Posts tagged ‘Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra’

Cliffs Wine Picks – My Top 10 Wines of 2013

 

Here are the top wines I sampled or drank in 2013.  It was a hard task since narrowing the list down to only 10 wines since I had tasting notes on well over 500 wines this year.

 

These wines were selected based purely on how much I enjoyed them.  Unfortunately, since most of the wines I open have been in my cellar for a number of years, they are not available to purchase today in the normal retail market.  Some are probably available on the auction sites, like WineBid.  If you are interested in any specific wine, let me know and I can help you track down a bottle.

 

I have another list that will come out in the next week or two of only wines that I purchased in 2013 that cost under $20.

 

 

top10

 

 

10 – 2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi – $50.99

I bought this wine after trying it at a tasting event at a local store.  I liked it at that time, but knew it would be immensely better with some extended cellar time.  I was able to ignore the bottle for the better part of a decade.  It’s time to see if the wait was worthwhile.  I should note, I am generally more of a Barbaresco fan than Barolo.

This is listed at 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a slight brick tint.  The nose on this wine is absolutely stunning, full of black cherries, minerals, roses, violets, mint, licorice, tar, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements take turns strutting their stuff with the savory notes eventually grabbing the show with the fruit providing nice background sweetness.  The finish is very long with some earthiness entering the picture.  No hurry on this one, it improved constantly until the bottle was prematurely empty.  (95 pts)

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

 

 

 

9 – 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $38.00

This will by my first bottle of wine from the winery using grapes from the outstanding Monte Rosso Vineyard.  Owner/wine maker, Morgan Twain-Peterson was able to secure grapes from the same block his father Joel used to create the outstanding wines for his old winery, Ravenswood.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, violets, fresh ground black pepper, toasty oak, vanilla, melted licorice, freshly ground dark roast coffee, and a touch of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, layers of fruit, spice, and savory elements take turns engulfing the taste buds, trying to out do each other.  The finish is extremely long and again reveals new layers every few seconds.  This is obviously on the young side and even though it will last in the cellar through the end of the decade, it is absolutely stunning right now.  (95 pts)

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

8 – 2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35.00

I opened this wine to participate in an online winechat about the wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.  Everyone has heard of Ridge, but there are loads of other wineries in the region making outstanding wines.  As I’ve said in the past, I think Big Basin is one big score from one of the major wine reviewing periodicals away from appearing everyone’s radar.  I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin’s Syrah wines and blends for a few years.  I would highly recommend checking them out.  This is mainly Syrah with a small percentage of Cabernet in the blend. I believe I read this is made up of 6.5 barrels of Syrah and 1 barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The explosive nose is full of blackberries, cassis, smoke, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, melted licorice, vanilla, warm baking spices, and violets.  This is full bodied with moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine grabs hold of your palate unleashing wave after wave of lush fruit, spice, and savory notes in unrelenting layers.  The finish is very long, almost seeming to never end with very nice fruit slowly giving way to dark chocolate and then nice meaty elements and earthiness.  The extra time in the cellar has been rewarded in this case.  There is no hurry on this one, it should hold for at least a few more years.  (95 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

 

7 – 2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon – $34.50

One of my favorite, value priced, Napa Cabernets.  Every vintage Cathy Corison seems to put out a wine that is a lot better than the competition at the same price point.  The winery never seemed to be a media darling, but the changes at the Wine Advocate lead to a new person reviewing the wines, and he seems to appreciate the wines a lot more.  These aren’t wines meant for immediate enjoyment, they need a few years in the cellar to help them transform into something magical.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The nose is one of those I can sit and just smell and be happy, at least for a little while then I have to take a taste.  The rich and sophisticated nose has cassis, cherry, melted licorice, dried herbs, well worn leather, spice box, tobacco, minerals, and just a bit of smoke.  This has a medium body, ripe, mostly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  This has nice, rich and spicy fruit on the palate with dried herbs, tea leaves, and a touch of earthiness adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is very long and lingering with the spicy fruit and dried herbs seeming to last forever.  This was a killer bottle of wine that is in its prime drinking window.  This should last for at least a couple more years in the cellar, but if you have multiple bottles, give one a try now.  (94 pts)

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

6 – 2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley – $30.00

This is quickly turning into one of my favorite wines.  I bought a case and this is the third bottle I have opened.  This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot.  The number in the wine name indicates the percentage of Cabernet Franc in the blend.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The outstanding nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, licorice, baking spices, smoke, tobacco, minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, and cherries.  This had medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate has a wonderful blend of fruit and savory elements with everything in balance and harmonious.  The long, lingering finish has nice spicy cassis and dried herbs with just the right amount of spicy oak adding to the profile without being too obtrusive.  I love this wine.  (95 pts)

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

 

 

 

5 – 2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard (SRP $65.00)

This was a winery supplied sample.

