Posts tagged ‘Domaine Lafage’

Cliffs Wine Picks – My Top 10 Value Wines of 2013

 

top10

 

QPR Stands for Quality to Price Ratio.  These are the wines that represented the highest quality and lowest prices.

 

Here are the top QPR wines I had in 2013.  I selected only bottles of wine that I purchased in 2013.  Will all (or any) of these wines be available in your area?  Good question.  The short answer is, all won’t be available, but one or two may be sitting on a shelf, especially the ones I bought towards the end of the year.  A good source for finding wines not available in your area is the winery’s website and wine-searcher.com.

 

Instead of using the price I paid, which may have been a close out price, I am using the “Community Average value” from Cellar Tracker.  This means, you may actually find the wine for a lower price.  I just needed a good way to show an actual price.  It would be stupid for me to show a wine with a suggested price of $50, just because I bought one bottle at a blowout for $19.99.

 

The Cellar Tracker “Community average value” can be skewed if there were a lot of bottles bought at a sale price.  That means, I’m sorry if you can find the wine but it is considerably higher than the price I have listed.  There are a lot of factors that could cause the average price to drop below the current cost, volume discounts, special offers, sales, etc.

 

To be in the Top 10, a wine’s “Community Average Value” had to be under $20.

 

QPR

 

 10 – 2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese – $10.66

This wine was offered by the local wine store via a weekly e-mail offer.  It’s hard for me to pass on a German Riesling, especially one I can get for under $8.00.  As expected, I grabbed a case without even trying it.  I worked at the store for a few hours yesterday, and there was still about a half bottle sitting under the wine bar that had been opened for over 24 hours.  The wine was room temperature so I wasn’t expecting too much when I tried a taste.  I was very pleasantly surprised the wine was outstanding.  I took the bottle home so I could sample it at a better serving temperature.  I also happily took my case home and stashed it in my wine cellar.  My cost for this wine was only $7.92 a bottle.

 

My Tasting Note

This note is from a bottle that had been opened for over a day and left over night on the counter with the cork stuck back in the bottle.  The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very appealing and inviting nose has apples, honey, orange zest, Spring flowers, and a touch of petrol.  This has medium body, a fair amount of residual sugar and very nice, crisp acidity that keeps the sweetness in line.  On the palate the honeyed apples and citrus zest coat the palate but is kept from getting cloying by the citrusy acidity.  The finish is long and again full of apples, honey, and citrus.  If you like an off dry Riesling, this is top notch.  This has marvelous balance that will allow it to easily cellar for several years.  (90 pts)

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

 

 

9 – 2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc – $16.42

This was a new wine for me.  This was one of several wines the local wine store brought in just for a blow out sale.  I’ve been a big fan of Italian Barbera wines for a number of years.  These wines generally have nice, bright, red fruit with some spicy earthiness and a boat load of acidity.  These are generally one of the most food friendly wines around.  I only paid $14.24 for this wine making it an even better value.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a touch darker than ruby red.  The elegant nose has black raspberries, melted licorice, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, a touch of mint, minerals, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has rich, spicy berries up front with more spice, mint and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with the fruit turning a bit more tart and a faint herbal note coming into the picture.  This is a bit fuller body and darker fruit than your usual Barbera.  This would be good with a big, meaty pasta sauce, but may be too big and have too little acidity for a lighter marinara sauce.  This is different, but enjoyable.  (90 pts)

2008 Tre Donne Barbera d'Alba d'Arc

2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc

 

 

8 – 2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.87

I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines.  If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements.  Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar.  The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process.  Drink over the next few years and be happy.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farrah

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farrah

 

 

7 – 2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard – $15.38

This is another wine I found on the shelf at the local wine store.  In my opinion, even after several fantastic vintages, the wines from the Southern Rhone represent fantastic values.  One of these days enough people are going to recognize these marvelous wines and cause price increases, until that time, I will be stocking up.  This is a blend of 50% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan.  My purchase price of $9.49 made this a steal.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, smoke, dried herbs, road tar, vanilla, wild flowers, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  Nice red and black fruit and a load of minerals coat the palate with some dried herbs, chocolate, and a bit of earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length again highlighting the mineral laden fruit and subtle earthiness.  This is drinking very nicely today and should provide a lot of good drinking over the next four to six years.  (90 pts)

