Posts tagged ‘Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block’

Cliffs Wine Picks – April 2017 Vol 2

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger – $33.60

Avenger is my favorite wine being produced by Villa Creek.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Luna Matta, James Berry and Denner Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The open and exuberant nose has blackberries, chalky minerals, baking spices, dried leafy herbs, white pepper, vanilla beans, blueberries and a touch of underbrush.  The wine has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with blackberries, minerals and white pepper jumping out first, followed closely by dried herbs and baking spices.  The finish has nice length with vanilla and a touch of underbrush entering the picture.  This is not a lithe and nuanced wine, more of a baseball bat to the back of your head.  The wine has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with a wax covering.  (91 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard – $32.00

This was a very easy buy from Last Bottle, one of my favorite grapes, from a top notch vineyard, from one of my go-to wineries.  This was another “steal” from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate $10 credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The inviting nose is full of crushed blackberries, dusty minerals, violets, blueberries, white pepper, road tar, dried violets and vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  For a Hayne Vineyard Petite Sirah this is bright and lively on your palate with crushed berries, minerals and white pepper hitting on the front end and blueberries, vanilla and dried violets coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with berries and white pepper seeming to linger forever.  This is on the young side but very easy to enjoy even at this stage in its development.  This has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente – $22.00

This  was the 5th vintage of this wine made by Michael Havens (the first person to make Albarino in the New World) and Morgan Twain-Peterson.  The wine comes from two sites in the far southern part of Napa Valley.  This vintage consists of almost 60% grapes from the Watson Vineyard, which is planted in limestone.  The fruit from this vineyard adds density and perfume.  This was fermented and aged in stainless steel tank, with no malolactic.

 

The wine is a nice straw yellow color.  The invigorating nose has ripe apple, dusty minerals, lemon zest, white peach, under ripe melon and orange blossoms.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate apples, lemon zest and white peach take control on the front end with minerals and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a bit of melon joining the apples and lemon zest.  This has great citrusy acidity with enough apple and peach to balance the tartness.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

 

 

 

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block – $38.00

This wine was not bottled in the 2009 vintage.  Most of the fruit in the previous vintage was lost due to heavy rains on October 13th.  The little fruit that was harvested went into the winery’s Sonoma County Syrah.  Thankfully the vineyard rebounded for the 2010 vintage.  For this vintage, two-thirds of the fruit was destemmed, the remainder was whole-cluster.  The wine was fermented with indigenous yeast.  The wine was aged in all French oak with 26% being new. A total of 410 cases were produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The vivid and bold nose is full of crushed blackberries, hot asphalt, black plums, licorice, warm baking spices, black cherries and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Waves of berries and plums are joined with spice and asphalt on the front end with black cherries coming in later.  The finish has good length with a hint of eucalyptus providing nice depth.  This is a big and bold wine that needs to be paired with a hearty meal.  This has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine – $22.00

This wine is a blend of grapes mainly from the late ripening Stellwagen Vineyard as well as Casa Santinamaria which was originally slated for a vineyard designated bottling.  The remainder of the wine includes grapes from the terraced Los Chamizal Vineyard, some younger vine fruit from Rossi Ranch in Kenwood, a few barrels of Monte Rosso Zinfandel, and a bit of old-vine Carignane and Mourvedre from the winery’s Bedrock Vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, baking spices, black cherries, dry underbrush and wild flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, black cherries, black pepper abd baking spices grab control on the front end with underbrush and a nice floral note coming in later.  The finish has nice length with berries and spice dominating.  Not as complex as earlier vintages but that’s a result of the vintage.  This is very tasty and would be a great pairing with a wide range of food.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

 

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard – $28.00

The fruit for this wine comes from the meticulously maintained Abba Vineyard owned and farmed by Phil Abba.  The vineyard is on the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA.  The winery also produces a top notch Grenache from this vineyard.  Both are well worth tracking down.

 

I tasted this wine in the vineyard with Phil Abba and winery owner/winemaker Mike McCay in late September and loved this wine.  As soon as we returned to the Lodi Wine Visitor Center, I added a couple bottles to a case I was having shipped home.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, scorched earth, dusty minerals, baking spices, blueberries, dried wildflowers and white pepper.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, minerals, baking spice and scorched earth grab your attention quickly on the front end with white pepper and blueberries coming in later.  The finish has great length with a nice dried floral note providing depth.  For such a young wine, this tastes great today but if you can keep your hands off it, some cellar time will be rewarded.  This is a top notch Syrah!  This has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.

