Posts tagged ‘Calera Pinot Noir’

Wine of the week – 2012 Calera Pinot Noir

 

 

Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.

 

 

CaleraLogoRed

 

 The Winery

Calera is a vision, and Calera’s wines truly express the sense of place.  Rather than follow the recommended path, Josh Jensen became a pioneer in search of the perfect spot on the globe to grow grapes.  Taking his cue from the great domaines of Burgundy which have grown grapes in limestone soil for centuries, he set out in search of the perfect spot in California to create wines unique to the world but in the style of the greatest wines of France.  Site selection was vital as he ventured off the grid to plant on the site of an old limekiln in the Gavilan Mountains of California.  Today Calera wines still express that pioneer spirit and are revered the world over.  We are proud to report that even Robert Parker is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.”

 

The Wine

This 100% Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from the following Central Coast vineyards:

Laetitia Vineyard- San Luis Obispo County

Sierra Madre Vineyard- Santa Barbara County

Antle Vineyard – Monterey County

Bien Nacido Vineyard- Santa Barbara County

Doctor’s Vineyard- Monterey County

Pedregal Vineyard – San Benito County

Chula Vina Vineyard- Monterey County

Besson Vineyard- Santa Clara County

Flint Vineyard- San Benito County

Idyll Times Vineyard- San Benito County

 

 

Spanbauer view

 

2012 Calera Pinot Noir – $23.93

I’ve enjoyed previous vintages of this wine, so I’m interested in seeing how this wine turned out in the highly acclaimed 2012 vintage.  This is usually a very nice middle of the road style of Pinot Noir.  It usually has some richness but is not overly ripe.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The tempting and inviting nose has black cherries, baking spices, earthy underbrush, wild flowers, cola and a touch of spicy oak.  This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit is a bit brighter than the nose lead me to expect with tart cherries and baking spices up front with some building earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with fruit and spice carrying the load.  This is very nice for an entry level Pinot and a keeper for a touch over $20.  (90 pts)

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

 

 

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 – Dec 6, 2013 to Dec 8, 2013

 

 

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley

2008 Andrew Will Sorella

 

 

 

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino – $24.33

I like Altesino’s Brunello wines, when the local store stocked this Rosso on their shelf, I had to grab a few bottles.  When done right, a Rosso is just a notch below a Brunello in quality but sells for a fraction of the cost.

 

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

 

The Winery

The company is a leader in various, important innovations in the production of Sangiovese di Montalcino, causing it to stand out and become a reference point for the entire territory.

 

The introduction of the “Cru” (Montosoli) concept in 1975, the first experiments with barriques in ’79, the production in ’77 of the first Grappa di Fattoria under the consultancy of the master distiller Gioacchino Nannoni and the first Futures (purchasing wine before its release) for Brunello 1985 are some of the positive contributions putting Montalcino on the world map.

 

An intense relationship has built up over forty years with the land full of history, with its almost sensual beauty that is physically perceived and its subtle charm that reaches the body and soul. This is the philosophy that inspires Altesino to produce wine and maintain its culture.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a touch of brick.  The bright nose has cherries, strawberries, raspberries, dried herbs, tobacco, minerals, and a touch of underbrush.  This has medium body, light to moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the red fruit and spice hit first with dried herbs, minerals, and tobacco coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with the tobacco and minerals closing the show.  Not a wine to contemplate over, but a very tasty Rosso to enjoy over the next few years with a hearty meal.  (89 pts)

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

This bottle was from a large wine tasting in a local wine store.  I was able to bring home the wine that was left over at the end, about a half bottle.

 

I’ve had earlier vintages of this wine and enjoyed them.  I’m interested to see what the wine is like from this highly acclaimed vintage.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The tempting and inviting nose has black cherries, baking spices, earthy underbrush, cola and a touch of spicy oak.  This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit is a bit brighter than the nose lead me to expect with tart cherries and baking spices up front with some building earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with fruit and spice carrying the load.  Not bad for an entry level Pinot and a keeper for a touch over $20.  (90 pts)

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

2012 Calera Pinot Noir

 

 

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

This bottle was from a large wine tasting in a local wine store.  I was able to bring home the wine that was left over at the end, about a third bottle.