2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard

2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard

 

 

6 – 2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes – $14.25

Generally I am not a point chaser, but when the local wine store puts a new wine of the shelf with a “talker” noting a 93 point score from Robert Parker and the wine is under $15, I had to grab a bottle.  This is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was aged in concrete.  This will be my first exposure to this wine and if it approaches the level of the Wine Advocate review, I’ll be stocking up.  My purchase price for this wine was a little better than the Cellar Tracker average price, I only paid $13.29.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  The clean and refreshing nose has cherries, baking spices, eucalyptus, forest floor, tobacco, blackberries, and wild flowers.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has spicy fruit, a touch of eucalyptus, and some earthiness.  The finish has nice length and closes with a touch of dark chocolate.  Not a lot of complexity but a very tasty glass of wine to enjoy over the next few years.  (90 pts)

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

 

 

5 – 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta – $9.75

I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding buying this wine, but it was probably based on a recommendation from a friend at the local wine store.  After doing a little digging, I’m thankful for the rec since it seems like it should be a good bottle of wine.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The exotic nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, Asian spices, dried herbs, licorice, and violets.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there is a load of berries up front but with enough savory elements on the midpalate and back end to keep this from being all about the fruit.  The finish ratchets up the minerality and dried herbs with the fruit being pushed into the background.  This is in a real nice place but there is no reason to think it won’t hold for at least a couple years.  (90 pts)

2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta

2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta

 

 

4 – 2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine – $14.73

The local store brought some of this in when the distributor was looking to clear out some wines.  I was able to get several bottles of this gem for under $10 a bottle.  Now it’s time to sample a bottle to see how long to save the remaining bottles.  My purchase price of only $9.49 a bottle made this an even bigger QPR Superstar.

 

This is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep violet color.  The dark and meaty nose has black cherries, minerals, charred meat, blackberries, licorice, potpourri, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the minerals, earth, and fruit flavors slowly give way to meaty elements.  The finish has nice length but gets a touch thin.  This is still very young and will reward another year or two in the cellar.  The time in the cellar should add some complexity and help fill out the finish.  (90 pts)

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine

 

  

 

3 – 2012 Onesta Cinsault Rosé – $18.00

This Cinsault based Rosé is a blend of 50% saignée and 50% from grapes picked specifically for the Rosé.  Saignée is simply the process of draining some of the juice out of the tank after limited skin contact.  This method is utilized to increase the body and concentration of the remaining red wine in the tank.

 

There were 300 cases produced of this wine and the alcohol is 13.5%.

 

To read more about Onesta, visit this link here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pink to salmon color.  The outstanding nose has cherries, strawberries, candied ginger, minerals, spice, and a slight herbal note as well as a slight hint of toast.  This has medium body, nice richness, and crisp acidity.  On the palate the fresh, crisp fruit shares the spotlight with nice minerals, ginger, and a nice herbal note.  The finish is long and lingering with some nice spice and the herbal note hanging around.  It seems like at least some whole clusters were utilized to add the nice herbal note which didn’t come from under ripe fruit.  This was my favorite wine from the tasting by a fairly wide margin.  (91 pts)

2012 Onesta Cinsault Rose

2012 Onesta Cinsault Rose

 

 

2 – 2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris – $17.87

This wine was supplied to me by the SIP Certified organization for me to comment on during an online, Twitter based WineChat.  For more information on the outstanding efforts of SIP (Sustainability in Practice) please visit them at:  SIP Certified

 

This bottle was my introduction to Claiborne & Churchill Vintners.  We are big fans of the dry, Oregon Pinot Gris based wines as well as the ones from the Alsace region in France.  I’m looking forward to trying this one from California’s CentralCoast.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellow with a golden tint.  The fresh smelling nose has apples, spices, melon, citrus zest, fresh Spring flowers, and a healthy dollop of minerals.  The wine is dry with a light to medium body and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine is dry but shows nice ripe and rich fruit with good citrusy acidity.  The long finish is full of nice fruit and spice.  This is a very nicely balanced wine.  Don’t serve this one too cold, cool room temperature is best.  One of the better Pinot Gris wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.  This is a SIP Certified wine, which stands for “Sustainability in Practice”.  (92 pts)

2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris

2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris

 

 

1 – 2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio – $19.34

Every once in a while you have to grab a bottle based on a score.  Robert Parker gave this wine 95 points and the local store had a couple bottles for just a touch over $16.  Like I said, the local store “had” a few bottles.  They were rescued and placed in a new adoptive home, my wine cellar.  This is probably pretty young, but I have to check in to get an early read on where it may go in the future.  Another steal for me since I only paid $16.06 a bottle.

