Posts tagged ‘Elyse’

Cliffs Wine Picks – September 2017 Vol 3

 

2009 Gamache Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Cosa Obra Sauvignon Blanc Hummingbird Hill Vineyard

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2014 Ledge Grenache Blanc G2 Vineyard

2011 Waters Interlude

2015 Château de Cornemps Bordeaux Rosé

 

 

 

2009 Gamache Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon – $21.24

This wine was poured at a recent tasting at the local Total Wine of wines from the Pacific Northwest.  It’s pretty unusual to be able to buy a wine with a few years of bottle age for just a touch over $20.  This is from Washington state’s Columbia Valley.

 

The wine is a dark ruby color.  The very satisfying nose has cherries, cedar, plums, tobacco, crushed stone minerals, dry earth, baking spices, dark bittersweet chocolate, and licorice.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate plums, cherries, minerals and cedar come through quickly on the front end with tobacco and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and licorice providing good depth.  There is a touch of extra oak showing in places but it’s not really a distraction.  This is in a prime drinking window right now and should hold for at least a couple years.  This was very easy to drink and it has superb balance.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2009 Gamache Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Gamache Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2014 Cosa Obra Sauvignon Blanc Hummingbird Hill Vineyard – $20

This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, Clone 1 and Sauvignon Musqué from the Hummingbird Hill Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast.  The vineyard is maintained to produce only 2.5 to 4 tons per acre.  After a 21 day fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel, the wine was moved to neutral French oak barrels to help round out the flavors.  There were 369 cases produced.

 

This is a very light, pale yellow with a slight green tint.  The crisp and refreshing nose has green apples, lemongrass, grapefruit zest, crushed stone minerals and a touch of melon.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and perhaps just a trace of residual sweetness.  On the palate this has tart green apples and grapefruit zest on the front end with lemongrass and minerals coming in later.  The finish has good length with just a hint of melon joining the grapefruit zest.  This is very tasty even though it could use a bit more complexity.  The trace of residual sweetness does a great job of buffering the tart grapefruit zest acidity.  This is an easy wine to sip on a hot, sunny day.  This has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2014 Cosa Obra Sauvignon Blanc Hummingbird Hill Vineyard

2014 Cosa Obra Sauvignon Blanc Hummingbird Hill Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Jacob Franklin (Elyse) Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard – $32.00

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

 

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

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Ledge Grenache Blanc G2 Vineyard – $18.75

I’ve been a big fan of the wines produced by Mark Adams for a few years.  I received a sample of his initial release of Syrah a few years ago and immediately jumped on their mailing list.

 

This wine comes from the G2 Vineyard in the Willow Creek AVA.  This is 100% Grenache Blanc fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Less than 200 cases were produced.

 

The wine is a light yellow color with a slight green tint.  The captivating nose has apples, lemon zest, crushed stone minerals, melon, peach pit, pineapple and leafy green herbs.  This has a medium body with nice acidity and a hint of lingering sweetness.  On the palate apples, minerals and peach pit come through on the front end with pineapple and green herbs coming in later.  The finish has very good length with mouthwatering lemon zest providing nice depth.  This has nice balance between the creamy mouth feel, citrusy acidity and just a touch of sweetness to compliment the other elements.  This is perfect with a light meal on a sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2014 Ledge Grenache Blanc G2 Vineyard

2014 Ledge Grenache Blanc G2 Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Waters Interlude – $16.98

The grapes for this wine come from Stone Tree, Seven Hills, Cold Creek and Old Stones vineyards.  The wine was aged in 20% new French oak and 80% neutral French oak.  There were 1,550 cases of wine produced.  I should note, I bought the wine at a great price from Garagiste Wine, the suggested price for the wine is $28.

 

This is a blend of 61% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec and 11% Petit Verdot from Washington.  The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very expressive nose has cherries, cassis, stony minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, freshly ground espresso beans, dried leafy herbs, cocoa powder and dried earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate ripe cherries and berries hit first with minerals and espresso beans quickly joining in.  The finish has nice length with dried herbs, cocoa powder, dried earth and a hint of eucalyptus entering the picture.  This is drinking very nicely right now and should hold for a few years.  I wouldn’t want to stash this in the back of the cellar, enjoy this one over the next few of years.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Waters Interlude

2011 Waters Interlude

 

 

 

2015 Château de Cornemps Bordeaux Rosé – $10.78

This is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet from near Saint-Emilion.