 

Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

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Cliffs Wine Picks – Aug 25, 2014 to Sep 7, 2014

 

 

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

2006 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Carneros

2009 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Buck Hill Vineyard

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

2006 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

 

 

 

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico – $18.59

This has been a favorite since a friend suggested I give it a try.

 

80% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 5% Syrah in the 2010 vintage, Isole e Olena’s Chianti Classico is probably the wine (along with the 100% Sangiovese Isole e Olena “Cepparello”) for which the Isole e Olena winery has become best known.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks, this 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti was then matured for one year in primarily older oak (the typical capacity of the barrels used was 4000 litres).

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color. The very enjoyable nose has cherries, plums, baking spices, dried herbs, violets, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This wine has medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity. On the palate the wine has nice tart red fruit and spice up front with some earthy elements coming in later adding depth and complexity. The finish has good length with the tart fruit, spices, and earthiness held together nicely by the acidity. If you can find this for under $20, stock up.  (91 pts)

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

 

 

 

2006 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Carneros

I opened this bottle to sip during Karen’s visit to host #winechat on Twitter.  This is a blend of 85% Las Madres Syrah, 10% White Hawk Syrah and 5% Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah.

 

This wine has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The captivating nose has blackberries, cherries, freshly cracked black peppercorns, cedar, dark chocolate, dried herbs, dusty minerals and dried wildflowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate blackberries, black pepper and minerals jump out first with cedar and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with dark chocolate and tart cherries adding nice depth and complexity.  This is a very nice cooler climate, Syrah that seems to be just entering a nice drinking window.  (93 pts)

2006 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Carneros

2006 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Carneros

 

 

 

2009 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Buck Hill Vineyard – $30.00

I grab a few bottles from just about every Sandler release.  They produce several very good, nicely priced wines; I highly recommend checking them out.

 

This wine has 15.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, raspberries, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs and a touch of cedar.  This has a medium body with soft to moderate tannins and tart acidity.  On the palate bright red fruit and white pepper grab hold immediately with some dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with cedar and a touch of dark chocolate entering the picture.  This isn’t your typical zinfandel with ripe fruit and black pepper; this is more subtle and layered.  (92 pts)

2009 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Buck Hill Vineyard

2009 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Buck Hill Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.50

A few years ago the local wine store ran this wine as an e-mail special.  It was a pretty easy decision to grab a case for well under $10 a bottle.  How often can you find a single vineyard Petite at that price?  I don’t know the specifics but according to the winery’s website this was the last vintage for the wine.  I know for a fact they made some in the 2008 vintage, since I have a case in my cellar.  At least I bought a case but I have opened a few bottles.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The very masculine nose is loaded with blackberries, fresh ground black pepper, smoke, vanilla, eucalyptus, cherries, and wild flowers.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the peppery berries kick off the show with some smoke and vanilla coming in on the back end. A faint herbal note peaks out on the fairly long finish as well as some earthiness.  This tastes marvelous today and should hold for at least a couple more years.  (90 pts)

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

2006 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block – $37.00

The grapes for this wine were picked late in the season, October 31st.  The wine included 40% whole clusters and used indigenous fermentation.  The total production was only 110 cases of wine.

 

This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The exotic nose has black plums, blackberries, olive tapenade, Asian spices, charcoal, bacon fat, dark chocolate, charred meat and candied violets.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate dark fruit, olive and charred meat jump out first with spices and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long and nicely layered.  This is in a prime drinking window and should hold for a few more years.  (94 pts)

2006 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block

2006 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

 

 

 

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 – Sep 20, 2013 to Sep 22, 2013

 

 

2007 Domaine de Piaugier Gigondas

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé

2008 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

2005 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

2007 Steltzner Vineyards Claret

2004 Dupéré Barrera Bandol India

 

 

 

2007 Domaine de Piaugier Gigondas – $16.99

I ordered this in late 2008 from Garagiste.  By the time it arrived in their Washington warehouse all my other wines had shipped.  I cut down on my Garagiste purchases, so I received free storage for a couple of years.  I figured the wine was approaching a nice drinking window, so I made sure to order enough wine that these bottles would fill a case and be shipped.  This is my third of 6 bottles I purchased.  To me, Gigondas is a very unheralded area in the Rhone region of France.  These wines usually have a bit more richness than a Cotes du Rhone but in a lot of cases, they only cost a few dollars more.

