Posts tagged ‘JC Cellars’

Cliffs Wine Picks – July 26, 2013 to July 28, 2013

 

 

2008 JC Cellars The Impostor

2009 McPrice Myers Roussanne No Mas James Berry Vineyard

2006 Cosentino Winery The Poet

2005 Copain Syrah McDowell Valley

2005 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 

 

 

2008 JC Cellars The Impostor – $25.73

Jeff Cohn just keeps cranking out the hits.  Since his earlier days making outstanding wines for Rosenblum, Jeff is now making the same style of wines for his own label.  These are generally full throttle, distinctive wines.

 

This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Carignane, Grenache and Viognier.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color. The very open and nice nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, dark chocolate, violets, licorice, meat juices, and a touch of earthiness. This has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity. On the palate the wine is a mouth full of juicy, peppery, berries with dark chocolate and earthy elements coming in on the back end providing extra depth. The finish is fairly long but a touch of excess oak does pop out. This is a big and rich wine that is not sweet or syrupy and has no raisiny notes.  (90 pts)

2008 JC Cellars The Impostor

 

 

 

2009 McPrice Myers Roussanne No Mas James Berry Vineyard – $25.60

This wine comes from the now famous James Berry Vineyard in Paso Robles.  This is a new wine to me.  I received this wine for the short period I belonged to the McPrice Myers mailing list.  I don’t know what to expect with their white wines, but their reds are massive and lack enough acidity to provide enough balance to suit my tastes.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright, vivid yellow color.  The very clean and fresh nose has white peach, honeysuckle, minerals, lemon zest, melon, spice, and a touch of petrol.  This has medium body, nice acidity, and maybe just a hint of sweetness.  This has good fruit on the palate up front with spice, chalky minerals, and citrus on the back end.  The finish has decent length but it did leave me wanting just a touch more.  Overall, a very nice California Roussanne with a good balance between the fruit and savory elements.  It could have used a touch more acidity mainly on the midpalate, but the finish shows good acidity.  (88 pts)

2009 McPrice Myers Roussanne No Mas James Berry Vineyard

 

 

 

2006 Cosentino Winery The Poet – $28.49

Cosentino was a winery we always visited when we were in wine country.  After falling suffering through some hard times, the winery was eventually sold.  I, for one, am hoping the new owners will get the winery back on course.

This is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very appealing nose has cassis, cigar box, dried herbs, licorice, cherries, baking spice, and some minerality.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate spicy fruit and toasty oak lead off the show with some cherries and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length and again is supported by the fruit and oak.  This is drinking nicely today as long as a bit of oak doesn’t bother you.  This is not made in a big rich style that has become popular with a lot of California Cabernets and blends, this wine needs food.  (91 pts)

2006 Cosentino Winery The Poet

 

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah McDowell Valley – $35.00

This wine was a one off wine for Copain.  I’m sure this fell victim to a change in philosophy.  A few years ago, the winery made a stylistic change away from big, ripe wines to ones that were lower alcohol and more nuanced.  I was a big fan of their old style and am glad I still have a healthy stash of these older wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The stunning nose is full of blackberries, minerals, roasted herbs, white pepper, warm baking spices, smoked meat, violets, blueberries, and a healthy dose of earthiness.  This has fairly full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spice jump out first, quickly followed by roasted herbs, pepper, and meaty elements.  On the back end some nice earthiness comes into the picture.  The finish has very good length and showcases the minerality.  This is a big and rich wine showing a lot of ripeness but it also has nice tannins and acidity to give it good balance.  Not a lot of subtlety but a very tasty glass of wine.  (92 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah McDowell Valley

 

 

 

2005 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape – $26.99

I’m looking forward to trying this wine again.  I sampled it soon after it was released and liked it enough to grab a couple bottles, figuring I could stock up down the road.  That plan was blasted when the wine was named #32 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2007.  I guess I’ll just have to be thankful I was able to grab a couple bottles before it disappeared from store shelves.

 

The usual blend for this wine is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault, and minute amounts of Counoise, Vaccarèse, Muscardin, Terret Noir, and Picpoul Noir.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep and dark ruby color.  The very inviting nose has raspberry, cherry, minerals, roasted herbs, smoked meat, baking spices, dried earth, white pepper, and brined black olives.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate red and black fruit, minerals, and roasted herbs carry the load early with meaty elements, pepper, and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and layered.  This is drinking very nicely right now,  but is still on the young side with plenty of upside potential.  (93 pts)

2005 Clos du Mont-Olivet Chateauneuf-du-Pape

 

 

 

I grilled a bacon wrapped Pork Tenderloin to go with the Olivet CdP.  This made a wonderful pairing with the smoky bacon and juicy pork matching up nicely with the wine.  The secret is to cook the meat on indirect heat until it is about 140 degrees.  Putting it over the hot coals to crisp up the bacon will raise the temperature of the pork to about 155 to 160 degrees leaving it very flavorful and juicy.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with bacon

 

 

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.