 

This has 15% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberry liqueur, blueberries, minerals, dying wood embers, scorched earth, baking spices, violets, and a touch of vanilla.  This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the dark berries and spice coat the palate slowly allowing some earthiness, minerals, and a floral note to break through.  The finish is long and nicely layered.  This is on the young side but it opened nicely after about 45 minutes.  (93 pts)

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

 

  

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 – Oct 14, 2013 to Oct 17, 2013

 

 

2009 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos

2010 Cline Cellars Pinot Noir Cool Climate

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Domaine Lafage Maury Sec Kerbuccio Chateau Saint-Roch

 

 

See information below about the chance to win two passes to the upcoming Napa Valley Film Festival (value $500) as well as two invitations to a VIP kick-off party and a sneak preview screening of August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts from Benchmark Wine Group.

 

 

2009 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos – $11.39

This Spanish Garnacha (Grenache) is a perennial best buy that always over delivers.  If you are looking for a classically structured, old world style Grenache, this isn’t it.  If you want a wine loaded with fruit and spice, grab a bottle, you will love this one.  This could be slipped into a tasting of California wines that cost a lot more and not stick out as a weak link.

 

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

 

The Winery

Our origins go back to 1958, the year the Cooperative of Borja was founded. This is where Borsao originated as a brand. Some years later, the co-operatives of Pozuelo and Tabuenca joined Borja, adding their resources and –most importantly- their vineyards.

 

This happened in the year 2001, and the new company was called Bodegas Borsao S.A., established as a limited company. Its 620 members became shareholders and a management team was appointed to shake the foundations of the winery: starting with the grape sourcing scheme and following with a refurbishment of the winemaking facilities.

 

Experience, resources and means combined with the potential of the vineyards of the 3 wine cellars, enabling the development of a new work philosophy that has given Borsao international recognition and prestige.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color. The very inviting nose has raspberries, smoke, vanilla, baking spices, cherries, fresh ground espresso beans, white pepper, and some dried herbs. This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity. On the palate the fruit and spice lead off with white pepper, dried herbs, and the coffee coming in later. The finish has nice length with a dark chocolate note joining the party. A very nice wine and an incredible value.  (91 pts)

2009 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos

2009 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos

 

 

2010 Cline Cellars Pinot Noir Cool Climate – $13.52

I’ve been a fan of the value price wines from Cline for a number of years.  I generally grab a few bottles of their Zinfandels or wines made from Rhone grapes.  This will be my first Pinot Noir from Cline.

 

This wine is 13.5% alcohol and is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

The Winery

In the latter part of the 1800s, Oakley, Contra Costa County was a booming farming community with thousands of acres of orchards and healthy vineyards.  Fred Cline’s maternal grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi of pump and spa fame, called this place home.  On summer visits to his grandparents, Fred learned both the love of agricultural life and the mysteries of vinifying grapes into wine.  These lessons led Fred to obtain a degree in Agriculture Management from U.C. Davis.  In 1982, with an inheritance from his grandfather, Fred founded Cline Cellars near Oakley, California.  Here, he preserved and restored many ancient vine sites to their rightful reign as premier California wine lands.

 

In 1991, Fred and his wife Nancy relocated the winery from Oakley to the Carneros region of Sonoma County on a historic 350-acre estate with new vineyards and facilities.  While much of the cool Carneros region is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, Fred pioneered the planting of Rhône varietals including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne.