 

Winery history

Alphonse Vautour, Jean-Marc Autran’s great-grandfather, made his wine in a cellar at the top of a little hill called Les Briguières, to the south of Sablet where he owned six hectares of vines.  The winery was named Ténébi, after the previous owner of the house.

 

Alphonse had to go down the hill, his mules loaded with barrels, to wait for the wine merchant to come by.  If the merchant didn’t come, or didn’t buy his wine, he had to climb back up with his reluctant mules.  So, in 1947 he decided to build a new winery on the road below, where the Piaugier cellars are to this day.

 

Jean-Marc Autran, Alphonse’s great-grandson, took over the winery from his father Marc in 1985.  He acquired more vineyards and, with the assistance of his wife Sophie, started bottling and developed sales.  The winery soon became too small and they extended it in 1995 to enable them to age and store the wines in the best possible conditions.

 

In homage to this family history, Jean-Marc has dedicated a wine to his ancestor, the Réserve Alphonse Vautour, which is made from grapes grown in his original fields.

 

Today, Piaugier wines are sold as far away as the United States, Japan and Brazil.

 

Much more information is available at http://www.domainedepiaugier.com/en_index.htm

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bit darker than a medium ruby color. The very appealing nose has raspberries, baking spices, cherries, white pepper, dried herbs, fresh wild flowers, smoke, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity. Spicy fruit hits the palate first, followed by nice dried herbs, pepper, and a touch of scorched earth. The finish has good length and leans more on the savory elements with the fruit providing nice background sweetness but it does lose some depth and richness. This is drinking very nicely today but can be enjoyed over the next few years.  (90 pts)

2007 Domaine de Piaugier Gigondas

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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 light pink to salmon color. The fresh and clean nose has strawberries, dusty minerals, white peaches, cherries, and some subtle earthiness. This has light body with crisp acidity. 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.  (91 pts)

2012 Bedrock Wine Co Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rose

 

 

 

2008 Saxum James Berry Vineyard – $75.00

I was a big fan of Saxum wines long before a certain wine publication brought them to everyone’s attention by naming one of their wines the Wine of the Year a couple years ago.  This wine was always a steal at the release price of $45.  Eventually the winery also noted this and the wine now is released for about $90.  The wine is usually outstanding, but my purchases have been cut back a bit because I just don’t need a boat load of $100 wine in the cellar.

 

Winery history

Saxum Vineyards is focused on producing Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre based blends from the Templeton Gap/Willow Creek area of Paso Robles.  We let our rocky calcareous soils, steep hillsides, sunny days, and cooling ocean breezes speak through our wines by keeping our yields low, picking the fruit at the peak of ripeness, and using a minimalist approach in the cellar.  We respect our land and farm everything sustainably without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.  Because our vine’s roots penetrate deep through the fissures in the calcareous soil irrigation is rarely needed.  Production is kept at 3000-4000 cases a year divided between seven different cuvees, Broken Stones, James Berry Vineyard, Bone Rock, Booker Vineyards, Paderewski Vineyard, Heart Stone Vineyard and Terry Hoage Vineyard.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby, lighter at the edge.  The exciting and enjoyable nose has crushed berries, roasted herbs, stony minerals, smoke, meat juices, cherries, violets, subtle earthiness, and a slight mint note.  This has full body, medium to solid tannins, and very good acidity.  Not as big and brooding on the palate as I was expecting based on the nose.  The very nice acidity holds the wine together and along with the tannins provides plenty of backbone and structure.  This deserves a few more years in the cellar but shows very nicely with a few hours of air.  (95 pts)

2008 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

 

 

 

2005 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block – $36.00

If you are on the Carlisle mailing list, congratulations, you are on one of the best lists out there.  If you are not on their mailing list, I highly recommend you upgrade your circle of friends to include someone on the list that shares their good stuff.

 

Now that Carlisle has their own winery and won’t be using outside crush facilities, I look forward to even greater things coming from them in the upcoming years.

 

Winery history

We are a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.

