Posts tagged ‘cosentino winery’

Cliffs Wine Picks – Oct 4, 2013 to Oct 6, 2013

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

2008 Core Grenache Reserve Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard

2005 Torbreck Shiraz The Struie

2009 One Time Spaceman Reserve Airspace James Berry Vineyard

2003 Cosentino Winery Legends Meritage

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – $25.00

In my opinion, the Loring appellation wines are some of the best bargains out there when it comes to quality California Pinot Noir.  The Loring appellation wines are, at least to me, dialed down a notch compared to their single vineyard siblings.  This and the lower prices, under $25 make them a nice way to kick up a week night dinner several notches without breaking the bank.

 

This has 14.7% alcohol and is closed via a Stelvin+ screw cap.

 

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 Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

 

For more information, to buy wine, or to join the mailing list, visit their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color.  The alluring nose has raspberries, warm baring spices, cola, cherries, wild flowers, plums, eucalyptus, and some earthiness.  This has medium body, soft tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the baking spices and fruit jump out and take hold slowly allowing a touch of eucalyptus and earthiness to break through on the back end.  The finish has good length and adds some minerality to the fruit and spice.  (91 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

 

 

2008 Core Grenache Reserve Santa Barbara Highlands – $20.59

The regular 2008 Core Santa Barbara Grenache found a spot on my Top 10 QPR Wines of 2012.   The reserve adds a fair amount of savory/spicy elements leaving it nicely positioned somewhere between a normal California Grenache and their French Rhone brethren.

 

Core is quickly becoming one of my “go to” wineries when I want something a little different.  Dave Corey is making several straight varietal wines that are outstanding, but he also shines with his blends.   I’ve been a big fan of the wines Dave Corey produces for quite a while.  These highly expressive wines are top notch and very reasonably priced.  I highly recommend tracking down some Core wines and settling in for a couple hours of pleasure.

 

This has 14.9% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Dave Corey’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in Entomology and Plant Physiology from Kansas State University, which was completed in 1995.

 

Prior to entering the wine industry in 1996, Dave worked in Salinas and the Central Valley in agricultural fields including cole crops, cotton, almonds, citrus, walnuts, kiwi, table grapes, apples and stone fruit.  His first position in the wine industry was as a Pest Control Advisor with Cambria Winery and Vineyards and later at Kendall-Jackson Vineyards of Santa Barbara County.

 

Dave left Kendall Jackson Vineyards in 1999 to begin Vital Vines, a viticultural company providing technical support for vineyard property owners, vineyard managers and winemaking personnel in the promotion of sustainable agriculture.  He has worked with clients that include Laetitia, Barnwood, Beckman, Melville, Stolpman, Gainey, Zaca Mesa, Sea Smoke, Le Bon Climat, Sine Qua Non, Rideau, Carhartt, Rusack, Westerly, Fiddlestix, Vogelzang, Andrew Murray, Evergreen, Arita Hills and Royal Oaks.

 

With a major commitment and a second mortgage, Dave gradually decreased his vineyard consulting work to focus on vineyard sourcing, winemaking duties and winery direct sales for CORE wine company which he started in 2001 with his wife, Becky.  Dave passionately continues working in the same capacity today in addition to several new wine projects with family members.  He can also be found pouring wine for customers at the CORE wine company tasting room in Old Orcutt, California.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red, much lighter at the edge. The very nice nose has cherries, dried herbs, black raspberries, baking spices, black pepper, and a touch of licorice. This has a medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity. On the palate this initially tastes like cherry pie, then the dried herbs and more spice kick in adding depth and balancing out the fruity elements. This has very nice length with the spicy cherries and dried herbs very slowly fading. This is a very nice California Grenache that may not appeal to someone looking for a Southern Rhone styled wine, but for the rest, this will have considerable appeal.  (91 pts)

2008 Core Grenache Reserve Santa Barbara Highlands

2008 Core Grenache Reserve Santa Barbara Highlands

 

 

2005 Torbreck Shiraz The Struie – $37.99

I’ve been a fan of some of the lower end Torbreck wines for a number of years first getting hooked on a bottle of their Woodcutter Shiraz a number of years ago.

 

When the local wine store brought in this wine and put it on the shelf at a great price, I had to grab several bottles.  I had one not long after purchase and decided this need some extended cellar time.  It’s been well over 4 years, so it’s time to see how it is progressing.

 

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

 

The Winery

Torbreck Vintners was founded by David Powell in 1994.  The roots go back to 1992 when Dave, who was then working at Rockford, began to discover and clean up a few sections of dry-grown old vines.

 

Much more information on this prestigious winery is available on their website.

 

The Wine

This 100% Shiraz is a blend of grapes from Eden Valley (46 year old vines) & Barossa Valley (64-110 year old vines).

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The stunning nose has blackberries, cherry, violets, smoke, Asian spices, minerals black pepper, black brined olives, dark bittersweet chocolate and licorice.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy berries and black pepper lead things off with minerals and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long with a nice mix of fruit and savory elements.  This is a perfectly balanced Barossa Shiraz.  (94 pts)

2005 Torbreck Shiraz The Struie

2005 Torbreck Shiraz The Struie

 

 

We paired the Torbreck Shiraz with a family favorite on a cool, rainy, Fall day, some Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes all covered in a creamy gravy.  It’s nothing fancy but delicious.

