2008 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch – $48.00


My comments

I’ve been eyeing this wine for quite a while but have been able to successfully resist the temptation…until tonight.  I love the Pinot Noirs coming out of Soter, even their lower end NorthValley.  Generally their Minerals Springs Ranch wines are a definite step up.  Tonight I’ll see how they did with the 2008 vintage.


Winery history (from the winery)

Mineral Springs Ranch is a 240-acre savanna-like oak woodland and grazing land.  It is the home of our Estate vineyard, planted to 15 acres of Pinot Noir in 2002 and 2003 as well as an additional 15 acres in 2006.  Two acres of Chardonnay were included in the 2006 plantings and are devoted entirely to our sparkling wine production.  Located just east of the town of Carlton, the ranch is perched on a mesa with gentle slopes and commanding views of the surrounding Yamhill-Carlton District.  Our production facilities and hospitality buildings are here as well, allowing us complete control of all operations.


As a vineyard site, Mineral Springs has an extremely compelling confluence of prime exposure, and uniform, well-drained, pale sedimentary soils.  The primary slope faces due south.  It is here that the vines absorb the sun from an ideal aspect, from morning through twilight.  Unlike many vineyards with small depressions and moist swales, this is a gentle, highly uniform slope.  Mineral Springs Vineyard is planted between 380 and 440 feet in elevation.  Exposure ranges from southeast to west, with most acreage facing south and southwest.  Our soils are crumbly, loamy, pale marine Keasey series sediments (such as sandstone and fractured siltstone) mixed with clay.  The topsoil layer is rather shallow in many places, and drainage is excellent.


The clonal selections Tony has made for this vineyard are dwarfed by the inherent suitability of this land for viticulture.  It is a very special vineyard site; not only does its prime exposure and drainage enable our grapes to ripen reliably in advance of the fall rains, these very old marine sediments imbue the wines with a subtle exoticism and spiciness that announces itself before the new wine comes near a barrel.  The 2005 vintage represented the inaugural release from this vineyard and featured notes of blackberry, black cherries, white pepper, floral notes that recall freesias and roses, and a distinctively exotic personality.  Subsequent bottlings have consistently expressed this exotic flare with a solid core of pure, supple fruit and lovely acid balance.


More information available at http://www.sotervineyards.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bit lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The very inviting nose features mineral laden cherries, raspberries, and plums, with some dried herbs, smoke, baking spices, and earthy underbrush.  This is barely medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the sweet, juicy fruit is counter balanced with a nice savory streak of dried herbs, spices, and earthy elements.  The finish is fairly long with a nice mix of the fruit and savory notes.  This is still a bit on the young side, but drinking very nicely.  (93 pts)

2008 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch




2006 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia – $28.49


My comments

This is a long time favorite from Italy.  This wine generally takes your usual Chianti Classico Riserva and kicks it up a few notches.  These “extra notches” do come at a price, the release price of this wine was around $50, which is very high for a wine in this category.  Is it worth the extra cost?  Well that one is up to the purchaser, I bought all of mine when they were marked down to where it blew away everything else at the price point.


Winery history

It was 1966 when Dominic Poggiali Fèlsina took the courageous leap and bought the estate at a time when Italian viticulture was struggling.  He chose to invest in the quality of the wine and the expertise of a young team.


Their passion for wine united with the skills of businessmen, and under their guidance, they injected modernity into their business plan, without however, abandoning the spirit of tradition.  In the space of a few years, the vineyards grew to more than forty hectares, and the soul and organization of the company changed, as well.


My Tasting Note

Opened for an hour and then decanted for an hour.  The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The tempting nose has cherries, minerals, earthy underbrush, baking spices, licorice, road tar, dried herbs, fresh ground espresso, and violets.  This has a medium body with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate, tart cherries are quickly joined by nice savory notes of dried herbs and earthy elements.  The finish has nice length but is clipped a bit when the tannins and acidity kick in.  Give this one another year in the cellar.  Outstanding now, better down the road.  (93 pts)

2006 Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia




2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau – $12.34


My comments

This is consistently a very nice, affordably priced blend from the Montsant region of Spain.  This is a blend of  40% Mazuelo(Carignan), 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha.


Winery history

Cellers Can Blau was founded in 2003.  The winery produces about 300 barrels of wine a year from their 34 hectares of vineyards.  70% of the wine they produce is exported.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very tempting nose features plums, cherries, wood smoke, baking spices, wild flowers, and some dried herbs and cedar.  This has a medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries and dried herbs grab the initial spotlight with some spicy oak and baking spices adding nice depth in the background.  The finish has nice length and highlights the savory elements with the fruit in the background.  A very nice, value priced “baby Priorat”.  (91 pts)

2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau




2006 Turley Zinfandel Dogtown Vineyard – $34.99


My comments

Turley Winery, in my opinion, was one of the first, “cult wineries” in California.  Their wines were impossible to get, unless you were one of the lucky few on their mailing list.  Some of the luster has faded a bit due to competition from the likes of Carlisle and Bedrock, but the name Turley still commands attention from a LOT of people.


Dogtown, generally isn’t one of my favorite Turley sources.  In the past some of the wines were too big and ripe and at times showed raisin notes and lacked enough depth to successfully conceal their high alcohol levels.  That said, when my local wine store source was able to get this wine in, with a couple years of age at a good price, I had to grab a couple bottles.


Winery history

In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley.  Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.


Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.


As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.


In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.


By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars is annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The very comforting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, earthy elements, tobacco, dried herbs, cherries, spice box, and a bit of alcohol.  This is medium to full bodied with integrated, velvety tannins and good acidity.  The palate is highlighted by the spicy, peppery berries but some nice earthiness and dried herbs add some depth.  The finish has nice length but shows some alcohol and a touch of raisin.  Overall, a very nice zinfandel in a good drinking window.  (90 pts)

2006 Turley Zinfandel Dogtown Vineyard



Mailing Lists


I placed my order for Bedrock today.  This is always a hard decision since all the wines are outstanding but there is no way I can afford to go “all in”.




Wines bought or received this week

Nothing new to report in this area, but next week could be busy if I get expected deliveries from Loring, Turley, and Saxum.




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.