 

Over the years, Fred’s innovation has consistently resulted in some of northern California’s most distinctive Rhône-style wines and intense, flavorful Zinfandels, many with 90+ point ratings from Wine Spectator. Wine & Spirits called our Ancient Vines Mourvèdre “one of the top 100 values,” and in 2011 Robert Parker Jr. wrote in the Wine Advocate, “this is the finest portfolio of value-priced wines from Cline Cellars that I have tasted to date.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a notch or two lighter than ruby red.  The inviting nose has cherries, smoke, dry earth, baking spices, plums, wild flowers, roasted herbs and underbrush.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and good acidity.  On the palate tart, spicy cherries and earthy elements jump to the forefront, eventually allowing roasted herbs and a floral note to poke through.  The finish has decent length with the savory elements dominating and the fruit in the background providing nice sweetness.  A very nice, refined, lighter bodied Pinot Noir.  (89 pts)

2010 Cline Cellars Pinot Noir Cool Climate

2010 Cline Cellars Pinot Noir Cool Climate

 

 

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon – $19.00

Freemark Abbey was the only winery to have two bottles of wine in the 1976 “Judgment in Paris” tasting that put California on the world’s wine map.  After a few lean years, I think the winery has righted the boat and are again producing very nice, bargain priced wines.

 

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

 

Winery history

In 1967, seven partners purchased Freemark Abbey, setting the stage for a new era of creativity.  The winery earned the nickname the “University of Freemark” due to the sheer number of innovations and significant winemakers that emerged from our cellars.

 

In 1976, wine expert Steven Spurrier conducted a legendary blind tasting in Paris – pitting the upstart wines of California against the establishment of France.  Of the 12 American wineries chosen to compete, only Freemark Abbey had two wines represented – a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon.  In an upset that shocked the wine world, California wines won every category of the tasting, putting Napa Valley firmly on the world stage.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby red color. The very comforting nose has cassis, warm baking spices, tobacco, dried herbs, plum, licorice, and a touch of smoke. This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity. The palate features bright and juicy berries, baking spices, dried herbs and a touch of oak. The finish has nice length with the berries and dried herbs joined by a touch of excess spicy oak. I would be nice if the touch of extra oak would integrate, but I really don’t see that happening. No hurry on this one, enjoy it over the next several years. This was a steal for $19.  (90 pts)

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

2011 Domaine Lafage Maury Sec Kerbuccio Chateau Saint-Roch – $16.06

Every once in a while you have to grab a bottle based on a score.  Robert Parker gave this wine 95 points and the local store had a couple bottles for just a touch over $16.  Like I said, the local store “had” a few bottles.  They were rescued and placed in a new adoptive home, my wine cellar.  This is probably pretty young, but I have to check in to get an early read on where it may go in the future.

 

This has 15% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery (from Import’s page)

One of the oldest viticultural areas of France, vines in the Roussillon were cultivated by the Romans, and perhaps even before that.  With some of the most dramatic topography in France, many of the zones are composed of extremely steep hillsides – resembling the Priorat in Spain in many ways.

 

One of the most sought-after winemakers of Europe at the moment, Jean-Marc Lafage lends his expertise with Southern European varietals to several top estates in both France and Spain (he makes Evodia with Eric Solomon among other custom cuvee projects) and also in South America. However, his best work is perhaps at home at his estate in the hills of the Roussillon with his wife, Eliane, also a highly accomplished winemaker.

 

More information is available here, on Eric Solomon’s site.

 

My Tasting Note

The is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberry liqueur, blueberries, minerals, dying wood embers, scorched earth, baking spices, violets, and a touch of vanilla.  This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the dark berries and spice coat the palate slowly allowing some earthiness, minerals, and a floral note to break through.  The finish is long and nicely layered.  This is on the young side but it opened nicely after about 45 minutes.  (93 pts)

2011 Domaine Lafage Maury Sec Kerbuccio Chateau Saint-Roch

2011 Domaine Lafage Maury Sec Kerbuccio Chateau Saint-Roch

 

 

Napa Valley Film Festival

Are you interested in attending the Napa Valley Film Festival?  The festival runs from November 13 through 17.

 

Oh, almost forgot, how does attending the event for free sound?  To celebrate being a sponsor of the event, Benchmark Wine Group is giving away a very nice package to one lucky person.  Enter by October 31st for your chance to win.

