Posts tagged ‘Helioterra’

Feb 11, 2013 to Feb 14, 2013

 

 

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley – $18.99

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of the Novy/Siduri wines from Adam Lee for several years.  For some reason, their Zinfandels seem to fly under the radar.  Their single vineyard offerings are some of the best values out there, grab one if you happen to see one sitting on a store shelf.

 

Winery history

Our winemaking goal is to produce wines that best capture the distinct flavor and character of a given vineyard site.  To that end, we focus on sites that provide us with exceptional fruit.  We are fanatical in our protection of the vineyard flavor and are determined not to let any overt winemaking components mute the personality of an individual site.

 

In the cellar, we vinifiy each wine separately by block, clone and barrel type in order to maximize the individual components and provide greater complexity to the final blend.  This approach also provides us with much more flexibility in crafting a wine using only the best and most harmonious lots.

 

Given that the majority of our wines are single vineyard offerings, it is critical for us to maintain the site’s individual character in order to provide you with a truly diverse offering of wines.  To that end:

 

  • We believe in minimal intervention, “gentle” winemaking.  In other words, we let the wine make itself.  We do not want to do anything to the wine that isn’t absolutely necessary.
  • We believe in bottling our wines unfiltered and unfined whenever possible, convinced as we are that fining and filtering strip wines of flavor and character.
  • We believe that the best wines express their origins.  Our goal is not to produce the world’s best Syrah or Zinfandel but rather to produce the very best wine from a given site.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The soothing and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, warm baking spices, licorice, dried herbs, tobacco, dark chocolate and some red raspberries.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and tart acidity.  Spicy, peppery berries grab the palate initially with dried herbs and dark chocolate coming in on the mid palate.  The finish has decent length highlighted by tart red raspberries.  This has much brighter acidity than your usual California zin, which obscures any richness that may be present.  With the good tannins and abundant acidity, this should last in the cellar and improve for several years.  (90 pts)

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2004 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon – $19.79

 

My comments

Something I knew way back but forgot was that 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.

 

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 NapaValley firmly on the world stage.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very open and inviting nose has cassis, cedar, Asian spices, dried herbs, tobacco, black cherries, minerals, and fresh wild flowers.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate is greeted by loads of sweet, juicy berries, spicy oak, and dried herbs, with some cherry coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long and full of spicy, sweet, cherries and berries, with a touch of excess oak peeking through.  The bit of excess oak on the finish is minor since there is plenty of sweet fruit.  This is pure Napa Valley and would never be mistaken as a French Bordeaux.  (91 pts)

2004 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

I selected the Freemark Abbey Cabernet to pair with a pot roast.  I seared the meat and braised it low and slow for a few hours on Sunday.  I tightly wrapped the meat and reserved the broth.  On Tuesday, I skimmed the fat off the broth and brought it back to a boil.  I cooked the carrots, potatoes, and onions in the broth until they were tender.  After removing them, I cooked some egg noodles.  While everything else was cooking, I cut the roast into chunks and removed the larger clumps of fat.  Lastly, I put the meat into the hot broth to reheat it.  Here is the finished product:

Pot Roast

 

 

 

2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $18.56

 

My comments

This was a new winery for me last year.  Since that time, I met the owner/wine maker Anne Ebenretier Hubatch when she returned to her home state of Wisconsin.  After tasting through close to a dozen of her wines, I became convinced this is an up and coming winery to keep an eye on.

 

Winery history

Helioterra Wines is a small, artisan producer of Northwest wines made at an urban winery in SE Portland, Oregon.

 

Our wines are pretty, elegant and graceful in style.  Winemaker Anne Ebenretier Hubatch partners with exceptional regional vineyard growers to craft wines that demonstrate the best that the Northwest offers.

 

The name draws on geological inspirations, symbolizing Heliolite, the Oregon state gemstone (more commonly known as Sun Stone.)  Helio and Terra combine the Greek words for sun and earth, natural partners for grape growing.

 

For more information, I highly recommend checking out their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light ruby red color.  The soft and feminine nose has cherries, minerals, damp earth, underbrush, strawberry, baking spices, smoke, and a faint, pleasing herbal note.  This has light to medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate features spicy, earthy, cherries with nice minerality.  The finish has very nice length with the cherries carrying the major load and the faint herbal note once again coming into play.  This is a lighter body, nuanced style of Pinot, leaning more towards Burgundy than California.  (92 pts)

2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2002 Château Potensac – $18.99

 

My comments

This is a winery I generally turn to for a reasonably priced week night, Bordeaux.  The wines are generally very reflective of the vintage, and are usually well made and very enjoyable without breaking the bank.