 

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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!

 

Jan 11, 2013 to Jan 13, 2013

 

 

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch – $23.74

 

My comments

JC Cellars is a consistent producer of high quality, full bodied red wine and rich whites.  I grabbed a few bottles of this wine at an end-of-vintage sale at the local wine store.  I think it’s time to open one to see what I have.

 

Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago.  As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.

 

Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & WalesUniversity, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from FloridaInternationalUniversity.

 

Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing.  The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal.  The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.

 

With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream.  He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from CaliforniaStateUniversity, Fresno in 1996.  It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir.  “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school.  “It was a shocker.  To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”

 

For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The big and bold nose had blackberries, black pepper, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, underbrush, melted licorice, and wood smoke.  This has a full body, solid, chewy tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has an overload of ripe, juicy berries, pepper, dark chocolate and ground espresso.  The finish is fairly long and again, like the palate, is loaded with flavor.  The big, mouth coating tannins really kick in on the finish but the fruit and spice still shine through.  If you are not tannin adverse, this can be enjoyed now, if not, let this one sleep for a couple more years.  (93 pts)

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $23.74

 

My comments

The Two Hands wines have been favorites in my house for several years.  The Garden series wines are usually excellent, but have escalated in price.  To me, the second level of the Two Hands wines are the real sweet spot in their lineup.  High quality wines at relatively bargain prices.

 

Winery history (Core Values)

Quality without compromise is central to the Two Hands philosophy, driving all the decisions from fruit and oak selection to packaging and promotion.

 

We strive to differentiate ourselves; to be unique, fun and innovative in our business approach while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and integrity.

 

Our wines are made by a process of barrel classification – selecting the very best barrels for the Flagship range followed by Garden Series then our Picture Series.  This is achieved by sourcing the best parcels of fruit available to us from six premium regions within Australia.

 

We handle every parcel of fruit, however small, separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation to ensure complexity and personality in the finished wines.

 

Fruit will be the primary feature of all our wines, with oak playing a supporting role.

 

Much more information available at:  http://www.twohandswines.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky, purple color.  The burly nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, plums, meat juices, black pepper, Asian spices, minerals, melted licorice, charcoal, and fresh wild flowers.  The wine is medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there are loads of spicy, smoky, meaty berries with plums and dark chocolate coming in on the back end to add even more depth.  The finish is long, juicy, and flavorful.  A seamless, balanced, full flavored Shiraz with no rough edges.  Enjoyable now and for the next five years.  (94 pts)

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

 

 

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel – $39.99

 

My comments

I grabbed a couple of these upon release and have been sitting on them for a few years.  This is the flagship wine from one of the highest quality producers and a fantastic vintage, how could this not be outstanding?  Well, opening it too early is the best way to have a less than stellar showing.  I hope I waited long enough.

 

Winery history

Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community’s leading families, the Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands.  They had since the 1970s believed the California climate to be ideal for planting Rhône varietal grapes.  In 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World.  The Tablas Creek Vineyard Partnership was born, with the Perrin and Haas families as majority partners, and French and American wine loving friends as minority partners.

 

The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal VenturaCounty in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel.  In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in west Paso Robles.  They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.

 

The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel.  Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity.

 

Much more history and info available at:  http://www.tablascreek.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has blackberry, eucalyptus, kirsch, cherry, flower laden potpourri, minerals, licorice, Asian spices, and just a touch of underbrush.  This is medium to full body, with solid tannins and very good acidity.  Nice, bright, spicy fruit on the palate with minerals and a touch of mint.  The finish is very long and satisfying.  Not a big, in your face style of wine, this could very easily be slipped into a CdP tasting and not be out of place.  This is still on the young side, but still very tasty.  (95 pts)

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel

 

 

 

2008 Saviah Cellars Une Vallée Walla Walla Valley – $31.76

 

My comments

This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon Pepper Bridge and McClellan Vineyards, 38% Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, and 6% Cabernet Franc.

 

I bought one of these at the local store to try upon release, and immediately went back for more as soon as we opened the bottle.  It was very young but equally as impressive.  Time to see if a couple years in the cellar will be rewarded.

