2009 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley – $27.00

I had a bottle of this last year and liked it but felt it needed some additional cellar time.  It has been a while since I’ve had an Oregon Pinot Noir, so it seems like a perfect time to open another.  This is the entry level Pinot from Soter so I like to enjoy these while my Mineral Springs Vineyard Pinots from Soter sleep in the cellar.


The wine was decanted about two hours.  This is a nice, clear, medium ruby red color.  On the open and very sexy nose there are cherries, baking spices, minerals, fresh wild flowers, and a bit of earthiness.  The wine is barely medium body with nice, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is very elegant on the palate with nice, spicy, earthy red fruit, spice, and just a hint of an herbal note adding complexity.  There is very nice length on the finish which is again highlighted by the spicy, earthy fruit.  This is very tasty today with some air but will reward some time in the cellar.    (91 pts)



We paired the Soter Pinot Noir with Fettuccini Alfredo with a grilled chicken breast.  This was a marvelous pairing; the acidity in the Pinot cut through the rich Alfredo sauce and added a nice earthy, spicy element to the meal.  This pairing wouldn’t work with a big, rich, California Pinot Noir, but the one from Oregon was top notch.




2010 Villa Creek “White” – $20.80

I’ve had several past vintages of this wine and have loved them all.  Since all my older vintages are gone, it’s time to crack into my stash of 2010s.  This is a blend consisting of 65% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussane from the James Berry Vineyard and 5% Picpoul Blanc.


The wine is a pale golden yellow color.  This has hot slate like minerals, white peach, pineapple, apple, lemon zest, and a nice floral note on the fresh, like Summer nose.  The wine has medium body with nice crisp acidity.  Initially rich and smooth on the palate with luscious, juicy fruit and minerals then the citrusy acidity kicks in leading a fairly long, mouthwatering finish.  This is an excellent, California version of a Rhone white from France.  This can be enjoyed over the next few years.   (92 pts)



We had the Villa Creek White with a simple dinner of grilled, large shrimp that were marinated in garlic olive oil with sautéed green beans with onion.  This was a very nice pairing with the acidity in the wine cutting through the rich shrimp.




2008 Foris Gewürztraminer – $12.32

Another nice, Summer dinner on the deck that calls for a crisp, white wine.  I haven’t had one of these for a few months but prior bottles have been very nice.  Even though it is labeled as being dry, it does seem to have just a hint of sweetness which adds a touch of body and depth.


The wine is a pale yellowish straw color.  The fresh and exotic smelling nose has lychee, apple, pineapple, orange zest, nice spice, and rose petals.  This is light to medium body with tart acidity and just a hint of sweetness, even though it is labeled as dry.  An almost oily texture on the palate accompanies nice spicy, fruit laced, lychee with come citrus in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the spicy citrus hanging on and slowly dissipating.  This is perfect for dinner on the patio/deck or with spicy Asian cuisine.  (89 pts)



We had the Gewürztraminer with a nice version of Crab Cakes that I found a while ago.  Instead of frying them, these get baked in muffin tins.  A little chopping, mixing, and throw them in the oven.  This is a healthier alternative and a lot easier.  The recipe for these Muffin-Tin Crab Cakes from Eating Well Magazine is available at http://www.cooking.com/recipes-and-more/RecPrint.aspx?rid=10238




2007 Rock Wall Wine Co. Rock Star Rouge – $4.75

This winery is partially owned by consulting winemaker Kent Rosenblum, his daughter Shauna, and other wine industry veterans. It is located on the former Alameda Naval Air Base.  This wine is a blend of 42% syrah, 37% tempranillo, 21% cinsault.


I’m not sure what the release price is of this wine, but I was able to get a case for under $5 a bottle. This is a VERY serious wine so don’t write it off if you see it being cleared out somewhere.


The wine is a deep maroon color.  The outstanding nose on this wine has cherries, baking spices, black pepper, blackberries, underbrush, licorice, smoke, vanilla, and some earthiness.  The wine is medium body, has solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  There is a nice hit of spice and pepper on the palate before the fruit kicks in.  There is decent length on the finish which adds a slight stemmy element and some spicy oak.  I would have liked the stemmy note and oak to have integrated a bit better on the finish, but for under $5, this is an outright QPR superstar.  (88 pts)




Mailing Lists


Jean Edwards Cellars

This is the home of some fantastic NapaValley cabernets at unbelievable prices.  Their latest offer includes their 2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet and the 2009 Seventy Four – Forty One Howell Mountain Cab came out of Friday.  If you can bribe your way onto their pre-release mailing list, these are 25% off the normal, release price.  As a bonus, they also have a Library Release of their first commercial offering, the 2004 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet.  Visit https://jeanedwardscellars.com/ and tell Karen I sent you.  I have an earlier blog here with a review of the 2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet.




Two Bennett Valley Syrahs will be released to their mailing list on August 28th.  Look forward to being offered the 2009 Judge Vineyard and the 2009 Jemrose Vineyard.



Villa Creek

The Villa Creek Fall release hit the inbox this week.  This is one of the wineries that I take an automatic shipment and add at least enough bottles to get a case or more.  Two of my favorite wines are in this release, Avenger (50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache) and Mas de Maha (50% Tempranillo, 25% Greache, and 25% Carignan).  Add to these two, the 2010 James Berry High Road (40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre) and you have a flavor filled release.  Needless to say, I’m in.



Big Basin

Big Basin’s Fall release is coming on September 10th.  This release will include a Syrah, a Pinot Noir, and a Chardonnay.  I have not had a Big Basin Pinot or Chardonnay, but their Syrah wines are big, ripe, and bold.





Save the Date: August 30, 2012 will be the third annual global celebration of Cabernet.  You have a couple weeks to pick out a bottle to open.  Let us know which wine you choose.  #Cabernet Day




Nice Wine Stuff

A Facebook friend, Heidi McLain, has a very nice product and is looking for some startup funding.  The product is the To Your Taste!® Wine Party Kit.  As an incentive to donate, she has some really nice “pledge rewards” for pledges of as little as $25.  Visit https://www.fundable.com/to-your-taste-for-wine-llc?_s=613 to see the marvelous product or even better to assist in the funding effort.  You can also visit the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/To-Your-Taste-Wine-Party-Kit/34193039949



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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.