 

Winery history

Chateau Potensac is owned by the Delon family.  They are better known for their famous property in St. Julien, Leoville Las Cases.  Located in the Haut Medoc appellation, and Chateau Nenin in Pomerol.  Chateau Potensac has been in the Delon family hands for several generations.  The grandfather of Jean Hubert Delon obtained the estate through marriage, when he married into the Liquard family.  From that time on, Chateau Potensac has been passed down from father to son.

 

The 53 hectare, Bordeaux wine vineyard of Chateau Potensac consists of gravel based soils with patches of clay.  The vineyard is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc with vines that are on average, 30 years of age.  The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 8,000 vines per hectare.  Over the past several years, in an effort to add softness to the wine, slowly but surely, more Merlot has been added to the vineyards of Chateau Potensac.  Chateau Potensac is vinified in a combination of temperature controlled, stainless steel vats and concrete tanks.  The wines are aged in barrels passed down from Clos du Marquis for between 14 and 16 months, depending on the character and style of the vintage.

 

There is a second wine, La Chapelle Potensac.

 

The wines of Potensac are structured, firm and often display an austere quality, especially in their youth.  Chateau Potensac is the perfect wine for fans of old school, classic Bordeaux wine making.

 

Winery info from the Wine Cellar Insider since the winery’s website is “under construction”.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby, much lighter at the edge.  The seductive nose has cassis, cedar, melted licorice, dried herbs, warm baking spices, cherries, minerals, leather, and tobacco.  This has a medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features nice fruit and dried herbs, with a healthy dollop of spicy oak.  The finish has decent length with the spicy oak laced fruit carrying most of the load.  Not a show stopper, but a nice wine for the vintage.  This can probably last another year or two in the cellar, but I’d be afraid this would become too oaky if much more fruit subsides.  As is, a nice week night Bordeaux.  (87 pts)

2002 Château Potensac

 

 

***** 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

I received a couple bottles from Riverbench and a sampler set from Trione.  Reviews of these wines will be posted when I sample them, probably in the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Top 10 QPR Wines of 2012

 

 

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 2012.  I selected only bottles of wine that I purchased in 2012.  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.

 

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.  As an added bonus, I included five wines with an average value of $20.00 to $25.00.  Like I mentioned earlier, since the price listed is the “average” price, you may be able to find some of these for under $20.

 

Unfortunately, the average price of a couple wines in my list had their average price creep over $20 in the last week.  Instead of removing them, I left them on the list since with low “ownership” wines, one person paying suggested price can skew the average.

 

QPR

 

 

10 – 2009 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Volcano Ridge – $13.56

 

My comments

This was a new one for me in 2012.  I bought one bottle, tried it, and had to load up.  I think this one will improve a bit with some cellar time and drink well for a couple of years.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted about 2 hours.  The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  Blackberries, Asian spices, licorice, cracked black peppercorns, plums, cherries, eucalyptus, underbrush, cherry, and a hint of smoked meat on the very nice and open nose.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Loads of spicy fruit on the palate that is not raisiny or syrupy.  Ripe but not overly so, walking the fine line.  Nice length on the finish which does show a bit of spicy oak.  Tasty now, but a bit more cellar time may be rewarded.  (90 pts)

Brassfield Eruption

 

 

 

9 – 2011 Villa Creek Pink – $15.10

 

My comments

This is one of my perennial summer Rosé wines.  This one is generally good with a light dinner on a warm day, or just a cool beverage to tame some Summer heat.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice looking pinkish salmon color.  The very crisp and clean nose has strawberries, white peaches, cherries, Asian spices, citrus zest, and a touch of earthiness.  Light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness makes for a very nice palate on a warm evening.  The palate has nice crisp, sweet fruit and spices with some earthiness lurking in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the fruit and spice slowly giving way to a touch of mouthwatering, citrusy acidity.  This is a very nice Rose with or without food.  (91 pts)

VC Pink

 

 

 

8 – 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico – $22.45

 

My comments

This was suggested to me by a friend at my local wine store as one to try.  I did, and as usual, he was right.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, ruby red color.  The very nice and pleasing nose has plums, black cherries, baking spices, underbrush, dried herbs, and fresh flowers.  This is barely medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with plenty of acidity holding everything together very nicely.  The finish has very nice length with red fruit, spice, and nice earthiness.  A very nice Chianti Classico, I need to pick up some more.  (91 pts)

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

 

 

 

7 – 2008 Core Grenache Santa Barbara County – $16.43

 

My comments

A top notch winery, a high quality region, and one of my favorite grapes, how could I not love it?