 

This is one of the “big names” in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  This vintage didn’t get as much acclaim as earlier vintages.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The outstanding nose has kirsch, brined olives, potpourri, crushed berries, cherries, cedar and minerals.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this wine slowly displays layer after layer of fruit, spice and minerals.  The layered finish has very good length and is loaded with constantly evolving flavors.  This tasted outstanding today but deserves some serious cellar time for it open up and spread its wings.  (94 pts)

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau

 

 

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch – $15.07

From a 375 ml bottle

 

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.

 

The local wine store used to stock this wine in half bottles but I don’t know if anyone other than me bought it.  A quick check of my purchase history in Cellar Tracker show I bought well over 2 cases of this wine.  I know the last case was the last one the distributor had in stock.  I’m not seeing as much Elyse on wine store shelves here in Wisconsin, which is a loss for the normal consumer.  I keep the Elyse (and Jacob Franklin) part of my cellar stocked with purchases direct from the winery.

 

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

 

Winery history

In 1983, Nancy and Ray arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure.  After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to NapaValley and became innkeepers for a bed &breakfast. Ray then spent formative time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge working in the vineyards.  Ray’s nine year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker honed his skills in the art of blending and was the inspiration for Ray’s winemaking style today.

 

In 1987, Ray & Nancy started Elyse Winery with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still a cornerstone vineyard source for the winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, in 1997 they purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane, the home of Elyse Winery and tasting room.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color showing just a touch of brick, mainly at the edge.  The very appealing nose reminded me more of a Claret than a zinfandel.  There was some brambly berries and pepper, but they were joined with tobacco, cedar, dried herbs, cassis, and warm baking spices.  This has a medium body, soft integrated tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate this has lost most of its early “baby fat” and is a smooth, nuanced Zinfandel that again could be easily mistaken for a quality Claret.  The finish is fairly long with nice fruit, spice, and a touch of earthiness.  To some people, this may be over the hill, to me it is in a wonderful spot. This was from a 375ml bottle.  (93 pts)

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch

2006 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch

 

 

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley – $27.00

This wine is a blend of 77% Dry Creek Valley Syrah, 12% Dry Creek Valley Grenache both from the Teldeschi Vineyard, 9% Knights Valley Syrah from Peklan Ranch and 2% Russian River Valley Viognier.

 

Normally this is where I’d tell you to go to their website and sign up for the mailing list, but not this time.  Unfortunately the Carlisle mailing list is full, the best you could do is get on the waiting list.  The problem with that one is big, the wines are so good and fairly priced, very few people drop off the list.  My best advice is to find someone on the list and beg them to share a bottle or two of their allocation with you.

 

The wine contains 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple to black color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, charcoal, white pepper, smoke, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, blueberries, Asian spices and minerals.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is full of crushed berries, white pepper and Asian spices up front with smoke and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with some dark chocolate entering the picture.   This is drinking very nicely but has the stuffing and balance to keep in the cellar for another decade or more.  (92 pts)

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley

2007 Carlisle Syrah Dry Creek Valley

 

 

2008 Andrew Will Sorella – $61.74

I tasted this wine not long after release at the local wine store.  The wine, though very young, showed considerable promise.  I grabbed a few bottles and left them stashed in the cellar for a few years.  It’s time to check in to see how the wine is progressing.

 

This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot from the Champoux Vineyard in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Andrew Will Winery was started in 1989 and is owned by Chris Camarda.  The winery was launched out of a love for wine that Chris had developed while working in the restaurant trade for almost 20 years.  Named after the Camardas’ son Will and nephew Andrew, Andrew Will has been a major contributor to the success and notoriety in recent years of Washington State wines.  Initially, the winery consisted of 900 square feet of rented industrial space in Seattle.

 

In 1994, the Camardas moved to Vashon Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, where they built the present winery.  The fruit however comes from the mainland, across the Cascades in Eastern Washington, where all the significant vineyards lie in the rain shadow of the mountains.