 

The Napa-based company is offering one lucky winner two Festival Passes to the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), worth a $500 value; two private invitations to the Benchmark Opening Night VIP kick-off party; and exclusive access to the sneak preview screening of ‘August: Osage County’, starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

 

Benchmark Wine Group will be hosting an exclusive Opening Night VIP kick-off party on Wednesday, November 13 and a winemaker tasting with Todd Alexander of Bryant and Bettina on Friday, November 15.  NVFF Patrons and special guests will be invited to join Benchmark Wine Group at the Michael Holmes Gallery at Riverfront, 606 Main Street, from 8 pm to 10 pm Wednesday to launch the week’s festivities.  Every guest Wednesday will be entered into a raffle for a chance to buy a bottle of 2001 Château Haut-Brion for $1; taste magnums of 1983 Pétrus, 1966 Château Margaux, and 2003 Diamond Creek; and enjoy food catered by Morimoto Napa.

 

For more information, click here.

 

To view the official rules and to enter, click here.

 

A video about the event from my bud, Amy Payne, is available by clicking here.

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – May 10, 2013 to May 12, 2013

 

 

2008 Schild Estate Shiraz

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heirloom

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

2003 Château Pontet-Canet

 

 

2008 Schild Estate Shiraz – $19.00

 

My comments

This has been a very erratic bottle, a couple bottles have been very nice, almost worthy of the lofty position it was anointed by Wine Spectator, this was number 7 on the Wine Spectator, Top 100 Wines of 2010.  The other bottles have been thin, tart, and slightly green.  This was a controversial wine from the start.  After getting the lofty score and its inclusion in the top 10 on WS’s wine of the year list, the winery “made” more of the wine.  Supposedly the wine was made from purchased wine and was purely for consumption in Australia.  The contents of most of the bottles in my case leave me wondering if some of the wine ended up not staying in Australia.

 

Winery history

The winery’s website is “under construction” so I am posting information from James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion website.  You should visit his wonderful site.

 

Ed Schild is a BarossaValley grapegrower who first planted a small vineyard at Rowland Flat in 1952, steadily increasing his vineyard holdings over the next 50 years to their present level. The flagship wine is made from 150-year-old shiraz vines on the Moorooroo Block. The cellar door is in the old ANZ Bank at Lyndoch, and provides the sort of ambience that can only be found in the BarossaValley. A $4 million winery was constructed and opened in time for the 2010 vintage. Schild Estate was caught up in a PR storm in early 11 after its 08 Shiraz was ranked no. 8 in the Top 100 Wines of the Wine Spectator. All of its stock had to be sent to the US, and a separate blend was made for Australian distribution with a slip label stating it was blend no. 2. The event has not stopped production increasing from 20 000 to 45 000 dozen. Exports to all major markets.

 

Author: James Halliday

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, smoke, melted licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, baking spices, white pepper, and some earthy underbrush.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and tart acidity.  On the palate tart berries and spice hit first followed by dark chocolate, earthy elements, and cherries.  The finish has nice length with a green herbal note creeping in.  I’ve encountered some rather extreme bottle variation on this wine.  This one lacks some of the richness found on the better bottles and the acidity is a touch over blown.  (86 pts)

2008 Schild Estate Shiraz

 

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heirloom – $35.00

 

My comments

Bedrock has quickly turned to a major provider of white wines in my house.  I generally have a hard time limiting my purchases of Morgan’s white wines to a couple cases.

 

That said, I joined this e-mail list to get access to the old vine red wines the winery produces.  This wine is mainly Zinfandel (50%) with a healthy amount of Carignane (30%).  The remainder is a mix of the other two dozen varieties interspersed in the vineyard.

 

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!

