highly recommend checking them out, perhaps you can get something from the just released offerings.  Visit http://hermanstorywines.com/ for more information.

 

 

 

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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