Posts tagged ‘Klinker Brick Syrah Farrah’

Cliffs Wine Picks – July 21, 2014 to July 27, 2014

 

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley – $18.99

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.

 

The wine has 15.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

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 a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins, and very good 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 zinfandel, which nicely balances the richness.  With the good tannins and abundant acidity, this should last in the cellar and potentially improve for several years.  (91 pts)

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

2010 Novy Family Wines Zinfandel Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita – $12.82

This is a kitchen sink blend of these grapes: Auxerrois 0.6%, Chardonnay 14%, Gewurztraminer 3%, Marsanne 2.9%, Pinot Blanc 10.8%, Pinot Gris 7.7%, Riesling 37.6%, Roussanne 3.7%, Vermentino 8.7% and Viognier 11%.

 

This has 13.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a yellow to straw color with just a touch of initial effervescence.  The very open and appealing nose has honey dipped apples, crushed stone minerals, melon, pineapple, orange blossoms, peaches, lime zest, caramel and just a touch of spice.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a touch of sweetness.  On the palate apples, honey and pineapple jump out first with minerals and melon coming in on the mid-palate.  On the back end tart lime zest pops out to balance out the slight sweetness.  The finish has nice length with nice balance between the citrusy acidity and sweetness.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but is perfect with a slightly spicy dish or to just sip on a warm evening.  (89 pts)

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita

2011 Anne Amie Cuvée A Amrita

 

 

 

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie – $19.66

This 100% Sauvignon Blanc comes from a 22 hectare vineyard that is composed of geological formations dating back to the Cretaceous Period.  The flint-rich siliceous clay soil gives the Sauvignon Blanc grape its taste of gunflint.  The winery uses environmentally friendly methods that are adapted to suit the terroir.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow with a slight straw tint.  The clean and refreshing nose has green apples, chalky minerality, lemon zest, lime and a slight herbal note.  This is barely medium body with crisp acidity and just a hit of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, lime and minerals jump out first with lemon zest coming in on the back end.  The finish has very good length with an herbal note joining the party.  This has plenty of citrusy acidity to hold the slight sweetness in check.  I really like this wine.  (92 pts)

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie

2012 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie

 

 

 

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.99

I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines.  If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.

 

This wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old.  Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.

 

In the nineties, the family began to market their zinfandel in the bulk wine market, selling to a number of prestigious, benchmark producers of Zinfandel in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

 

In 2000, Steve and Lori produced their first vintage of Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel.  They continue to produce wine from all of the vineyard blocks, culling only the very best lots for bottling Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel and designated vineyard wines.  They produced their first vintage of Farrah Syrah in 2001.  They have one goal…to produce world-class wine.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements.  Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar.  The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process.  Drink over the next few years and be happy.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

 

 

 

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino – $18.99

This 100% Sangiovese comes from vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, at elevations of 150-350 metres on well-exposed hillslopes south-east of Montalcino.  The wine was aged in a mix of Slavonian and French oak barrels for a minimum of 8 months followed by a minimum of 3 months of bottle aging before it is released.

 

This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The intriguing nose has cherries, dusty minerals, dried thyme, baking spices, raspberry, leather and a touch of underbrush.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  Cherries, minerals and spice initially take hold on the palate with dried thyme and leather coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This is on the young side but already showing very nicely.  (91 pts)

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

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!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – My Top 10 Value Wines of 2013

 

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 2013.  I selected only bottles of wine that I purchased in 2013.  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.  A good source for finding wines not available in your area is the winery’s website and wine-searcher.com.

 

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.

 

QPR

 

 10 – 2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese – $10.66

This wine was offered by the local wine store via a weekly e-mail offer.  It’s hard for me to pass on a German Riesling, especially one I can get for under $8.00.  As expected, I grabbed a case without even trying it.  I worked at the store for a few hours yesterday, and there was still about a half bottle sitting under the wine bar that had been opened for over 24 hours.  The wine was room temperature so I wasn’t expecting too much when I tried a taste.  I was very pleasantly surprised the wine was outstanding.  I took the bottle home so I could sample it at a better serving temperature.  I also happily took my case home and stashed it in my wine cellar.  My cost for this wine was only $7.92 a bottle.