 

 

The 2009 Heirloom is a more poised and elegant expression of the red soils found at my family’s Bedrock Vineyard.  Though perhaps not as brooding as the 2008, I find the aromatics of black fruits, pungent orange oil, and exotic spices quite compelling.  On the palate the wine is dense and vibrant and surprisingly open given the normally tannic structure imbued into Zinfandel based wines from Bedrock.  As always, the wine is a blend of the 26 varieties interplanted from the 121-year-old vines at the ranch.  This year’s blend is approximately 50% Zinfandel, 30% Carignane, with the balance being the other 24 or so varieties. 10 barrels and one puncheon made. 60% new, tight-grain, French oak from Ermitage, Rousseau, and Cadus.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, baking spices, mocha, fresh ground espresso, cherries, licorice, and wild flowers.  This has medium to fully body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine slowly reveals multiple layers of fruit, spice, and subtle earthiness.  The finish is very long and full of berries and spice with a nice floral note making a closing appearance as well as a touch of dark chocolate.  (92 pts)

2009 Bedrock Wine Co The Bedrock Heirloom

 

 

 

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes – $13.29

 

My comments

Generally I am not a point chaser, but when the local wine store puts a new wine of the shelf with a “talker” noting a 93 point score from Robert Parker and the wine is under $15, I had to grab a bottle.  This is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was aged in concrete.  This will be my first exposure to this wine and if it approaches the level of the Wine Advocate review, I’ll be stocking up.

 

Winery history

One of the oldest viticultural areas of France, vines in the Roussillon were cultivated by the Romans, and perhaps even before that.  With some of the most dramatic topography in France, many of the zones are composed of extremely steep hillsides – resembling the Priorat in Spain in many ways.

 

One of the most sought-after winemakers of Europe at the moment, Jean-Marc Lafage lends his expertise with Southern European varietals to several top estates in both France and Spain (he makes Evodia with Eric Solomon among other custom cuvee projects) and also in South America.  However, his best work is perhaps at home at his estate in the hills of the Roussillon with his wife, Eliane, also a highly accomplished winemaker.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  The clean and refreshing nose has cherries, baking spices, eucalyptus, forest floor, tobacco, blackberries, and wild flowers.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has spicy fruit, a touch of eucalyptus, and some earthiness.  The finish has nice length and closes with a touch of dark chocolate.  Not a lot of complexity but a very tasty glass of wine to enjoy over the next few years.  (90 pts)

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

 

 

 

2003 Château Pontet-Canet – $67.99

 

My comments

I attended a tasting of 2003 Bordeaux wines at a local wine store several years ago.  Even though I liked Bordeaux wines, I wasn’t all that experienced tasting these wines soon after release when they are generally still very tight and unyielding.  A few of the wines poured were so tight it was hard to get them to reveal very much with the usual small pours at this type of event.  That said, this wine was very tight but you could easily taste the power and depth on the palate.  It was a very easy decision to grab a few bottles to stash in the cellar.  Seven years later, it’s time to open one to see how it is doing.  Thankfully, I have enough in the cellar to not worry too much about opening this one on the young side.

 

Winery history

Jean-François de Pontet, royal governor of the Médoc, combined several vineyard plots in Pauillac in the early 18th century.  Years later, his descendants added neighbouring vines in a place named Canet.  This was the beginning of one of the largest estates in the Médoc, which quite naturally added the name of its founder to that of the land registry reference.

 

A century later, Pontet-Canet was included in the famous 1855 classification, thereby confirming its membership among the elite of the Médoc.  This privileged position did not go unnoticed by one of the most important Bordeaux shippers of the time, Herman Cruse, who bought the estate in 1865.  He built new cellars, modernised the winemaking facilities, and established the wine’s reputation around the world.  The Cruse family owned Pontet-Canet for 110 years, until another shipper (from Cognac this time), Guy Tesseron, acquired it in 1975.

 

Over two centuries Pontet-Canet has been owned by three different families.  Today it is run by Alfred Tesseron with his niece Melanie (daughter of Gerard Tesseron) who is the descendant of Guy Tesseron.  Thirty years after their arrival in Pauillac the Tesseron have the satisfaction of knowing that they have gradually replanted some of the vineyard and renovated the buildings and the wine making facilities.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to purple color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, cigar box, mint, dried herbs, minerals, warm baking spices, vanilla, well worn leather, and a bit of earthiness.  This is a wine you can sit and smell for hours and “almost” be satisfied.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate features spicy fruit with touches of oak, dried herbs, and some subtle earthiness.  The finish is extremely long and full of fruit, spice, and some oak, which is noticeable but not obtrusive.  This is still very young but with some air, it rounded into shape very nicely.  I decanted my bottle about two hours.  (95 pts)

2003 Chateau Pontet-Canet

 

 

 

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Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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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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