Ferrington Vineyard is home to our only Anderson Valley Chardonnay site as of 2012.  Located near Boonville, on the same side of Hwy 128 as Deer Meadow, Ferrington was originally planted in the late 1960s.  The 70 acre site is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer on decomposed sandstone and clay soils.  In 2010 we entered into a contract to purchase about two tons of Robert Young clone of Chardonnay, and the first vintage yielded just over 100 cases.  Ferrington was purchased by the Schoeneman family in 1997 and it has since become one of the most sought after sites in Anderson Valley.  We gained access to Pinot Noir from this site starting in 2012.

 

Technical info

The grapes were harvested for this 100% Chardonnay on October 18, 2010.  This was barrel fermented and aged sur-lie for 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new.

The final alcohol is 14.6%.

 

Tasting note

The wine is a very light yellow to golden color.  The very exotic and inviting nose has apples, flinty minerals, lemon curd, lime zest, Asian spices, hazelnuts, and a touch of toast.  This has medium body and tart, citrusy acidity.  Bright apples and citrus greet the palate with minerals, spice, hazelnuts pouring in over the top and from all sides.  The finish is very long with the spicy, citrus driven, fruit and spice seeming to never totally fade away, leaving a nutty, lemony note.  This is incredibly young at this time and will improve with some cellar time.  One of the best California Chardonnay wines I’ve ever had the pleasure to drink.  This is stunning.  (95 pts)

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard

 

 

 

4 – 2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man (SRP $35)

This was another winery supplied sample.  All of the wines from Northwest Totem Cellars were outstanding, but this one stood out as having that “something” that made it special.

This is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot from the Columbia Valley.  This has 14% ABV.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, leather, white pepper, minerals, violets, vanilla, dried herbs, and just a touch of cedar.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This wine is delicious on the palate.  Nice berries and cherries start the show but are quickly joined with sweet vanilla, spices, and a touch of dried herbs.  The finish is long and nuanced with layers of fruit and savory notes finally giving way to a nice closing note of dried herbs and cherry.  For a very young Bordeaux blend it is stunning, with perfect balance.  I’m sure this will be better with some cellar time, but it will be hard to resist.  (95 pts)

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

 

 

 

3 – 2008 Saxum Broken Stones – $75.00

Saxum.  There are more expensive wines coming out of California, but is there a more popular mailing list out there?  I remember a glitch in their system allowed people to place their orders before the actual e-mails were even sent.  The wines sold out almost immediately.  Since that time, the wines have gone up in price considerably but still sell out.  This wine is a blend of 79% Syrah, 13% Grenache and 8% Mourvedre.

The wine has 15.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and a wax seal.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The intoxicating nose is full of blackberries, minerals, black pepper, blueberries, dried flowers, toasted Asian spices, roasted herbs and vanilla.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy, mineral driven fruit grabs hold and slowly relents to allow black pepper and roasted herbs to slip though.  The finish is very long and layered with a nice candied violet note coming into the picture.  This is on the young side but absolutely stunning with some air.  (96 pts)

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

 

 

 

2 – 2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – $60.00

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the Napa Valley.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The absolutely stunning nose has cassis, melted licorice, dried herbs, cedar, wild flowers, tobacco, and warm baking spices.  This has medium body, fairly solid silky tannins, and very nice acidity.  This is rich and plush on the palate with cassis and baking spices up front with dried herbs and spicy oak coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long, seeming to never totally disappear and full of rich fruit and spice.  This has the balance to age gracefully for several years but it is absolutely irresistible today.  (96 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

 

 

 

1 – 2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra – $37.00

I had a bit of this wine several months ago at a friend’s house and thought it was outstanding, but didn’t take an official tasting note.  Since I have a few bottles, it seems like a perfect time to open one and spend an evening with it to see how it tastes.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky, purple color.  The spellbinding nose has charred meat, blackberries, smoke, roasted herbs, blueberries, black pepper, vanilla, licorice, minerals, Asian spices, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, ripe and velvety tannins, and good acidity.  The palate on this wine is out of the world with the berries, roasted herbs, and black pepper slowly giving way to spicy, meaty elements and dark chocolate.  The finish is extremely long and highlights the spice, meat, and roasted herbs.  This is the complete package.  Outstanding!  No hurry on this one, it has years of life ahead of it.  (96 pts)

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

 

 

 

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 23, 2013 to Dec 26, 2013

 

 

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

 

 

 

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard – $33.00

This is another of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced.  Thus far, every one has been outstanding.  This one is a Grenache from the Russell Family Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

This has 14.9% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from CottonwoodCanyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

 

I’d made about 3 trips around the booths at the tasting without finding a single good Pinot Noir.  So, being the open minded person that I am (remember I passed him up 3 times), I stopped at the Cottonwood booth.  I was BLOWN away by Norm’s 1990 Santa Maria Pinot Noir.  After a few years of attending every Cottonwood event and asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking, he offered to let come learn the process during the ’97 crush.  I checked sugar levels, picked, crushed, punched down, pressed, filled barrels, and generally moved a bunch of stuff around with fork lifts and pallet jacks!  It was the time of my life… I was totally hooked.  And even though I hadn’t planned it, I ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir.  That was the start of the Loring Wine Company.  What had started out as a dream 15 years earlier was now a reality – I was a winemaker!