 

Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval vineyards are adjacent on the loam and gravel soils of Red Mountain but produce different styles of wine.  Klipsun makes massive, opulent wine to appreciate early. Ciel du Cheval possesses a slightly more tannic structure and great ageing potential.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The suave and enchanting nose has cassis, cherries, warm baking spices, plums, minerals, dried leafy herbs, cocoa powder, with hints of cedar and earthy underbrush.  The wine has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  The fruit, spices and minerals coat the palate, eventually allowing a touch of cedar and subtle earthiness to enter focus.  The finish is very long with cocoa powder and dried herbs joining the party.  This wine is the complete package and has the balance to improve over the next few years and last in the cellar for a decade or more.  (95 pts)

2008 Andrew Will Sorella

2008 Andrew Will Sorella

 

 

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 – Aug 23, 2013 to Aug 25, 2013

 

 

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

2011 Calera Pinot Noir

2010 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks

 

 

 

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar – $29.99

Mitolo is one of the premiere wineries in Australia.  The wine maker, Ben Glaetzer, is one of the Australia superstars in the wine business.  I’m a big fan of their lower priced Reiver Shiraz but jumped on an opportunity to take a few bottles of this wine off a friend’s hands after they bought a case at a very special price.  This wine had a release price of $65 but I was able to grab a few at less than half that price.  That’s only a win if you like the wine.  Based on a bottle I had several months ago, this is a win!

 

This wine is a blend of only the best barrels of Shiraz and will provide serious enjoyment for anyone that is a fan of big, rich, Aussie Shiraz.

 

Winery history

For such a young winery, Mitolo’s history is rich.  It’s one studded with success, wide acclaim, and – most importantly – truly memorable wines.  But that’s only to be expected from a winery which, since the very first day, has been motivated by three potent words:

 

Purity. Elegance. Power.

 

Those were the guiding principles Frank Mitolo wrote down when he created the winery in 1999.  With his Italian heritage and a family history of working the land, Frank was only interested in pursuing excellence.  And the results were there immediately in the release of the first Mitolo wine – the 2000 G.A.M. – named after Frank’s children Gemma, Alexander and Marco.

 

Attracted by this commitment to only create wines of outstanding quality, acclaimed winemaker Ben Glaetzer joined Mitolo as a partner in 2001.  With grapes sourced from two of Australia’s premier wine regions, McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley, Frank and Ben now work tirelessly to surpass their already impressive achievements.  Mitolo Wines, praised by some of the world’s toughest critics, are now enjoyed in more than 20 countries around the world.

 

And that is just the start.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color. The rich and luxurious nose has blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, vanilla, smoked meat, dried herbs, warm baking spices and some earthiness. This has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity. This is a massive wine on the palate with loads of spicy, peppery berries with a nice smoked meat element followed by spicy oak and dried herbs. The finish is very long and like the palate, packed with flavor. No subtlety and not the most complex wine out there, but very balanced and tasty. Not a wine for everyone nor an everyday wine, but on occasion, this one will rock.  This is still on the young side, it should improve with additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

 

 

 

2011 Calera Pinot Noir – $24.69

I’m a big fan of the single vineyard offerings of Calera Pinot Noir wines.  Unfortunately, most of these single vineyard offerings are a bit pricey to open on a week night.  That’s where their appellation wines come into play.  These are generally very nice, varietally correct Pinots, that can be found for south of $25.

 

This wine is made of fruit purchased from over a dozen vineyard sources in California’s Central Coast region.  In this vintage, grapes from seven different vineyards were blended for the final product.