 

Winery history

Saviah Cellars is a family-owned and operated artisan winery located in the acclaimed Walla WallaValley of southeastern Washington.  The winery specializes in producing small quantities of ultra-premium wines that showcase the remarkable qualities of Washington’s finest vineyards.  Founded in 2000, the winery’s first vintage was only 300 cases.  Today, the winery produces approximately 9,500 cases of wine per year.

 

Winemaker Richard Funk and his wife Anita, both natives of Montana, moved to Walla Walla in 1991.  The name Saviah is a family name from Anita’s great-grandmother, a schoolteacher, artist and author, who settled in western Montana in the early 1900s.

 

The family’s heritage is also reflected in its Star Meadows white wine, the location of the original family homestead, its Une Vallée® red wine inspired by the current family homestead called “OneValley”, and its Big Sky Cuvée® in honor of their Montana roots.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The very nice nose has plums, cassis, dying wood embers, dried herbs, cherries, minerals, cedar, dark chocolate, and warm baking spices.  This has medium body with nice tannins and good acidity.  This has a nice melding of the fruit and savory notes on the palate with nothing appearing over bearing and omnipresent, just layers of flavor.  The finish is fairly long and again with no rough ends or out of place elements.  This is just entering a very nice drinking window and with the outstanding balance, should show well for several years.  (92 pts)

2008 Saviah Cellars Une Vallee

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

Still receiving a lot of “save the date” messages, but not much in the way of releases…yet.

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Picked these up at the local wine store:

(3) 2009 Chateau Des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape

(3) 2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

(6) 2007 Von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese

(3) 2009 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Sommelongue

(6) 2009 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Sabrine

(3) 2009 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Fayard

 

Not bad, two cases with an average price of under $11 a bottle.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Dec 14, 2012 to Dec 16, 2012

 

 

2007 JC Cellars Smoke and Mirrors – $15.19

 

My comments

I grabbed a few bottles of this wine at the local store when they had it on sale.  The blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Zinfandel sounded right up my alley and the $15 price sealed the deal.  The first few bottles were consistent, really big wines that could use a jolt of acidity to help hold them together.  This is my last bottle from the purchase and since we went out for dinner and were just looking for a bottle to relax at home, this seemed like a good one to pull, since to me, this falls into the category of a cocktail wine.

 

Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago. As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.

 

Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & WalesUniversity, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from FloridaInternationalUniversity.

 

Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing. The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal. The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.

 

With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream. He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from CaliforniaStateUniversity, Fresno in 1996. It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir. “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school. “It was a shocker. To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”

 

For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html

My Tasting Note

The wine is an inky maroon color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, blueberries, smoke, charcoal, baking spices, black pepper, vanilla, plums, smoked meat, and some earthiness.  This is fairly full bodied with solid tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the tannins struggle to hold the wine together and could use a bit more acidity to be successful.  The wine gets a bit too big an unwieldy at times but is loaded with fruit and spice.  This is more of a cocktail wine than something to serve with dinner.  (86 pts)

2007 JC Cellars Smoke and Mirrors

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast – $28.49

 

My comments

The Two Hands line of wines are a favorite in my house.  This will be my first Two Hands Cabernet since all past bottles have been Shiraz, Grenache, or blends.  I was able to grab a couple bottles of this at a close out sale at the local wine store.  I’m looking forward to seeing (tasting) what Michael Twelftree can do with Cabernet.

 

Winery history (Core Values)

Quality without compromise is central to the Two Hands philosophy, driving all the decisions from fruit and oak selection to packaging and promotion.

 

We strive to differentiate ourselves; to be unique, fun and innovative in our business approach while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and integrity.

 

Our wines are made by a process of barrel classification – selecting the very best barrels for the Flagship range followed by Garden Series then our Picture Series.  This is achieved by sourcing the best parcels of fruit available to us from six premium regions within Australia.

 

We handle every parcel of fruit, however small, separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation to ensure complexity and personality in the finished wines.

 

Fruit will be the primary feature of all our wines, with oak playing a supporting role.

 

Much more information available at:  http://www.twohandswines.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The outstanding nose features blackberries, black plums, Asian spices, black pepper, melted licorice, eucalyptus, earthy elements, and vanilla.  This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the mouth filling palate, loads of fruit and spice fill the mouth with a solid wall of unrelenting flavor right through the long, lingering finish.  This is a big, flavor filled wine that has enough tannin and acidity to deftly hold everything together.  Not a delicate and nuanced wine.  This is a love it or hate it wine, I’m on the love it side.  (92 pts)

2010 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock – $49.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of BigBasin for a few years now.  I should say up front, I have only had their non Pinot Noir wines.  Their big reds are generally fairly full bodied but very balanced.  I think they are one big score from a major wine publication away from hitting the big time.