 

My Tasting Note

This note is from a bottle that had been opened for over a day and left over night on the counter with the cork stuck back in the bottle.  The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very appealing and inviting nose has apples, honey, orange zest, Spring flowers, and a touch of petrol.  This has medium body, a fair amount of residual sugar and very nice, crisp acidity that keeps the sweetness in line.  On the palate the honeyed apples and citrus zest coat the palate but is kept from getting cloying by the citrusy acidity.  The finish is long and again full of apples, honey, and citrus.  If you like an off dry Riesling, this is top notch.  This has marvelous balance that will allow it to easily cellar for several years.  (90 pts)

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

 

 

9 – 2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc – $16.42

This was a new wine for me.  This was one of several wines the local wine store brought in just for a blow out sale.  I’ve been a big fan of Italian Barbera wines for a number of years.  These wines generally have nice, bright, red fruit with some spicy earthiness and a boat load of acidity.  These are generally one of the most food friendly wines around.  I only paid $14.24 for this wine making it an even better value.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a touch darker than ruby red.  The elegant nose has black raspberries, melted licorice, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, a touch of mint, minerals, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has rich, spicy berries up front with more spice, mint and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with the fruit turning a bit more tart and a faint herbal note coming into the picture.  This is a bit fuller body and darker fruit than your usual Barbera.  This would be good with a big, meaty pasta sauce, but may be too big and have too little acidity for a lighter marinara sauce.  This is different, but enjoyable.  (90 pts)

2008 Tre Donne Barbera d'Alba d'Arc

2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc

 

 

8 – 2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.87

I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines.  If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.

 

This wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements.  Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar.  The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process.  Drink over the next few years and be happy.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farrah

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farrah

 

 

7 – 2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard – $15.38

This is another wine I found on the shelf at the local wine store.  In my opinion, even after several fantastic vintages, the wines from the Southern Rhone represent fantastic values.  One of these days enough people are going to recognize these marvelous wines and cause price increases, until that time, I will be stocking up.  This is a blend of 50% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan.  My purchase price of $9.49 made this a steal.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, smoke, dried herbs, road tar, vanilla, wild flowers, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  Nice red and black fruit and a load of minerals coat the palate with some dried herbs, chocolate, and a bit of earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length again highlighting the mineral laden fruit and subtle earthiness.  This is drinking very nicely today and should provide a lot of good drinking over the next four to six years.  (90 pts)

2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard

2009 Domaine de Fondrèche Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Fayard

 

 

6 – 2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes – $14.25

Generally I am not a point chaser, but when the local wine store puts a new wine of the shelf with a “talker” noting a 93 point score from Robert Parker and the wine is under $15, I had to grab a bottle.  This is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was aged in concrete.  This will be my first exposure to this wine and if it approaches the level of the Wine Advocate review, I’ll be stocking up.  My purchase price for this wine was a little better than the Cellar Tracker average price, I only paid $13.29.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  The clean and refreshing nose has cherries, baking spices, eucalyptus, forest floor, tobacco, blackberries, and wild flowers.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has spicy fruit, a touch of eucalyptus, and some earthiness.  The finish has nice length and closes with a touch of dark chocolate.  Not a lot of complexity but a very tasty glass of wine to enjoy over the next few years.  (90 pts)

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

2011 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes

 

 

5 – 2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta – $9.75

I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding buying this wine, but it was probably based on a recommendation from a friend at the local wine store.  After doing a little digging, I’m thankful for the rec since it seems like it should be a good bottle of wine.

 

This has 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The exotic nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, Asian spices, dried herbs, licorice, and violets.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there is a load of berries up front but with enough savory elements on the midpalate and back end to keep this from being all about the fruit.  The finish ratchets up the minerality and dried herbs with the fruit being pushed into the background.  This is in a real nice place but there is no reason to think it won’t hold for at least a couple years.  (90 pts)

2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta

2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta

 

 

4 – 2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine – $14.73

The local store brought some of this in when the distributor was looking to clear out some wines.  I was able to get several bottles of this gem for under $10 a bottle.  Now it’s time to sample a bottle to see how long to save the remaining bottles.  My purchase price of only $9.49 a bottle made this an even bigger QPR Superstar.

 

This is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep violet color.  The dark and meaty nose has black cherries, minerals, charred meat, blackberries, licorice, potpourri, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the minerals, earth, and fruit flavors slowly give way to meaty elements.  The finish has nice length but gets a touch thin.  This is still very young and will reward another year or two in the cellar.  The time in the cellar should add some complexity and help fill out the finish.  (90 pts)

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine

 

  

 

3 – 2012 Onesta Cinsault Rosé – $18.00

This Cinsault based Rosé is a blend of 50% saignée and 50% from grapes picked specifically for the Rosé.  Saignée is simply the process of draining some of the juice out of the tank after limited skin contact.  This method is utilized to increase the body and concentration of the remaining red wine in the tank.