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a garnet red color.  The very intriguing nose has cherries, Asian spices, plums, dried leafy herbs, meat juices, leather, white pepper, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  This has solid fruit and spice on the plush and velvety palate.  The palate leans heavily on the tart cherries and Asian spices, but the pepper, plums, and pepper spread out to totally envelope the palate in flavor.  The long, lingering finish echoes the palate with the spicy, cherries and a touch of earthiness seeming to never totally fade.  This is a fantastic value that should find a place in your cellar.  This can be enjoyed over the next 4 to 5 years.  (91 pts)

2008 Core Grenache Santa Barbara County

 

 

 

6 – 2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau – $14.47

 

My comments

I used to drink a ton of this wine, but for some reason, probably price, I moved on to other wines.  My local wine store had this at a great price so I had to grab a few bottles, I’m glad I did since it is as good as ever.

 

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

 

 

 

5 – 2008 Treasure Hunter Cabernet Franc Catch 22 – $19.33

 

My comments

This is a Negociant that buys excess juice from wineries, sometimes does some blending, bottles it and sells it for a fraction of the price the original winery would have charged.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very interesting and inviting nose has blackberries, dried herbs, licorice, black cherry, baking spices, cigar tobacco, dark chocolate, cedar, and some violets.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a fair amount of upfront berries and black cherry with dried herbs and spices, slowly a nice hit of dark chocolate creeps in on the backend.  The finish has decent length and leans more toward the dried herbs and dark chocolate with the fruit playing more of a supporting role in the background.  This is a fantastic, young wine for under $20.  I’m going to try and hold off opening another for a few months, but it will be tough.  (92 pts)

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22

 

 

 

4 – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $18.46

 

My comments

This is another of the Rosé wines I load up on before Summer rolls around.  This one usually has a bit more acidity than the Villa Creek Pink (#9 above).

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, light, pinkish salmon color.  Minerals, strawberry, white pepper, melons, orange zest, and a bit of dusty earthiness on the very appealing nose.  This has light body with crisp acidity.  This is a very dry rose with nice minerality and fruit with the white pepper and citrus making an appearance on the back end.  Nice, lingering, mouthwatering finish. The real deal. Even those who like a crisp French Rose will find pleasure in this wine.  (92 pts)

Bedrock Rose

 

 

 

3 – 2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT – $18.02

 

My comments

This is another wine I used to buy in large volumes but avoided when the price crept up.  The local store featured this for an outstanding price and I ended up getting well over a case to enjoy over the next few years.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The elegant nose has blackberries, plums, smoke, dried herbs, vanilla, black cherries, wild flowers and minerals.  This is medium body with silky, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  There is nice layered fruit, spice, and dried herbs on the palate with just a touch of earthiness in the background.  This has nice length on the finish which shows spicy berries.  Very nice.  (92 pts)

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT

 

 

 

2 – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Casa Santinamaria – $17.89

 

My comments

I joined the Bedrock mailing list to get their red wines, but thus far I have preferred their Rosé and whites.  The Bedrock red wines need some cellar time, but their whites, like this one are outstanding and offer fantastic value.  This is composed of Muscadelle, Chasselas, Zinfandel, Semillon, and even a little bit of Chardonnay.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow/straw color.  This ha a very intriguing nose with apples, pears, peach, minerals, white pepper, citrus zest, a very nice floral note and just a bit of an herbal note.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness.  This has luscious, juicy fruit on the palate with citrus, herbal notes and a bit of white pepper in the background.  This very unusual blend is very unique and delicious.  This is another winning white wine from Bedrock.  (92 pts)

Casa Santinamaria

 

 

 

1 – 2007 Core Hard Core – $20.16

 