 

Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The stunning nose has berries, smoked meat, roasted herbs, black pepper, dark bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, minerals, brined black olives, and wildflowers.  This has a fairly full body with mostly integrated tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is all about the savory elements with smoked meat, black olives and pepper dominating the front end with the fruit providing nice sweetness in the background.  On the back end and long finish some earthiness joins the party.  This is probably at peak right now and I’d probably recommend drinking over the next year, maybe two before the fruit goes away.  (92 pts)

2005 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block

 

 

 

2007 Steltzner Vineyards Claret – $13.29

A long time favorite in the week night Bordeaux style blend category.  The blend changes every year, in this vintage it is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 12% Cabernet Franc.

 

Winery history

Richard Steltzner established his first Stags Leap District Vineyards in 1965 while concurrently engaging in vineyards management.  Steltzner Vineyards’ first commercial release was in 1977, and the Steltzner Family established their own modest facility in 1983, with a 3,000 case capacity here in the Stags Leap District.

 

Today at Steltzner Vineyards you will find Dick’s children working with him to carry on his legacy here in the NapaValley.  Allison Steltzner began working with her father full-time in 2002 after completing her Bachelor of Sciences Degree at ChicoState, majoring in business administration, with a minor in marketing.  Allison is uniquely suited for her post as General Manager and National Sales Director for Steltzner Vineyards.  Today, she is joined by Justin, as the second generation Steltzner family to work full time in the winery.  Justin carries on his father’s farming traditions and works side by side with Dick to manage the ranch and produce optimal fruit from our estate.  Their sister Laura makes her home in Casablanca, Morocco with her husband working in the cosmetics business.

 

For more information, please visit http://www.steltzner.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, tobacco, cherries, baking spices, smoke, and just a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows nice restraint and isn’t an in your face style of wine.  The fruit and savory elements share the spotlight on the front end showing nice balance, on the back end sweet cherries, spicy oak and dried herbs steal the show.  The finish has decent length but does get a touch thin and a touch of excess oak.  All in all, a nice Bordeaux style blend from the Napa Valley with a wallet friendly price of around $15.  (87 pts)

2007 Steltzner Vineyards Claret

 

 

 

2004 Dupéré Barrera Bandol India – $24.81

I’ve been a fan of the Mourvedre based wines from France’s Bandol region for quite a while.  To me, these wines fall into the “something different” category.  Like most people, we fall into a bit of a rut having slightly different styles of essentially the same wine, these wines are my “rut busters”.  If you’ve never had a nice Bandol, check one out some time.

 

About the wine

Bandol “Cuvée India” :

• Blend is almost entirely comprised of Mourvèdre

• East, south-east, and northern sun exposure

• Harvested at the beginning of October

• 90% of harvest is de-stemmed

• Long fermentations of 4-6 weeks, with punch-downs, regular pump-overs, and gentle, slowmoving pump-overs

• Wine ages for 36 months (18 months in foudres and 18 months in old, oak fûts from Domaine de la Romanée Conti and Domaine de Beauséjour Bécot

• Yields range between 25-30 hl/ha

• Bottled manually by gravity under a waning moon, unfined and unfiltered

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shade lighter than maroon.  The intoxicating nose has crushed berries, stony minerals, warm baking spices, vanilla, melted licorice, earthy underbrush, garrigue and violets.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  The palate has nice focus and outstanding intensity with berries and minerals grabbing hold, slowly allowing the spices and dried herbs to slip through the cracks.  The finish is long and nicely layered with a touch of vanilla and some subtle earthiness adding considerable interest.  This is perfectly balanced and a joy to drink.  An absolutely stunning wine from the under appreciated Bandol region.  (94 pts)

2004 Dupere Barrera Bandol India

 

 

 

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!

 

California Syrah Tasting

 

 

This is from a California Syrah tasting hosted by a friend.  He supplied the first six wines, I provided the last two as a counterpoint to the big, rich, ripe Syrahs we’d be consuming.

 

The first six were to be rated by those in attendance.  Since I only had a couple small tastes of each wine, I will only provide my quick thoughts without a full tasting note or score.  I prefer to spend a few hours with a bottle of wine to give a full assessment.  We knew the wines we’d be tasting, but the wines were decanted and the bottles were hidden until after we had sampled all the wines twice so we could form unbiased opinions.

 

These notes are not meant to look into the future but to provide a snapshot of how they were on this one specific night early in their development.

 

 

 

2009 Torrin Akasha

 

My Impressions

This is a solidly made, full bodied wine that demands a few years in the cellar.  This Paso Robles wine shows the characteristics of a location that gets warm to hot during the day but cools off enough at night to help the wine retain freshness and good acidity.  The wine is deep, dark, inky purple color with loads of black fruit, flowers, smoke, and spice.  This nicely balanced wine has sufficient tannins and acidity to support its size and ripeness level.  On the first pass through the wines this was my favorite, but eventually fell to second.

2009 Torrin Akasha

 

 

 

2010 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard

 

My Impressions

As is generally the winery’s style, this was a massive, full bodied, ripe wine.  The wine is from the Santa Ynez Valley on California’s Central Coast.  The wine was an inky purple color with loads of black and blue fruit, licorice, smoke and spices jumping from the glass.  I fairly easily guessed this wine since it really isn’t my preferred style.  It was big and ripe with solid tannins, but to me the relatively lower level of acidity makes it flabby and a touch syrupy.  My least favorite wine of the night and that opinion seemed to be shared by others since the decanter still had a fair amount of wine in it when most of the others had been emptied.

2010 McPrice Myers Syrah Larner Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin’s Lair

 

My Impressions

This was another deep, dark, inky wine this time from the Sonoma Coast.  This is a fairly tightly wound beast that barely opened up even after being decanted for 4 to 5 hours.  The fruit did show some cooler climate characteristics like violet and some red cherry but it refused to fully open up.  You could sense the power behind the wall of tannins but this will need a few years in the cellar to live up to its full potential.  This was initially my second choice, but its lack of development led it to fall into my third slot.  I’m glad I have this in my cellar, but I won’t even consider opening a bottle for at least 3 to 4 years. The lack of development over a few hours lead me to correctly guess this was the Bedrock.  Their single vineyard Syrahs need a couple years to come together and open up.

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin's Lair

 

 

 

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

 

My Impressions

I feel like a broken record…This Russian River Valley wine was a deep, dark ruby color.  This wine had big berries, pepper, spice, and showed a nice meaty element.  The tannins were fairly solid and with the accompanying acidity provided a solid backbone to easily support the wine’s size.  This wine has very nice balance and opened up very nicely over the course of a couple of hours.  This wine was far and away the most improved wine with additional air.  This was initially my number 3 wine, but upon trying an hour or two later, easily became my wine of the night.  I guessed this was the Carlisle wine immediately after trying it the second time.

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block

 

 

 

2010 Herman Story Syrah White Hawk Vineyard

 

My Impressions

This is another deep, dense, purple wine, this one from Santa Barbara County.  This wine showed nice minerality and dark chocolate notes to go with the solid wall of berries.  There was a load of chewy tannins, but I’d have liked a tad more acidity to help hold the finish together.  This was a well made, full bodied Syrah that was over shadowed by several of the other wines due to its slightly muddled finish.  My number 5 wine based both on the initial taste and a follow up tasting.

2010 Herman Story Syrah White Hawk Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard

 

My Impressions

This Santa Barbara County wine was a deep, dark, ruby to purple color.  The nose on the wine is outstanding with dark berries, minerals, eucalyptus, and a touch of cherry.  This was another tightly wound wine that never really opened up on the palate.  It was full bodied, had very solid tannins, and good acidity but never did come around.  Of the six wines, this one really needs the most cellar time.  I thought this could have been the Jaffurs, more or less by default by eliminating the other wines.  This was my number 4 wine on this night, but I could tell there was something special waiting to be uncaged.

2010 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Anthill Farms Syrah Peters Vineyard

 

My Impressions

This Sonoma Coast Syrah was a deep ruby red color.  The cooler, Sonoma Coast influence was easily noticeable on the nose with a fair amount of cherry coming through as well as white pepper, bacon fat, and stony minerals.  This has more of a medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  After trying the big bruisers, this almost seemed like a delicate Pinot Noir when I tasted it again after the other wines.

2009 Anthill Farms Syrah Peters Vineyard

 

 

 

2008 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

My Impressions

This Mendocino County Syrah was a deep, dark ruby color.  Besides the requisite dark berries, this had a serious smoked meat element on the nose.  Probably because it was the oldest wine in the tasting, it seemed to be the most civilized and open.  This wine had medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  I’m glad I have a few more bottles to open down the road.

2008 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

 

 

***** 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!

 

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