 

There were 300 cases produced of this wine and the alcohol is 13.5%.

 

To read more about Onesta, visit this link here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pink to salmon color.  The outstanding nose has cherries, strawberries, candied ginger, minerals, spice, and a slight herbal note as well as a slight hint of toast.  This has medium body, nice richness, and crisp acidity.  On the palate the fresh, crisp fruit shares the spotlight with nice minerals, ginger, and a nice herbal note.  The finish is long and lingering with some nice spice and the herbal note hanging around.  It seems like at least some whole clusters were utilized to add the nice herbal note which didn’t come from under ripe fruit.  This was my favorite wine from the tasting by a fairly wide margin.  (91 pts)

2012 Onesta Cinsault Rose

2012 Onesta Cinsault Rose

 

 

2 – 2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris – $17.87

This wine was supplied to me by the SIP Certified organization for me to comment on during an online, Twitter based WineChat.  For more information on the outstanding efforts of SIP (Sustainability in Practice) please visit them at:  SIP Certified

 

This bottle was my introduction to Claiborne & Churchill Vintners.  We are big fans of the dry, Oregon Pinot Gris based wines as well as the ones from the Alsace region in France.  I’m looking forward to trying this one from California’s CentralCoast.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellow with a golden tint.  The fresh smelling nose has apples, spices, melon, citrus zest, fresh Spring flowers, and a healthy dollop of minerals.  The wine is dry with a light to medium body and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine is dry but shows nice ripe and rich fruit with good citrusy acidity.  The long finish is full of nice fruit and spice.  This is a very nicely balanced wine.  Don’t serve this one too cold, cool room temperature is best.  One of the better Pinot Gris wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.  This is a SIP Certified wine, which stands for “Sustainability in Practice”.  (92 pts)

2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris

2010 Claiborne and Churchill Pinot Gris

 

 

1 – 2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio – $19.34

Every once in a while you have to grab a bottle based on a score.  Robert Parker gave this wine 95 points and the local store had a couple bottles for just a touch over $16.  Like I said, the local store “had” a few bottles.  They were rescued and placed in a new adoptive home, my wine cellar.  This is probably pretty young, but I have to check in to get an early read on where it may go in the future.  Another steal for me since I only paid $16.06 a bottle.

 

This has 15% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberry liqueur, blueberries, minerals, dying wood embers, scorched earth, baking spices, violets, and a touch of vanilla.  This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the dark berries and spice coat the palate slowly allowing some earthiness, minerals, and a floral note to break through.  The finish is long and nicely layered.  This is on the young side but it opened nicely after about 45 minutes.  (93 pts)

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

2011 Château Saint-Roch Maury Sec Kerbuccio

 

  

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 – Dec 13, 2013 to Dec 15, 2013

 

 

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2008 Keplinger Lithic

 

 

 

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard – $59.00

I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years.  A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release.  Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smoothen out and open up.

 

This wine has 13.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

At Rhys Vineyards we aspire to make great Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from some of California’s most unique and expressive vineyards.  This pursuit has lead us to search the state for exciting rocky soils that exist within the mountainous, cool, Coastal climate zone.   Over the last 15 years we have developed seven estate vineyards, six in the Santa Cruz Mountains and one in Anderson Valley, each of which is capable of producing uniquely compelling, distinctive, soil driven wine.

 

More information on Rhys is available on their website.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The sensuous nose has cherries, strawberries, baking spices, minerals, wild flowers, raspberries, and a touch of cedar.  This is barely medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Tart cherries and spice leads off on the palate with minerals, strawberries and a touch of spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has good length with bright fruit and oak driven spice carrying the load.  This is still on the young side but very tasty and food friendly.  (95 pts)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon – $40.00

For the last few years I’ve felt Big Basin was one of the wineries to keep an eye on.  I think they are one big score away from popping onto most wine drinker’s radar.  Could they become the next Saxum?  In my opinion, the sky is the limit for this winery.