 

Winery history

Calera is a vision, and Calera’s wines truly express the sense of place.  Rather than follow the recommended path, Josh Jensen became a pioneer in search of the perfect spot on the globe to grow grapes.  Taking his cue from the great domaines of Burgundy which have grown grapes in limestone soil for centuries, he set out in search of the perfect spot in California to create wines unique to the world but in the style of the greatest wines of France.  Site selection was vital as he ventured off the grid to plant on the site of an old limekiln in the Gavilan Mountains of California.  Today Calera wines still express that pioneer spirit and are revered the world over.  We are proud to report that even Robert Parker is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color, much lighter at the rim. The fresh smelling nose has cherries, flowers, baking spice, eucalyptus, crushed stone minerals, and a touch of forest floor. This has medium body, soft tannins, and nice acidity. Nice red fruit on the palate with spice and just a touch of earthiness. The finish has nice length with the eucalyptus and minerals making an appearance to go with the sweet fruit. A very nice, easy drinking, under $25 Pinot Noir.  (90 pts)

2011 Calera Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2010 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc – $15.19

Cloudy Bay has been my favorite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for several years.  Obviously that opinion is shared by a lot of wine drinkers.  This is not the lowest priced Sauvignon Blanc in the marketplace, at times it is a challenge to find it for under $25.  A couple years ago, when my local store had it on sale for under $16, I loaded up.  Unfortunately, this is my last bottle from that buy.

 

If you are a fan of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and want to find a lower priced alternative, try to source some Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc.  The owner/winemaker for Greywacke is Kevin Judd, the founding winemaker for Cloudy Bay.  After 25 vintages at Cloudy Bay, Kevin set out on his own.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, pale yellow to straw color.  The fresh and tropical nose has lime, grapefruit, minerals, fresh cut grass, and orange blossoms.  This has light body with tart, citrusy acidity.  On the palate the crisp fruit and minerals steal the show with the grapefruit notes giving way to lime with a nice herbal edge.  The finish has very good length with the lime and grapefruit allowing minerals and herbal elements to poke through.  As usual, another outstanding offering from Cloudy Bay.  (91 pts)

2010 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks – $39.99

I’ve had and loved the Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet for a number of years.  This is the first vintage of this specific wine.  This wine was actually created mainly for restaurants to have on their wine list as an earlier drinking, Howell Mountain cab, that could be listed for under $100.  Since this is a new wine and I bought it without tasting it, I didn’t know if it needed a bit of cellar time.  Luckily, the local store had a big wine tasting yesterday and this was one of the wines being poured.  I was lucky enough to grab a taste and decided it was good to go now.

 

This is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot from Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep maroon color.  The big and fully open nose is full of cassis, licorice, warm baking spices, black pepper, leather, dried herbs, and a touch of cedar.  This has medium to full body with soft, ripe tannins, and decent acidity.  On the palate this is soft and jammy for a Howell Mountain wine.  Big, ripe, juicy, berries and spice hit the front end of the palate coating it in flavor with dried herbs and spicy oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length and shows jammy fruit and spice with an oaky over lay but could use some additional complexity.  This is an easier drinking wine than I expected, this isn’t one to stash in the cellar for an extended time.  (89 pts)

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks

 

 

 

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 – May 17, 2013 to May 19, 2013

 

 

2011 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast

2005 Copain Syrah Garys’ Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 

 

2011 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast – $21.97

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the single vineyard Pinot Noirs from Calera for a few years.  This will actually be my first appellation labeled wine from them.

 

Winery history

Calera is a vision, and Calera’s wines truly express the sense of place.  Rather than follow the recommended path, Josh Jensen became a pioneer in search of the perfect spot on the globe to grow grapes.  Taking his cue from the great domaines of Burgundy which have grown grapes in limestone soil for centuries, he set out in search of the perfect spot in California to create wines unique to the world but in the style of the greatest wines of France.  Site selection was vital as he ventured off the grid to plant on the site of an old limekiln in the Gavilan Mountains of California.  Today Calera wines still express that pioneer spirit and are revered the world over.  We are proud to report that even Robert Parker is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color, much lighter at the rim.  The fresh smelling nose has cherries, flowers, baking spice, eucalyptus, crushed stone minerals, and a touch of forest floor.  This has medium body, soft tannins, and nice acidity.  Nice red fruit on the palate with spice and just a touch of earthiness.  The finish has nice length with the eucalyptus and minerals making an appearance to go with the sweet fruit.  A very nice, easy drinking, under $25 Pinot Noir.  (90 pts)

2011 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast

 

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah Garys’ Vineyard – $50.00

 

My comments

I’m a fan of both Copain’s Syrahs and the wines made with grapes from Garys’ Vineyard, but this wine always left me scratching my head.  This wine included a high percentage of stems and the resulting vegetal notes always were too prominent.  I kept hoping they would better integrate, but I think we just have to accept this will always have a stemmy note.  It’s been about two years since my last bottle, I’m hoping for the best but feel otherwise.