 

The wine is a fairly deep pink salmon color.  The appealing nose has strawberries, cherries, minerals, orange blossoms and subtle underbrush.  This has medium body with nice acidity and seems to be totally dry.  On the palate bright red fruit and minerals jump out on the front end with orange blossoms coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a touch of underbrush entering the picture.  This is easy drinking but could use a bit more complexity.  For the price this is a nice week day pink wine to enjoy on a sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (88 pts)

2015 Château de Cornemps Bordeaux Rosé

2015 Château de Cornemps Bordeaux Rosé

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

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

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week – 2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

 

 

Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.

 

 

Hoffman lane cab outlines.ai

 

“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event. It’s what wine is all about.”

Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner

 

 

Overview

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.

 

Since that day, Elyse has always been the first winery we visit when we make it to Napa.  I always have several bottles of Elyse wine in my cellar.

 

 

The Winery

Winemaking is cooking without a flame. Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in Napa Valley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table. Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.

 

 

As many of you know, when we started making our own wines in 1987, we named the tiny, 200 case operation after our daughter, Elyse.  Not wanting to leave our son, Jake, out of loop, we eventually named our Rhone blend after him – anyone remember “Jake’s Cuvee”?  It wasn’t enough, because at the ripe age of eight Jake asked, “When do I get my own label without her name on it?”  Good point!  And as parents not wanting to show favoritism, why not create a namesake label for him as well?

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars debut bottling was in 1998 and we fondly and literally refer to it as the brother label of Elyse Winery.  By this time, we had gained access to small quantities of extremely allocated fruit from some highly desirable vineyards in the valley and this label was the perfect place to showcase them along with our only estate wine, Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars is focused on small production, low yield, vineyard designate wines from Napa Valley.  Due to the extremely limited production, these wines are available exclusively through the winery, website, and wine club.

 

Oh Brother!

 

Much more information on Elyse and Jacob Franklin is available on their website by clicking here.

 

 

Elyse Sign

 

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley – SRP $55.00 (Current vintage is 2008)

“My Sweetheart”

 

The #50 in the wine’s name relates to the percentage of Cabernet Franc in the final blend.  As with most blends, the breakdown changes every vintage.  In this vintage the blend is 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot from the Abbey, Lynch, Morisoli and Wood Vineyards.  The grapes were picked from September 19 through October 14.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels with 65% being new.

 

The total production was 375 cases.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The stunning nose has cassis, dried herbs, cedar, smoke, warm baking spices, tobacco, dusty minerals, dark chocolate and licorice.  This has a medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  Spices, dried herbs and cassis immediately coat the palate, slowly allowing cedar and minerals to enter the picture.  On the long finish dusty minerality and dark chocolate join the cassis and dried herbs.  This is a very nicely layered wine with plenty of savory elements that nicely balance out the rich cassis.  This wine is just entering its prime drinking window allowing it to be a showstopper through the end of the decade.  (94 pts)

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

 

 

Closing thoughts

On your next visit to the Napa Valley, I highly recommend a stop at Elyse.  They are about a mile south of Yountville just off Highway 29.  A reservation is required but the visit is well worth the phone call.  More information is available at:  http://www.elysewinery.com/visit.html

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Two Elyse Wines from the Morisoli Vineyard

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

2009 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

2008 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

 

Elyse Sign

 

 

Elyse Winery

This very special tasting includes two of my favorite wines from one of my favorite wineries.  I’ve been a big fan of Elyse Winery since my first visit to wine country well over a decade ago.  Over the years I have opened and enjoyed several cases of Elyse wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel and more, as well as numerous blends.  These are always well made and reasonably priced wines made by very nice and friendly people.  If you ever make it to the Napa Valley, I highly recommend a stop at Elyse.