 

This is a blend of 57% Santa Cruz County Syrah and 43% Monterrey County Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, with a new winery building completed in 2003.  Proprietor and wine maker Bradley Brown sources his wines from three Estate Vineyards – Rattlesnake Rock, Old Corral Block and Homestead Block.  All of the Estate vineyards are planted to Alban Selections on steep hillsides with mudstone and shale soils – 7 acres of Syrah, 2 acres of Grenache and 1 acre of Roussanne – and are farmed organically.  Additionally, Bradley works closely with Coastview Vineyard located at 2400 ft on a mountain top in the Gabilan Mountains overlooking the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay (several miles due south of Mt. Harlan).  He has contracted with the vineyard to purchase Syrah planted in 1998 and to bud over certain sections of the vineyard to Pinot Noir and Grenache (in 2008) and plant a new block to an Alban selection of Syrah.  This vineyard is also farmed organically and managed according to Bradley’s direction.  Beginning in 2006, Big Basin started making Pinot Noir sourced from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  As of 2009, Big Basin is making three different single vineyard Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains (Alfaro Family, Lester Family and Woodruff Family Vineyards), plus the Pinot from Coastview Vineyard in the Gabilan Mountains.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose has cassis, charred meat, vanilla, dark chocolate, minerals, blueberries, and a touch of cedar.  This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate this is very big, rich and plush.  Though it pushes the ripeness to the top, it does not go over.  This is loaded with fruit and savory elements on the palate with a nice tannic backbone and just enough acidity to hold it all together.  The finish is impressively long and decadent.  I don’t think I’d want to stash this in the cellar for too long, but this will offer a lot of pleasure over the next few years.  (94 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

 

 

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh – $17.99

I grabbed a bottle of this after trying the winery’s Bricks & Mortar blend at an online tasting of Lodi wines.  If your opinion of wines from Lodi is based on some of the big, industrial, high volume wineries, take my advice and seek out something from one of the smaller, family owned producers.

 

This wine has 14.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old.  Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.

 

In the nineties, the family began to market their zinfandel in the bulk wine market, selling to a number of prestigious, benchmark producers of Zinfandel in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

 

In 2000, Steve and Lori produced their first vintage of Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel.  They continue to produce wine from all of the vineyard blocks, culling only the very best lots for bottling Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel and designated vineyard wines.  They produced their first vintage of Farrah Syrah in 2001.  They have one goal…to produce world-class wine.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, raspberries, minerals, cocoa powder, white pepper, smoke, dried herbs, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Lush berries and dried herbs coat the palate with cocoa and white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with nice layers of fruit and savory elements.  Drinking nicely now, but not one to stash in the cellar.  The acidity is adequate for now but I’d be afraid of the wine losing its balance as the acidity drops in the aging process.  Drink over the next few years and be happy.  (90 pts)

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

2011 Klinker Brick Syrah Farráh

 

 

2008 Keplinger Lithic – $40.00

This is another mailing list only wine that I was fortunate to join before they started getting high scores from the wine publications.  The “rock star” winemaker, Helen Keplinger.  I bought several bottles of this wine, but have been patient long enough, one gets popped tonight.

 

This wine is a blend of 46% Mourvedre, 40% Grenache and 14% Syrah from Amador County.

 

The wine has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history (actually Winemaker background)

The culture of wine has been a part of my life since I can remember.  My dad had a wine cellar, which was the source of my childhood wine bottle collection – I also collected rocks, an early indication of my future as a winegrower.  Wine accompanied every gourmet dinner my mom prepared nightly; this combination of food and wine was an important part of our family evenings together.

 

I always had an intense curiosity for science, a huge appreciation of art, and a gravitation toward and revitalization in nature – all which dynamically come together in winemaking.  In 1998, I moved to California to attend the MS program in Enology at UCDavis.

 

Since UC Davis, I have worked with Heidi Barrett, Kathy Joseph, Michel Rolland, and David Abreu.  Since 2004, I have been the winemaker for some exciting projects, including Cellers Melis (Priorat), Kenzo Estate, Fort Ross, Sarocka, Scullly, Arrow & Branch, and Bryant Family Vineyards.  I am currently focused solely on Keplinger Wines.

 

I absolutely love what I do – I constantly strive to make great wines, respond to the curveballs of Mother Nature, and respect that each wine is a reflection not only of its origin, but the variables and characteristics of a particular vintage.

 

More information on the winery, their wines and access to the mailing list is available on their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, saturated ruby to purple color.  The nose is stunning and full of blackberries, black cherries, minerals, earthy underbrush, licorice, warm baking spices and roasted herbs.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate this displays layer after layer of fruit, spice, minerals, and earthy elements.  The finish is extremely long, seeming to linger forever with perfect balance between the fruit and savory notes.  This is built to last but tastes great today.  A monumental wine showing the quality AmadorCounty is capable of producing.  (95 pts)

2008 Keplinger Lithic

2008 Keplinger Lithic

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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