 

Winery history

Our mission is to create wines that reveal the complex nuances of the vineyards that inspire them – cool climate, ocean-influenced, mountain vineyards.  To this end, we spend long hours in our vineyard to insure that the grapes we grow represent the fullest expression of the vineyard and vintage.  We believe in and employ sustainable and organic farming practices.  The steep hillsides, cooling ocean breezes and fog, and mountain soils promote the development of color and complex flavors.  By keeping the yields very low and harvesting small sections of the vineyard at perfect ripeness, we strive to achieve the most important part of winemaking – great fruit.

 

Much more information available at:  http://bigbasinvineyards.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color, almost black.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, plums, minerals, dying charcoal embers, smoked meat, black pepper, dark chocolate, vanilla, and violets.  This is full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The palate is highlighted by nice, mineral laden, spicy, fruit with a touch of earthiness.  The long finish has the fruit slowly giving way to the minerals, spice, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This will probably be better in a few years, but it is delicious today, as long as solid, ripe tannins don’t bother you.  (94 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

 

 

 

*** Breaking News ***

I was honored a couple days ago by being named “The Nicest Person in Social Media”.  This was a promotion sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal.  They worked with Sysomos Monitoring to find the “nicest” person and present them with “coal” for Christmas.

 

Here is a shot of me getting my “coal” from Santa as well as a new grill and accessories.

Be-Nice-Get-Coal-004-JPG2-225x300

 

The promotion includes a way to enter yourself or a friend into a drawing to also win “coal”.

 

The story and more information is available at:  http://www.grilling.com/benicegetcoal/

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Nothing new to report in this area.  This is generally the quiet time.  Activity will pick up in early January.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

The following winery direct wines arrived this week:

2010 Loring Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Russell Family Vineyard

2011 Loring Wine Company Grenache Russell Family Vineyard

2010 Sandler Wine Company Grenache Chalone Boer Vineyard

2010 Sandler Wine Company Syrah Connell Vineyard

2010 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

 

This one was a gift from a friend:

2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah White Label (extended barrel age) Westerhold Vineyard

 

Purchased from a local wine store:

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

 

 

 

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!

 

Oct 15, 2012 to Oct 18, 2012

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $26.59

 

My comments

I’d be hard pressed to pick my favorite Zinfandel based blend coming out of California between Ridge’s Geyserville and their Lytton Springs.  These are both wines that taste pretty good upon release, but transform into something magical with some cellar time.  These are generally not the type of zins that grab you by the throat and club you over the head.  These are much more refined and elegant.

 

Winery history

The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility. At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard.”

 

In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s. From these vines — now the “middle vineyard”— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of “estate” cabernet. That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California’s finest wines of the era. Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and ’61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage.

 

The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres. Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership. A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist. His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward “hands off” approach pioneered at Ridge. Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established. Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour.  The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The wonderful and fully open nose has brambly berries, freshly cracked black peppercorns, licorice, baking spices, black cherries, with hints of underbrush, vanilla, grilled meat, and just a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The finish is fairly long with nice fruit giving way fairly quickly to the more savory elements.  There is a touch of excess oak peeking through towards the end, but it should better integrate with a bit more cellar time.  This is an outstanding Geyserville that will drink nicely through the end of the decade.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2008 JC Cellars The Impostor – $25.73

 

My comments

This is a blend of  Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Carignane, Grenache and Viognier.

 

Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago. As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.

 

Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & WalesUniversity, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from FloridaInternationalUniversity.

 

Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing. The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal. The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.

 

With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream. He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from CaliforniaStateUniversity, Fresno in 1996. It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir. “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school. “It was a shocker. To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”

 

For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The big and bold nose has brambly berries, black pepper, smoked meat, licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, and violets.  This is fairly full bodied with big, solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the juicy, ripe, peppery berries lead the full throttle charge with nice savory elements providing depth and help to balance out the fruit.  The finish has nice length, again with a nice fruit to savory mix.  This is big and ultra ripe, but does not come across as overly alcoholic, sweet, or raisiny.  A very nice and successful balancing act.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast – $20.00

 

My comments

To me, Morgan Twain-Peterson from Bedrock is trying to follow playbook written by Mike Officer at Carlisle.  The playbook is fairly simple, offer outstanding, personality filled wine at good prices.  Though relatively new to the game, Bedrock is following the playbook to perfection.  Bedrock has one upped Carlisle in one regard, besides their outstanding red wines, they put out some of the best white wines being produced at reasonable prices in the state.

 

Winery history

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop. Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.

 

The winery’s objectives are:

 

.  To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.