 

For more information on Elyse or to order wine, please visit their website by clicking here.

Morisoli

 

Morisoli Vineyard

Morisoli Vineyard is owned by Gary and Melody Morisoli.  This vineyard, in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley, has been in the Morisoli family for over 100 years.  Gary Morisoli doesn’t know when the family purchased the property, but he knows his grandfather was born in one of the property’s three houses in 1902.

 

The original property consisted of 10 acres.  Gary’s grandfather eventually doubled the size of the property and Gary added an additional 37 acres.  Today the vineyard only grows Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The vineyard has been growing Zinfandel for over 100 years but Cabernet Sauvignon wasn’t planted until the early 1980s.  The youngest vines on the property are from the mid 1990s.  Until the early 1960s, the vineyard was also home to Gamay, Carignan, Sauvignon Vert and Petite Syrah.  The property survived prohibition by selling the grapes for “sacramental” winemaking purposes both in California and on the East Coast.  The family also kept a few wine barrels of their own in the basement.

 

Fun Fact: When asked what his favorite wine is, Gary responded “Pepsi.” He’s a farmer, not a wine connoisseur.  Except, of course, when he’s mixing the two.  In the tradition of the Italians, he does like to mix 2 parts Pepsi with 1 part red wine.

 

 

 

The Line up

Here is the lineup for this tasting:

Elyse Morisoli Line up

Elyse Morisoli Line up

 

 

2009 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard – SRP $37

Elyse has been making Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard since 1986 and have been the only producer working with these grapes since 1988.  The old field-blend vines, Rutherford Bench terroir, and traditional farming practices always create a truly distinctive Zinfandel.

 

This wine is 87% Zinfandel with the remaining 13% being a combination of Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, Durif, Grand Noir, Muscat Hamburg, Négrette, Syrah, and Valdiguié.

 

After a 16 day fermentation using native yeast, the wine was aged 10 ½ months in American oak barrels, with 25% being new.

 

The wine has 14.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 2,397 cases of wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The comforting nose has brambly berries, warm baking spices, white pepper, minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, wild flowers, eucalyptus and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart berries with spice and pepper jump out first with minerals and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and a hint of eucalyptus entering the picture.  This tastes very good today, but will reward a bit of time in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2009 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

2009 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

 

 

2008 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard – SRP $70

This wine is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot.

 

The wine was fermented for 15 days using native yeast.  The wine was then aged for 30 months in French oak barrels with 60% being new.

 

The wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  The total production was 777 cases and 20 cases of magnums.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, minerals, mint, dry earth, dried herbs, tobacco, licorice, and dark chocolate.  This has medium body, solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cassis, minerals and a touch of mint hit first with some building earthiness coming in on the back end.  The long and lingering finish adds some dark chocolate.  This is very young and deserves a couple years in the cellar, which will be greatly rewarded.  As of today, with plenty of air it is delicious with a piece of juicy meat to help buffer the wall of tannins.  Let this one sleep.  (94 pts)

2008 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

2008 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

 

 

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 – Apr 22, 2013 to Apr 25, 2013

 

 

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Howell Mountain

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve

 

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Howell Mountain – $36.00

 

My comments

This is my last bottle of four I bought at the winery in June 2005.  After killing off a couple fairly quickly, I’m glad I was able to stash one so I could check it out with some bottle age.  In its youth, this was big and brash, full of big fruit, pepper, and spice and equally big tannins.

 

This is actually a blend of 85% Petite Sirah from the Dunn Vineyard and 15% Black-Sears Vineyard Zinfandel.  This was the last vintage for this wine, Randy Dunn pulled the grapes from Elyse so he could supply his son Mike’s new project.

 

Winery history

As many of you know, when we started making our own wines in 1987, we named the tiny, 200 case operation after our daughter, Elyse.  Not wanting to leave our son, Jake, out of loop, we eventually named our Rhone blend after him – anyone remember “Jake’s Cuvee”?  It wasn’t enough, because at the ripe age of eight Jake asked, “When do I get my own label without her name on it?”  Good point!  And as parents not wanting to show favoritism, why not create a namesake label for him as well?