My comments

This is a blend of 37% Mourvèdre, 33% Cabernet, 26% Syrah and 4% Grenache, and that add up to 100% delicious!  I’m not sure if Dave Corey still has any of this and what his current price is, I was able to load up during a sale on Invino.  This wine is just entering a nice drinking window.  Thankfully I still have some in the cellar to enjoy over the next few years.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The captivating nose has black cherry, smoked meat, black pepper, cassis, vanilla, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness and cedar.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is rich and spicy on the palate with layers of flavors popping in, including nice dark chocolate and espresso grounds elements.  This has a fairly long finish full of fruit and dark chocolate with some nice, spicy oak and earthiness adding to the enjoyment.  This is an outstanding effort that will reward additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

Hard Core

 

 

 

Bonus – Five wines from $20.00 to $25.00

 

 

 

11 – 2007 Core Tempranillo C3 Reserve – $21.40

 

My comments

I’m a big fan of Spanish Tempranillo wines, but other than Villa Creek’s Mas de Maha, which is a blend with a fair amount of Tempranillo, most from California haven’t been noteworthy.  Finally, an outstanding California Tempranillo wine!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a slightly hazy deep ruby color.  The wine has an exotic and exciting nose full of cherries, black raspberries, well worn leather, earthy underbrush, baking spices, licorice, and dried herbs.  This has a medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is loaded with tart cherries, raspberries, and baking spices up front with some earthiness and dried herbs in the background adding nice depth and complexity.   The finish is fairly long and full of juicy fruit and spice that slowly gives way to dried herbs and a touch of earthiness.  This is still very young and with the abundance of fruit, acidity, and tannins, some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  One of the better California Tempranillo wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.  (93 pts)

2007 Core Tempranillo C3 Reserve

 

 

 

12 – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.17

 

My comments

How about that the third Bedrock wine to make my QPR list, and like the two previous entries, it is not a red.  This is the second vintage in a row that this wine was a killer value.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright straw color with glints of green and gold.  This has a fresh and refreshing nose full of apples, white peaches, stony minerals, citrus zest, eucalyptus, fresh cut grass, with a nice floral note.  This is light to medium body with crisp, citrusy, acidity.  This is bright and very lively with the fruit, citrus, and herbal notes taking turns enticing the palate.  The finish is fairly long with the eucalyptus making an appearance to lend a savory element to the fruit and citrus.  No hurry on this one, it should easily last a few years in the cellar, but as soon as you finish a bottle you will be drawn to open another.  (92 pts)

Bedrock SB

 

 

 

13 – 2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $22.89

 

My comments

This was another new find for me in 2012.  I bought a few bottles of Helioterra wine based on a recommendation during a “Berserkers Day” event.  If you don’t know what a “Berserker Day” is, visit Wine Berserkers.

 

My Tasting Note

From a bottle that had been opened but not decanted for about 4 hours.  The wine is a very light, transparent ruby color.  This has cherry, wet earth, underbrush, baking spices, and a hint of a soft, herbal note on the soft, delicate, but very inviting nose.  The wine has light to medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice spicy, earthy cherries on the palate with a very pleasing faint herbal note in the background.  There is decent length on the finish which may fill out with some additional cellar time.  My first exposure to Helioterra, but this will not be my last.  (92 pts)

2010 Helioterra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

14 – 2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvee 32” – $21.81

 

My comments

This is one of my favorite “Super Tuscan” wines coming out of California.  A “Super Tuscan” is generally a wine from Tuscany that had a non Italian grape blended with the native Sangiovese.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  On very enticing nose there are cherries, raspberries, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice, blackberries, black pepper, and violets.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is full of tart, spicy, fruit with nice earthy elements and some pepper adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long and features tart, juicy cherries, licorice, and some earthiness.  This is a very nice “Super Tuscan” from California.  Tastes fantastic today, but this will last in the cellar for up to five years.  (91 pts)

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia Cuvee 32

 

 

 

15 – 2009 Girard Petite Sirah – $24.00

 

My comments

This is another favorite in just about every vintage.  Girard is just about as consistent with this grape as any winery in the world.  They always seem to put out an exceptional Petite Sirah at a great price.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour. The wine is a deep, dark purple color. There are blackberries, black pepper, smoke, licorice, dark chocolate, dried herbs, underbrush, and some earthiness on the dark and pleasing nose.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  There is a lot of fruit and spice on the palate with just a bit of earthiness coming in on the back end with dark chocolate and black pepper.  Nice length on the finish where the dark chocolate really kicks into high gear.  This is very young but already very nice.  (91 pts)

Girard

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

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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