.  To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the NorthCoast.

.  To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.

.  To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.

.  To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.

.  To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.

.  To dream big but keep production low!

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about an hour.  The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The very open and inviting nose has blackberries, smoke, charcoal, cocoa powder, grilled meat, black pepper, roasted herbs, leather, and some blueberry.  This is medium to full bodied with sold tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a big fruit and spice component with grilled meat, dried herbs, dark chocolate, and baking spice adding depth and loads of complexity.  The finish is fairly long and leans heavily on the savory elements with the fruit in the background.  This is still young and evolving but very tasty.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard Co. – $18.21

 

My comments

This wine’s normal price is in the $45 to $49 range, which I feel is WAY too high.  The community average price in CellarTracker for this wine is over $28, which is again pushing the limit.  Luckily I was able to grab half a case for well under $20.  That makes it a good Napa Valley Cab at a price that won’t break the bank when consumed on a week night, especially for an aged Cabernet is in its’ prime drinking window.

 

I’ve had a couple bottles that I liked and rated 89-90 points.

 

Winery history

Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery was founded in 1881 by Henry Hagen. One of their wines won a Silver Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889. At that time, Cedar Knoll was one of Napa’s premier wineries. The winery was a victim of Prohibition and was closed for close to 80 years. Cedar Knoll is now owned by the Palmaz family. They have resurrected the vineyards and restored the original Hagen house. The vineyards occupy 55 acres and are located just northeast of the city of Napa.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color, much lighter at the edge.  On the fairly straight forward nose there is cassis, cedar, dried herbs, tobacco, raspberries, smoke and a touch of cherry and leather.  This is medium body with soft, integrated tannins and good acidity.  Nice sweet fruit on the palate with dried herbs and spicy oak coming through on the backend.  Nice length on the finish which shows more of the savory side with the fruit just providing a touch of sweetness.  Drinking nicely now, but I’d probably lean towards drinking over the next year or two before the fruit fades and leaves the oak component as the dominant element.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

It’s shipping season so most mailing lists have already been completed.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

I received a 5 bottle sampler pack from The Seeker Wines.

 

Set included:

2010 California Chardonnay (unoaked!)

2011 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

2011 French Pinot Noir

2010 Argentina Malbec

2011 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

 

These will be sampled in the next couple of weeks.  They will be the subject of their own blog posting.  I’m looking forward to giving these a try.

 

 

 

 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!

 

August 24, 2012 to August 26, 2012

 

 

 

This end of the week was a bit light, wine wise.  We left for vacation on Saturday morning, so we dialed down the wine list a bit.

 

 

2009 Girard Petite Sirah Napa Valley – $17.09

This has been a long time favorite of mine.  My consumption has declined over the last few vintages as the price escalated.  My local store loaded up and offered the wine at a killer price via their e-mail list, so I had to “back up the truck”.

 

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)

 

 

 

2007 JC Cellars Smoke and Mirrors – $15.19

We’ve had this wine a few times over the last several months.  To me, it has always been a bit of a disappointment.  This is a wine that could really use a big injection of tannins and acidity.  As is, I figured this would be a nice wine to sip in a hotel after 800 miles on the road.

 

This is a deep, dark garnet to maroon color. There are blackberries, blueberries, plums, vanilla, black pepper and smoked meat on the nose dark and brooding nose.  The wine is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and marginal acidity.  This is a bit out of balance on the palate with loads of fruit and tannins but very soft acidity.  This is more of a party/cocktail wine than something to serve with anything more than a cheese/sausage plate.  This is tasty but a bit too flabby.  (86 pts)

 

 

 

2009 Clayhouse Vineyard Cuvée Blanc Red Cedar Vineyard – $22.99

I tried this about a few weeks ago as part of my review of a Super Flight Sampler from TastingRoom.com.  To me, based on the taste, this was a wine I had to buy.  Luckily, the Super Flight Sampler included two pre-paid bottles.  I selected two bottles of this wine.  This is a blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Rousanne, and 20% Viognier from Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a very pale yellow to straw color, just a step or two about water.  This has a very interesting nose of apples, white peaches, minerals, white pepper, pears, orange zest, and a lively floral note.  The wine is medium body at most with very nice acidity,  The wine is initially has a silky, soft, impact on the palate with the apples, spice, and white peach elements dominating, but then the other hammer drops and white pepper and citrus kick in adding immensely.  A nice, lingering finish with all the elements in perfect harmony.  This is a very interesting California version of a French white Chateauneuf.  I like this wine, a lot!  (92 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Jean Edwards Cellars

This is the home of some fantastic Napa Valley 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.

 

 

 

#CabernetDay

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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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