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars debut bottling was in 1998 and we fondly and literally refer to it as the brother label of Elyse Winery.  By this time, we had gained access to small quantities of extremely allocated fruit from some highly desirable vineyards in the valley and this label was the perfect place to showcase them along with our only estate wine, Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars is focused on small production, low yield, vineyard designate wines from NapaValley.  Due to the extremely limited production, these wines are available exclusively through the winery, website, and wine club.

 

Oh Brother!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color, much lighter at the edge.  The smooth and sophisticated nose has blackberries, plums, white pepper, forest floor, dried herbs, dark chocolate, baking spices, tobacco, smoke, and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has medium body, fairly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy, earthy berries steal the show with dried herbs and dark chocolate adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long with chocolate dusted berries and dried herbs hanging on for quite a while.  This is drinking very nicely now, but could last in the cellar for a few more years.  Don’t expect a big and brutish Petite Sirah, this has mellowed into something smooth and sophisticated. (94 pts)

2002 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Howell Mountain

 

 

 

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT – $16.62

 

My comments

I bought 6 bottles of this wine from a local wine store e-mail offer based on a solid recommendation from a fellow wine lover.  This “Super Tuscan” is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah.  It’s a cool, rainy, Midwestern day in mid April, a perfect time for some pasta and my wife’s meat sauce.  This seems to be a good occasion to sample a bottle.

 

Winery history

The wine cellar of Borgo Scopeto renewed and enlarged over the last few years, is equipped with the most modern technology for vinification.

 

The cellar is composed of 50 stainless steal tanks with capacities that ranges from 11 to 260 hectolitres, for a total of 7000 hectolitres.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color, lighter at the edge.  The appealing nose has cherries, warm baking spices, blackberries, white pepper, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very good acidity.  Tart, spicy, earthy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and some chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length and is an extension of the palate with just a touch of spicy oak creeping into the picture.  For a very young wine, this is drinking very nicely today.  This should improve with another year in the cellar and drink well for a few additional years.  (91 pts)

2009 Borgo Scopeto Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty – $16.62

 

My comments

This is another wine I bought based on a local wine store’s e-mail offer.  We generally like Aussie Shiraz as long as it doesn’t cross the line and end up on the sweet and syrupy side.  Based on reviews of previous vintages, this was worth grabbing a six pack.  It’s time to open one and see what I have.

 

Winery history

Betts & Scholl is a cooperative effort between Richard Betts, Master Sommelier & winemaker and Dennis Scholl, contemporary art collector and joyous wine drinker, who typically finds himself either in Aspen or Miami Beach.  Together, they created special relationships with star growers and winemakers from around the world to share in the Betts & Scholl vision.

 

This partnership is totally dedicated to making great wine as Richard & Dennis see it, which is, ultimately, wine that they like to drink.  No trophies, no wine for competition, just wine for the table – wine made to be enjoyed in the spirit of those wines that got Richard hooked on the whole deal in the first place.  This is to say wine you can drink everyday – a grocery, if you will – something that is on the table at lunch, at dinner, in harmony with food, an essential part of the meal.  This notion is fundamental to great living all over Europe, and it’s one that Betts & Scholl aims to bring back and live every day.

 

So Betts & Scholl chose to make the good stuff! Richard & Dennis’ shared aesthetic spoke for elegant, complex, balanced wines of great perfume and finesse with the power to seduce.  The object of the B&S fancy is neither the obvious nor the forceful.  Instead it is those wines that transport: They taste only of the place from where they’ve come.  Come take the trip.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very outgoing nose has blackberries, baking spices, underbrush, black pepper, cherries, licorice, and wild flowers.  This has a full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there are ripe, juicy crushed berries and baking spice up front then the acidity kicks in and tart cherries and a bit of earthiness takes over.  The finish is fairly long and leans on spicy, earthy cherries.  This is a bit disjointed at this time showing distinct, different “personalities” on the palate.  This needs some cellar time for the acidity to better integrate or a couple hours of air.  (88 pts)

2009 Betts & Scholl Shiraz Black Betty

 

 

 

2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve – $15.30

 

My comments

 

This is a nice everyday wine from one of my favorite small Napa Valley wineries.  If you make it to wine country, pay a visit to the Calistoga based Vincent Arroyo Winery.  Their tastings usually lead to a trip into the barrel storage area and some barrel tastes.