 

Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley in particular.  So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best.  For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s Rhone Valley.  During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life.  At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him.  He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, blueberries, dried herbs, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, earthy underbrush, and a bit of stems.  On the palate this leans on the savory elements with smoked meat, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and pepper taking control and driving the fruit into the background where it adds some needed sweetness.  The finish is long and meaty with a touch of stems peaking through.  I doubt the stems will ever totally integrate but at this point they are at least mostly under control.  I found this very enjoyable but some will object to the excessive stems.  (92 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah Garys Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente – $19.00

 

My comments

Though this wine is offered on the Bedrock mailing list (and listed in Cellar Tracker) as made by Bedrock, the wine is actually the result of a partnership between winemakers Michael Havens (the first person to make Albariño in the New World) and Morgan Twain-Peterson.

 

Winery history

Like I noted above this is not really made by Bedrock, but is actually a “side project” for Morgan Twain-Peterson.  I think this is the only wine being made by this partnership, but I, for one, would love to see them expand the portfolio.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light golden, straw color.  The fresh and appealing nose has apples, lemon zest, flinty minerality, white peach, orange blossoms, and a touch of spice including white pepper.  This has light body with very crisp citrusy acidity.  The citrus explodes on the palate with apples, minerals, and spice quickly building on the back end.  The finish is long and mouthwatering leaving a distinct citrus and white pepper element.  This is a perfect sunny day wine.  (91 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

 

 

 

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – $65.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of Jeff Ames’ Rudius label since the beginning.  I don’t know the status of Jeff’s mailing list, but if you like very special wines at good prices, you should check them out at http://www.rudiuswines.com/.  Besides Cabernets, Jeff has produced several outstanding wines with Rhone grapes.

 

Winery history

Growing up in Memphis and Mobile, Alabama in a family of lawyers, the thought of becoming a winemaker never occurred to Jeff Ames.  But after deciding not to pursue his law degree, a part time job in a local wine shop in Memphis sparked his passion for wine.  Soon after, in 1998, Jeff moved to Oregon on a whim—with no guarantee of a job—and lucked out when Lynn Penner-Ash gave him his first harvest job at Rex Hill.  What started as a much-needed mental break from his Masters program, soon turned into an exciting new career.  After harvest, Jeff couldn’t get enough of the wine business, and made the big move to the Napa Valley in 1999.  After bouncing around the industry from tasting room jobs at Freemark Abbey, Flora Springs and Duckhorn, to freelance writing for Decanter Magazine, to sales at WineBid, Jeff finally got the break he was waiting for.  In 2001, he was able to return to production—the side of the industry he has always loved most—when he became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor.

 

Two short years later, he took over as head winemaker at Tor, where he continues to make extraordinary wines from some of California’s most notable vineyards.  Everything really came together for Jeff in 2005, when, after years of penny-pinching, he finally achieved his ultimate goal of starting his own wine brand—Rudius Wines.  And the result, my friends, is what you have in your cellar!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The exciting and inviting nose has cassis, mint, warm baking spices, tobacco, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate spices, cassis, cherries, and dark chocolate hit first followed by minerals and dried herbs on the back end.  The finish is very long and seems to linger forever, with the minty note making a brief but appealing appearance.  On the young side, but already drinking very nicely.  I’m sure additional cellar time will be handsomely rewarded.  (94 pts)

2008 Rudius Cabernet Sauvignon

 

***** 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

2012 New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc 1 bottle for $8.54

2011 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 1 bottle for $16.90

2010 Peay Vineyards Syrah La Bruma 4 bottles for $38.04

 

 

 

 

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!

 

%d bloggers like this: