2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru

2007 Keplinger Grenache N=1

2014 Autonom Rose of Grenache Santa Barbara County

2010 Château Brown Pessac Leognan

 

 

 

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast – $13.42

Courtney Benham is a division of Martin Ray Winery.  Courtney Benham Wines are limited release for special offer to their wine club members but obviously some make it into the hands of the Total Wine stores since I can buy these reasonably priced wines at my local store.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The relaxing nose has black cherries, dry underbrush, white pepper, licorice, Asian spices and wild flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate black cherries, underbrush and white pepper come through on the front end with spices and a floral note coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a black tea note providing some depth.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but it is an easy to drink Pinot at a very attractive price.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast

 

 

 

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard – $36.66

Dornfelder is an extremely rare grape variety in the United States.  Dornfelder is a dark skinned grape that was created by August Herold in Germany.  Dornfelder is a cross between two grapes that are generally unknown in this country, Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe.  Visit Wikipedia for a full rundown on this grape and its’ origin.  Dornfelder received varietal protection and was released for cultivation in 1979.

 

The wine is a deep purple, almost black.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, licorice, baking spices, scorched earth and dusty minerals.  This has medium body with soft tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate tart berries, licorice and baking spices dominate the front end with minerals and plums coming in later.  The finish has nice length with plums and spices carrying the load.  This doesn’t offer much in the complexity department but for a sparsely planted grape it provides a nice mouthful of fruit and spice.  This is much lighter on the palate then the nose lead me to expect.  This is a novelty grape at this point, we’ll have to wait to see if it can gain a foothold in California.  This doesn’t offer a lot of QPR at this point, perhaps an increase in acreage would increase the supply but at this point sampling a Dornfelder from California will cost more than it should.  This has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist-off closure.  (86 pts)

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard

2015 Loring Wine Company Dornfelder Huber Vineyard

 

 

 

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru – $28.57

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate 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.

 

This 100% Chardonnay was aged for 5 years on its lees.

 

The wine is a light golden yellow color with several steady steams of pinpoint sized bubbles.  The alluring nose has apples, yeasty bread, lemon zest, dusty minerals, roasted nuts and spring flowers.  This has light to medium body with great acidity.  On the palate tart apples, lemon zest and minerals quickly grab control with yeasty bread and a touch of nuttiness coming in later.  The lingering finish adds a nice floral note.  The citrusy crispness in this bubbly will keep you reaching for another sip.  A very good bargain.  This has 12.0% alcohol.  (92 pts)

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru

Bernard Remy Champagne Grand Cru

 

 

 

2007 Keplinger Grenache N=1 – $70

Here’s the background on the wine’s name, N=1:

Always game for experimentation, we relented, selecting one 600L barrel to age for another year. This wine is the first iteration of this experiment, hence the name “N=1,” and it will only be repeated in truly exceptional vintages.

 

Production was a minuscule 60 cases, luckily 3 bottles were able to find a home in my cellar.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The stunning nose has cherries, white pepper, warm baking spices, minerals, roasted herbs, cola and dried flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the tart cherries, white pepper and spices jump out first with roasted herbs and cola coming in on the back end.  The finish is extremely long and nicely layered.  This is absolutely stunning today but it still seems to have more buried deep inside.  Enjoy it with plenty of air or let it sleep in the cellar for a couple more years.  This would fit in nicely as a sleeper in a high end CdP tasting.  The wine has 15% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (95 pts)

2007 Keplinger Grenache N=1

2007 Keplinger Grenache N=1

 

 

 

2014 Autonom Rose of Grenache Santa Barbara County – $25

Total production was 900 bottles, bottles not cases.

 

The wine is a deep pink salmon color.  The bright and lively nose has cherries, white peach, crushed stones, strawberries, orange blossoms, dry earth and a touch of leafy green herbs.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and seems to be totally dry.  On the palate bright red fruit and crushed stones come through on the front end with orange blossoms and a hint of leafy herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with strawberries and a touch of dry earth providing depth.  This tastes very nice.  Even though I held on to it for an extra year, it isn’t coming across as anything but fresh and crisp.  I liked this wine.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2014 Autonom Rose of Grenache Santa Barbara County

2014 Autonom Rose of Grenache Santa Barbara County

 

 

 

2010 Château Brown Pessac Leognan – $30.30

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate 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.

 

This is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot.  For some reason, I think this is a fantastic name for a winery, right up there with Vine Cliff  🙂

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The invigorating nose has cassis, plums, dusty minerals, cedar, tobacco, cherries, dark roast coffee beans, baking spices, violets and dry earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Cassis, plums, cedar and minerals take control of the palate on the front end with baking spices, cherries and coffee beans coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with dry earth and a nice floral note providing good depth.  This is drinking very nicely today with some air but another year or two in the cellar will be rewarded.  This is everything you could want in a lower cost Bordeaux.  I grew to like this more and more as the evening wore on, glad I have a few more bottle in the cellar to follow over the next 8 to 10 years.  This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2010 Château Brown Pessac Leognan

2010 Château Brown Pessac Leognan

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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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 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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