 

This popular blend combines Estate grown Gamay with our Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah.  Always blended to taste, our goal is to create a wine that can be opened “any time” — from the get-me-to-dinner glass to the perfect complement for pasta or steak salad.  The wine usually doesn’t last long in anyone’s cellar (or closet!) but ages very well as the Burgundy characteristics begin to emerge after several years introducing a new dynamic to what many might think of as an easy-drinking wine.

 

Winery history

Walking into the Vincent Arroyo Winery, one gets the sense that it has been here forever.  Is it just the comfortable atmosphere of a big barn full of oak wine barrels that lends to the sense of permanence?  Vincent Arroyo, himself, may feel like he has been here forever, as well.  He left behind a career as a mechanical engineer in the Silicon Valley during the early 70’s and headed to Calistoga, at the northern tip of the NapaValley.  He felt much more at home close to the land, being able to see and taste the fruits of his labors.

 

The purchase of the 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch property in 1974 began the evolution of what is seen today, 85 acres cultivating 9 different wine grape varietals.  Vince has always been a farmer at heart, taking care of the land to produce the best that it can.  He began to transform the Greenwood Ranch by ripping out existing prune trees and unhealthy vines and planting new vineyards.  For many years, he did it all alone, the tractor work, cellar work and a one-man sales force.  Originally he made just a few hundred cases of his favorites, Petite Sirah and Cabernet, selling the majority of the grape tonnage to other Napa wineries.  Today, he produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals.

 

More information is available at: http://www.vincentarroyo.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The nice but slightly shy nose has black raspberries, plums, baking spices, fresh wild flowers, and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft tannins, and nice acidity.  The palate has nice, spicy fruit, with a bit of toasty oak.  The finish has decent length with just a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This is a very nice “change of pace” wine and something very unique.  This is mainly estate grown Gamay with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah.  (88 pts)

2010 Vincent Arroyo Mélange Reserve

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Received my last couple of deliveries for the Spring shipping season:

 

(3) 2011 HelioterraPinotNoirWillametteValley

(3) 2011 Helioterra Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select

(6) 2012 Villa Creek Pink

(6) 2012 Villa Creek “White”

 

 

 

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 – Elyse Le Corbeau (The Raven)

 

 

2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard

(Suggested Retail Price $37.00)

 

This is based on a winery supplied sample.

 

 

Elyse

 

 

Winemaking is cooking without a flame.  Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in Napa Valley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table.  Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.

 

 

“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event.  It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner

 

 

“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.

 

Syrah_001 small

 

 

 

Elyse Winery was started in 1987 by Ray and his wife Nancy when they crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine.  While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food.  Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

 

Ray grew up on a dairy farm in northwest New Jersey and tended various crops before tiring of milk and leaving the roost.  After a two year stint in the army and extensive travel in Europe and Africa, he returned to the states and attended StockbridgeAgriculturalCollege at the University of Massachusetts.  While at school, he worked at a fine wine shop in Boston, and it was here that he discovered fine French wine.  With Coursen’s background in farming and his new appreciation for wine, the idea of making wine took hold.

 

Nancy is a third generation Californian and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Following her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Occupational Therapy, she worked with special needs children in the educational systems of the Boston area.   It was in Boston in 1982 that Nancy met Ray and shortly thereafter his interest in the wine business brought them to the NapaValley.

 

 

Much more information and Ray, Nancy, Elyse, and her younger brother Jacob Franklin can be found at:  http://www.elysewinery.com/25.html

 

Elyse Winery sign

 

On your next visit to the NapaValley, I highly recommend a stop at Elyse.  They are about a mile south of Yountville just off Highway 29.  A reservation is required but the visit is well worth the phone call.  More information is available at:  http://www.elysewinery.com/visit.html

 

And finally onto the reason you are visiting this post, the wine.