Chicken Fried Steak dinner

 

 

 

2009 One Time Spaceman Reserve Airspace James Berry Vineyard – $49.39

I’m not really having much luck finding the break down of the blend used in this wine.  I’m sure it’s out there somewhere but I haven’t found it.  I guess all you really need to know is the grapes came from Saxum’s James Berry Vineyard.  The winemaker should know what to do with the grapes since his “day job” is Saxum’s Assistant Winemaker.

 

The winemaker and One Time Spaceman is Mark Adams, a rising star in my opinion.  Besides the One Time Spaceman label, he has another label called Ledge.  I recommend doing a Google search for them and joining the mailing list.  Mark is also the assistant winemaker for a small Paso Robles winery you may have heard of, Saxum.  In his spare time, he is also a musician.  Check out his latest offering, Panjanatan, I know it’s available on Amazon, that’s where I bought it, and probably other places as well.

 

The wine has 15.5% alcohol and is closed with a natural cork and sealed by a nice wax coating.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The enticing nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, dried herbs, licorice, roasted herbs, meat juices, baking spices, dark chocolate and violets.  This has a full body, solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spices are joined by solid minerality up front with herbs and chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length but gets a bit thin and ragged, with the tannins getting a bit chalky and drying.  This is very young and should improve with some cellar time, for the time being, let this one sleep since it doesn’t provide a lot of drinking pleasure at this time.  (86 pts now, check in again in a couple years for an accurate read)

2009 One Time Spaceman Reserve Airspace James Berry Vineyard

2009 One Time Spaceman Reserve Airspace James Berry Vineyard

 

 

2003 Cosentino Winery Legends Meritage – $29.99

Cosentino was a winery we always visited when we were in wine country.  After suffering through some hard times, the winery was eventually sold.  I, for one, am hoping the new owners will get the winery back on course.

 

The “Legends” wine was a joint project between Mitch Cosentino and Larry Bird.  This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc using grapes sourced from various vineyards in Oakville, St. Helena, and Carneros.

 

This has 14.4% alcohol and is closed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, cassis, dried herbs, tobacco, minerals, cedar and baking spices.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  Nice spicy fruit and dried herbs great the palate with a touch of cedar coming in late.  The finish has nice length but does lose a bit of oomph.  A very nice wine that is just a touch short of being memorable.  (89 pts)

2003 Cosentino Winery Legends Meritage

2003 Cosentino Winery Legends Meritage

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

August 6, 2012 to August 9, 2012

 

2007 Cosentino Winery Cabernet Franc – $9.49

I used to be a big fan of Cosentino Winery but they fell on hard financial times a couple years ago and the winery and name changed hands.  I haven’t had a chance to try their newer releases so I can’t state an opinion of how the new Cosentino is doing.  I hope they are either back on track or at least headed in the right direction.  This was purchased on a blow out sale from my local wine store while the winery/distributor were sorting out their problems.

The wine was decanted for about an hour.  This is a deep ruby color, much lighter at the rim.  On the very nice nose there are blackberries, dried herbs, cedar, licorice, dark chocolate, and some cherry.  The wine has medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice fruit and dried herbs on the palate with some spicy oak in the background.  Decent length on the finish where the fruit fades fairly quickly but the dried herbs and spicy oak linger for a bit.  This is a nice Cabernet Franc that was an absolute steal at under $10, making it a perfect week night wine.  Not one to age too long, but no big hurry.  (88 pts)

 

 

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $16.00

Has there ever been a better $16.00 Zinfandel produced by a major California winery?  Wines like this, at this price point, are the main reason no one drops off of the Carlisle mailing list.  I’ve had this wine several times over the last few years and it has never disappointed.  I’d recommend getting on the mailing list but it is full.  I’m sure the waiting list is even longer since Mike Officer, the owner/winemaker, isn’t going to be increasing his production enough to supply everyone.  Like I stated earlier, very few people drop off of the mailing list allowing new people to join the fun.

This is a deep, dark, opaque ruby to purple color.  Enticing nose with brambly berries, vanilla, black pepper, scorched earth, dark chocolate, melted licorice, a faint floral note, and some eucalyptus.  Fairly full bodied with nice, integrated, ripe tannins and good acidity.  Big, ripe, and mouth filling flavors coat the palate.  The spicy, peppery berries lead the way with vanilla and a bit of oak; some dark chocolate comes in on the back end providing additional depth.  The wine has very nice length on the finish with the peppery berries, chocolate, and some earthy elements lingering.  This is an incredible value at $16, without a doubt one of the best under $20 zinfandels out there.  (93 pts)

 

 

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.00

I’m going to open a bottle of Bedrock wine to celebrate the arrival of their latest e-mail offering.  I haven’t had one of these in almost a year.  I really liked my previous bottles, rating it 91 pts.  It’s looking like a good day for dinner on the deck, which would be perfect with this wine.  I’ll have to see how this pairs with some seared scallops, but I have high expectations.