 

My Tasting Note

Bright red color with a slight ruby tint.  The comforting nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, raspberries, roasted leafy herbs, licorice, and dried flowers.  This has medium body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is rich and lush with juicy cherries, berries and spice up front with raspberries and white pepper kicking in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with roasted herbs adding some complexity.  This is fairly ripe and juicy but with nice acidity holding everything together.  I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar for too long, but it should drink nicely for at least the next 5 years.  (91 pts)

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2012 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

 

 

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra – $37.00

I was working on my list of my top 10 wines of the year and this wine may find a spot on the list.  I remembered I still had a few bottles in the cellar, I decided to open one for Christmas Eve.

 

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

 

Winery history

In 1990, Roman Bratasiuk embarked on a truly remarkable wine making journey.  His vision: to create single vineyard wines equal to anything in the world.  Quite simply.  Working with old, dry-grown vines and performing every step of the process by hand, Roman sought to redefine the Australian fine wine landscape by solely conveying the imprint a vineyard forges on the varietal expression.  Every year a pragmatic and calculated Clarendon Hills learns a little more about our vineyards and pushes a little further to propel each one of our 100% varietal wines to the pinacle of their capability.

 

Please join Roman and the Clarendon Hills family in celebrating our 19 single vineyard, 100% varietal wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky, purple color.  The spellbinding nose has charred meat, blackberries, smoke, roasted herbs, blueberries, black pepper, vanilla, licorice, minerals, Asian spices, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, ripe and velvety tannins, and good acidity.  The palate on this wine is out of the world with the berries, roasted herbs, and black pepper slowly giving way to spicy, meaty elements and dark chocolate.  The finish is extremely long and highlights the spice, meat, and roasted herbs.  This is the complete package.  Outstanding!  No hurry on this one, it has years of life ahead of it.  (96 pts)

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

 

 

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3 – $23.74

We are BIG fans of nicely aged German Rieslings.  The sugary sweetness these wines show in their youth melds with the citrusy acidity over the years to form a magical elixir that becomes a rich wine with just enough acidity on the back end to leave you grabbing the glass for another sip.

 

This wine has 8.5% alcohol by volume and was sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

As is usual for a lot of the smaller, European wineries, not a lot of information seems to be available on the internet.  I also can’t find anything on CellarTracker for this winery since the 1995 vintage.  This leads me to think it no longer exists.  I can recite Jon Rimmerman’s (from Garagiste Wine) silky prose, but I don’t want this to sound like a sales pitch.  All I will say is, if you like older German Rieslings that have generally been in perfect condition, at really nice prices, check out http://garagiste.com/ and sign up for the list.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow color with a slight golden tint. The rich and inviting nose has apples, white peaches, stony minerals, petrol, white pepper, honey, lime zest, and a touch of pineapple. This has a light to medium body, nice residual sweetness, and good citrus driven acidity to keep it in perfect balance. The finish is very long with the initial sweetness slowly giving way to a nice blast of mouthwatering lemon-lime acidity. At 19 years of age, this still seems to be on the young side. I look forward to enjoying my remaining bottles on the wine’s evolution over the next decade.  (94 pts)

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

1994 Theo Schmitz-Schwaab Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese #3

 

 

For Christmas Eve dinner, we made our traditional dinner.  This is a recipe from the New Orleans based “The Gumbo Shop”.  It is called Crawfish and Pasta with Tasso Cream.  It is very rich and slightly spicy from Cayenne Pepper.

Crawfish and Pasta with Tasso Cream Sauce

 

 

 

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County – $15.38

It has been a few years since I had a bottle of Byron wine.  When I saw this 2012 Pinot Noir on the local store’s shelf for a touch over $15, I decided it was worth a try.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

The Winery

To conserve energy and natural resources, we’ve moved our production to our next door neighbor, Cambria Estate. Within their spacious cellars we’ve been able to reconstruct Byron. We have our own crush pad, our own individual barrel storage rooms and even our prized sorting table. Our focus continues to be high quality, hand-made, small-lot wines from Santa Barbara’s finest vineyards including our Estate Nielson Vineyard.

 

Byron will continue to produce balanced, opulent, and pure wines.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a touch lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The interesting nose has black cherries, raspberries, baking spices, earthy underbrush, white pepper, and violets.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and it has good acidity.  On the palate the tart, spicy fruit jumps out first with nice earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with a slight herbal note coming into the picture.  Not a lot of complexity, but it is a very nice, week night Pinot especially if you can grab it for around $15.  (89 pts)

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

2012 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

 

 

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!

 

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