2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard2

 

 

My comments

 

“Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe” -from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.

I’ve been a fan of the big, “hedonistic” California Rhone Ranger wines for several years, but I’m equally a fan of the “cool climate” style of these wines, like this one.  Wines like this one are made for the dinner table and shine in that environment.  The rich, jammy fruit of the wines from warmer locales is more than adequately replaced with spice, dried herbs (often noted as garrigue in reviews of French wines), pepper, and subtle earthiness.  If you are a fan of a French Chateauneuf du Pape, check out these Grenache and Syrah blends from California, like this one.

To get a bottle of this wine for yourself, visit your local wine store or order directly from Elyse on their website.

 

Wine Info

This is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah from the Hudson Vineyard in California’s Carneros region.

 

The wine was aged 22 months in French oak, 20% of which were new.

 

The total production was 300 cases and the final alcohol is 14.4%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium red color with just a touch of a ruby tint.  The friendly and inviting nose has raspberries, plums, dried herbs, white pepper, Asian spices, dried wild flowers, minerals, and hints of orange zest, vanilla, and some subtle earthiness.  This has a medium body, fairly solid, velvety tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine has very nice fruit but the spices, dried herbs, and earthy elements steal the spotlight adding waves of flavor and considerable depth, before the fruit comes roaring back into the picture.  The finish is fairly long with nice plum and raspberry competing with the spice and earthy elements.  This could easily be slipped into a Chateauneuf du Pape tasting and not stick out as being from California.  This is still very young and could use a fair amount of air or preferably a year or two in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard

 

 

***** 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!

 

Mar 8, 2013 to Mar 10, 2013

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras

2002 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard – $45.00

 

My comments

My wife just returned from a 10 day business trip, so I wanted to open something really good.  Since Loring is one of both of our favorite wineries, this was an easy choice.  Brian’s Pinot from Garys’ Vineyard is also one of out two favorite vineyard sources he uses.

 

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.

 

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

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The open and inviting nose has black cherries, warm baking spices, black tea leaves, white pepper, raspberries, dried flowers, minerals, and some earthiness.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has a nice blend of tart cherries, sweet raspberries, spices, and subtle earthiness.  The finish is fairly long and again, very flavorful with nice closing acidity holding everything together.  Very tasty today, but no hurry on this one.  (92 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras – $16.62

 

My comments

The local wine store recently put this one on the shelf.  A friend who works there insisted I give this one a try.  Since I generally agree with his palate, I grabbed three bottles.  Even though I think it’s still a bit young, it’s a perfect night to try one in case I want to stock up before the store sells out.

 

Winery history

Domaine La Garrigue is set in the heart of the Vacqueyras appellation area (Southern Côtes du Rhône), in the Vaucluse department of France.  The estate buildings are just 2.5 km from the main village, on a plateau called Les Garrigues.

 

The estate was created in 1850, and has always been worked by the same family, spanning 6 generations.  The Bernard family has always worked in respect of tradition, crafting authentic natural wines that are typical of the terroirs they came from.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The warm and relaxing nose has black cherries, blackberries, red raspberries, dried herbs, brined green olives, licorice, minerals, earthy elements, and wild flowers.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has nice, spicy fruit and olives with a touch of earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch clipped when the tannins and acidity kick in.  Let this one sleep for at least a year, preferably two.  This has a lot of upside potential.  (90 pts)

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras

 

 

 

2002 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard – $30.00

 

My comments

In my opinion, this is perennially one of the best Napa Cabernets for the price.  This is a cabernet that generally needs a few years of bottle age to fully reach its potential and show its best.  If you get the opportunity to try this wine, jump on it, you can thank me later.

 

Winery history

Napa Valley’s Elyse Winery has two causes for celebration this harvest.  In addition to a stellar looking 2012 vintage in NapaValley, it is the 25th harvest for the winery.

 

It was back in 1987 that Ray and Nancy Coursen crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine.  While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food.  Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

 

Winemaking is cooking without a flame.  Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in NapaValley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table.  Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.