A light golden straw color.  Apples, lemon zest, peach, fresh cut grass, flinty minerality, grapefruit, and some baking spices on the fresh and clean nose.  Light to medium body with tart, mouthwatering acidity.  Big citrus and herbal elements on the palate.  White fruit and a bit of peach give way to a load of citrus with the herbal notes and minerals coming in on the back end.  Long, lingering finish with the citrus and herbal notes.  An outstanding California Sauvignon Blanc.  (92 pts)

This paired very nicely with a dinner of large seared scallops, with raw, fresh carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, and cherry tomatoes with a spicy, Creole dipping sauce.

 

 

2008 Frimaio Chianti Classico – $18.99

After several weeks of dry weather with above normal temperatures, today is cold and wet.  Light rain and an afternoon temperature of only 62 makes me think of pasta for dinner.  We made a large batch of baked ziti in the Spring and froze some for quick and easy dinners.  Today feels like a baked ziti and garlic bread type of day.  Off to Cellar Tracker to find a nice Italian wine to pair with the ziti.  I chose this wine since I haven’t had one in several months and we had liked it the last time we had a bottle.

Deep ruby to maroon color.  There are cherries, wet earth, raspberries, licorice, dried herbs, blackberries, and a slight floral note on the very fragrant nose.  The wine has medium body with ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  This is bigger and darker than most Chianti Classicos with nice, big fruit, spice, and earth on the palate.  Decent finish with the fruit and tart acidity balancing very nicely, just wish it was a bit longer.  Overall, not your usual lighter bodied sangiovese, but still with the acidity to pair up with a nice meat sauce.  (89 pts)

I bought his during a close out sale at the local wine store, and feel like it was a good bargain for south of $20.  This won’t be mistaken for a high end Chianti Classico, but is perfectly acceptable for a Thursday night dinner.

 

Here’s what dinner looked like, it tasted fantastic.  We generally make a very large batch  of the baked ziti and cut it into 4″ x 4″ cubes once it cools down.  We wrap each chunk individually and freeze them for quick weeknight dinners.  The garlic bread sticks are a store bought, frozen brand we like.  I doctor them up by adding a bit of real butter, garlic powder, and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

 

 

Quick Question

Do you have a preferred publication or website to help find information on a new wine or a wine you see mentioned on a website?  Parker’s Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Tanzer’s IWC, RhoneReport, Pinot Report, etc.  I know we all value our own opinion the most, but I’m talking about a wine you’ve never tasted.  How do you decide to pull the trigger on an offer from a flash sale site, or large store’s e-mail offer?

Personally, my order would be in this sequence Steve Tanzer/Josh Raynolds, Jeb Dunnuck’s Rhone Report, Tim Fish from Wine Spectator, Greg Walter’s Pinot Report, a few Cellar Tracker users whose palates I trust, Robert Parker, then the rest.

 

Rants from Manfred Krankl of SQN

In his latest offer Manfred Krankl, offered up “5 Rants”, any opinions?  Agree or disagree with Manfred on these?  Some of these were fairly long winded and hard to distill down to a sentence or two.

1 – “Yes we are growing fruit in a very hot area, but we have such huge diurnal temperature swings that it balances out and that way we also preserve acidity.”  Do your think hot days and cool nights help make a good wine?  Manfred doesn’t think it does.

2 – ‘Old vines always make better wine than young vines.”  We all know “old vines” or “vieilles vignes” are meaningless, non-regulated terms but do you think wines made from wine from a “lazy-assed” grower and old vines are inherently going to be better than wines made from young vines grown by a “smart, caring, and industrious” grower?

3 – “Our soil is 600 million years old.”  This rant seems to run in a circle but seems to be pointed at a grower in Australia.  A closing comment related to finding a whale bone in the vineyard seems to point to a specific vineyard in Paso Robles.

4 – “Our vineyard is so great because we have such wonderfully well drained soils.”  Manfred feels that “well drained soil” is absolutely meaningless in California since most of the time they get ZERO rain from mid April through September and quite often through October or November.

5 – “Terroir”  This rant is very long winded and hard to paraphrase.  Manfred feels terroir is a term sometimes used to gloss over wine flaws or to highlight a wine without “a fingerprint of its maker.”

To me, most of these “rants” seem to point to a winemaker who makes wine from warm but not hot areas with young vines, in new, valley floor vineyards with the wine maker’s fingerprints all over the finished product, who doesn’t like other wineries getting scores that equal or surpass the ones they receive, and to justify high prices.

 

Bedrock Wine Co. Allocation

This is an outstanding winery and a real challenge.  I joined the mailing list go get Morgan’s big red wines but I’m finding myself being sucked in by his whites.  This is not a put down of the Zinfandel, Syrah, and “Heritage” reds but rather me giving them the credit they deserve with the class of their whites.  I’d love to grab my entire allocation, but I’m going to have to leave some on the table for anyone not offered something they want or for new people to join the list.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

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