 

“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event.  It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner

 

“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color, with no signs of it being eleven years old.  The very elegant and powerful nose has cassis, dried herbs, tobacco, dusty minerals, melted licorice, warm baking spices, violets, black cherries, and lesser notes of cedar, vanilla, and earthiness.  This has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate is loaded with rich, juicy berries, dried herbs, and just the right amount of spicy oak.  The very flavorful finish is very long, seeming to linger forever.  The wine is perfectly balanced and in a wonderful place.  It is velvety with no rough edges or out of place or excessive elements.  (94 pts)

2002 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Grabbed a mixed case at the local wine store.

(3) 2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras @ $16.62

(1) 2009 Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon @ $25.36

(6) 2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard @ $19.94

(2) 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico @ $18.59

 

 

 

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!

 

Feb 25, 2013 to Feb 28, 2013

 

 

2009 Calera Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard, 2002 Elyse Petite Sirah Rutherford

2009 Château des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape, 2003 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

 

 

 

2009 Calera Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard – $37.99

 

My comments

When the local wine store offered this wine and the winery’s Mill Vineyard Pinot at a special price via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a few bottles of each.  I’ve enjoyed the lower end Calera Pinots in the past, but these will be my exposure to their higher end, single vineyard offerings.

 

Winery history

Calera is a vision, and Calera’s wines truly express the sense of place.  Rather than follow the recommended path, Josh Jensen became a pioneer in search of the perfect spot on the globe to grow grapes.  Taking his cue from the great domaines of Burgundy which have grown grapes in limestone soil for centuries, he set out in search of the perfect spot in California to create wines unique to the world but in the style of the greatest wines of France.  Site selection was vital as he ventured off the grid to plant on the site of an old limekiln in the GavilanMountains of California.  Today Calera wines still express that pioneer spirit and are revered the world over.  We are proud to report that even Robert Parker is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.”

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium, bright ruby red color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, cherries, mint, Asian spices, wild flowers, cola, and a touch of earthiness.  This is barely medium body with soft, fairly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the sweet berries and spicy cherries lead the charge but some nice earthiness and a touch of mint come in on the back end adding depth.  The finish is fairly long leaning on the raspberries, floral note, and earthy elements.  This is the real deal and it should gain additional complexity with a bit more cellar time, but it is delicious right now.  (94 pts)

2009 Calera Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard

 

 

 

2002 Elyse Petite Sirah Rutherford – $17.25

 

My comments

This wine has been a long time favorite of mine.  This is one of those wines that tastes great upon release, but transforms into something magical with a decade in the cellar.  I was lucky enough to restock this wine at a steal of a price via WineBid a couple years ago.  I don’t know who sold these, but they should rest assured they found a good home and provided a lot of pleasure to those lucky enough to have been around when I opened one.

 

Wine Techie Stuff and information

This is made up of 93% Petite Sirah and 7% Zinfandel.  The Petite Sirah comes from the Wood Ranch.  Wood Ranch was owned by Frank “Laurie” Wood, who passed away in August 2011.  The Wood Ranch was purchased a couple months ago by Frank Family winery, at this time it is not known if they will keep the Petite Sirah vines.  Personally, I hope they keep these vines and continue selling the grapes to Elyse for this wine.  An interesting tidbit is the bud wood used in the Wood Ranch Petite Sirah block was sourced from the old vines of the famed Hayne Vineyard by Elyse’s very own Ray Coursen.   See a picture below of Frank “Laurie” Wood at the Ranch.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, melted licorice, smoky embers, black peppercorns, dark chocolate, dried herbs, earthy underbrush, and meat juices.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  One the palate there are loads of berries, licorice, and black pepper up front with dried herbs, meaty notes, and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and full of berries, black pepper, and dark chocolate.  This is in a fantastic drinking window, full open and absolutely no rough edges.  I wish I had a few more bottles for drinking over the next few years.  Outstanding!  (95 pts)

2002 Elyse Petite Sirah Rutherford

 

 

 

Frank “Laurie” Wood at his Ranch which was the source of the Petite Sirah grapes used in the 2002 Elyse Petite Sirah Rutherford described above.

060102composite_flat

 

 

 

2009 Château des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape – $12.34

 

My comments

This wine was brought in by the local wine store as part of a blow out sale.  Even though this winery was not familiar to me, I grabbed a few bottles for week nights.  The average price paid on Cellar Tracker for this wine was over $20, so my $12 cost could have been a bargain, but I’ll have to try one to make sure.

 

Winery history

Château des Karantes is a magnificent vineyard located in the south of France, in the Languedoc Roussillon Region.  The domaine is in the heart of a small valley overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and is just two minutes from the seaside resort towns of Narbonne Plage and St. Pierre sur Mer.  The estate offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea with the PyreneesMountains visible in the distance.  The beautiful winding access to the vineyard through the garrigue fosters a sense of remoteness and contributes to the peaceful surroundings of the estate.

 

The vineyard is named after a former Bishop of Carcassonne, owner of the estate hundreds of years ago.  The estate is 193 hectares and produces 44 hectares of vines.  Nestled in the Mediterranean Garrigue, it extends along the limestone, clay and rocky slopes, which form the “Massif” or Ridge of La Clape.  The exceptional South-East/East exposure and proximity to the sea contribute to the production of our quality wines.  The entire vineyard is in the Coteaux du Languedoc – La Clape Appelation.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, smoke, plums, dried herbs, a touch of road tar, Asian spice, dark chocolate, and fresh ground dark roast coffee.  This has medium body with fairly substantial tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate nice fruit and dried herbs take center stage with some spice, dark chocolate, and coffee coming in later.  The finish is initially a touch short and has a slight stemmy/green note that creeps into the picture.  After about 3 hours of decanter time, the stemmy/green note integrates and is barely noticeable and the finish adds some length.  Not bad now, but some cellar time will be greatly rewarded.  (90 pts)

2009 Château des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape

 

 

 

2003 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles – $15.83

 

My comments

I could say I saved this bottle to see how a Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles priced in the mid teens would be at 10 years old, but the truth is it simply fell through the cracks.  Personally, I’m interested to see what this bottle has to offer.

 

Winery history

During a family trip to France in the late 70’s, Robert visited the Rhone valley and was captivated by the winery lifestyle of farming, crafting wine and the pairing of wine with food.  Robert began developing his idea for a premium-producing vineyard and winery in the early-80’s, and ventured west with the goal of visiting each of California’s wine appellations to explore the optimum growing conditions for the production of premium wine grapes, specifically the Rhone varieties he had enjoyed so much.  In early-90’s, Robert and Margaret discovered the perfect terroir in the Paso Robles appellation.  Featuring soil rich in nutrients, coupled with warm days and cool nights, Robert felt the viticultural conditions were ideal to the development of the enological characteristics he was seeking to produce.  “Home Ranch” was acquired in 1995.  Soon after, the “Terrace” and “Bench” vineyards joined the Hall Ranch enclave.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color with just a touch of brick at the edge.  The classic nose has cassis, leather, dried herbs, tobacco, baking spices, smoke, and just a touch of cedar.  This has medium body, fully integrated tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has a quick hit of cassis but the savory elements take over with spices, dried herbs, and a touch of oak coming in.  The finish has nice length with a touch of cassis adding nice sweetness to the savory elements.  This may be on the back side of its aging progression, but it was a very tasty week night Cabernet.  (89 pts)

2003 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 Mailing Lists

 

The end has to be approaching since it seems like I have been getting offers every day for the last month.

 

One of the big boys did hit this week, Bedrock Wine Co.  This is a no brainer, stock up, winery.  I’ll be placing my order this weekend, but I already know my order will be between two and three cases.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

I received a nice box of samples from Northwest Totem Cellars that I’ll be tasting in the next few weeks.  Keep an eye out for a special post on these gems.

2008 Northwest Totem Cellars Qo-Ne

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

2008 Northwest Totem Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Northwest Totem Cellars Cabernet Franc

 

 

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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