Posts tagged ‘Livermore Valley’

Cliffs Wine Picks –Steven Kent Winery

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

 

 

 

 

I was recently lucky and grateful to receive some wine samples from the Steven Kent Winery.  These are my first samples from the winery in a few years.  In the past these wines were top notch offerings that would make any meal a special event.

 

 

 

The Steven Kent Winery Was Born.

In 2005, Steven joined forces with the Ghielmetti family who owned a spectacular vineyard site about three miles east of the winery.  The site was planted to Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, many of which he used to make small-lot releases for his burgeoning wine clubs.  Steven realized in 2007, though, that the farther he went down this path, the further away he’d be from the vision with which he started in the business – to make a single, great, statement wine.

 

Lineage—our Livermore Valley Red Wine—then, is the renaissance of that need to have the effort mean something; for the wine to be a symbol of the passion to create something of great quality, an emblem of one family’s generations-long commitment to the grape.

 

Also in 2005, Steven found an opportunity to close a circle.  His cousins, who had earlier sold the Mirassou brand to Gallo, had started a brand called La Rochelle, named for the town north of Bordeaux from which their progenitor had come to America in 1854.  La Rochelle had an amazingly talented winemaker, Tom Stutz, and a portfolio of wines whose only focus was family vineyard fruit from Monterey.  Steven acquired the brand and brought it and Tom up to Livermore with a new focus on Pinot Noir.  Seven years later, La Rochelle is making some of the best Pinot Noirs (and a newly released, small-lot production focus on Chardonnay) in California.

 

Much more information, links to the wineries, and purchasing information is available at their website.

 

 

Steven has a very nice blog here – Steven’s Blog.

 

 

 

Steven Kent Winery Info

“Steven Kent is producing today’s greatest Livermore Cabernets, wines that hearken back to the valley’s roots as one of California’s best wine regions.” – Wine Enthusiast

 

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet here in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.

 

Livermore Valley has a long, dedicated history of growing the “Bordeaux” varietals, and in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.  In the 1880s, pioneering winegrowers began to discover the potential of the Livermore Valley region.  Then, as today, L.V.’s climate and soils closely resemble those of Bordeaux’s famed left bank of the Gironde.  By the turn of the last century, Livermore Valley was already far ahead of its Napa Valley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties.  The goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.

 

“We have worked joyously and strenuously to know our vineyards; to learn how our fruit expresses itself from those sites; to discover the best winemaking and barrel regimens that translates those grapes into world-class vintages.  We’re very gratified that customers, critics, and collectors alike consider our “historic Cabernet” to be an essential addition to their table, their “best of lists,” and their cellars”.  – Steven Kent Mirassou

 

More information is available at their website.

 

 

To check availability or to purchase any of these wine or other wines offered by the wineries in the Steven Kent Portfolio, visit their website.

 

 

 

The line up for this tasting:

Steven Kent Winery

Steven Kent Winery

 

 

 

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard – SRP $24

This wine is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillion from the winery’s Ghielmetti Vineyard in California’s Livermore Valley.  This wine is a crowd pleaser that will be enjoyed by casual wine drinkers it has the crispness and complexity to please an experienced wine lover’s palate.

 

The varietals were fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks separately for three months before being blended.  The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation so it would retain the fresh, crisp personality of the grapes.  There were only 476 cases produced in this vintage.

 

The wine is a pale yellow with a slight green tint.  The exuberant nose has green apples, lime zest, orange blossoms, white peach, crushed stone minerals, ginger and a hint of green leafy herbs.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate tart green apples, lime zest and crushed stone minerals quickly grab your attention with white peach and ginger coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with orange blossoms and a touch of leafy green herbs providing depth.  This is a very nice, crisp wine perfect for a lighter meal on a sunny day.  This is very easy to enjoy.  This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (91 pts)

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2016 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection – SRP $48

All the fruit for this wine comes from a 3.73 acre block in the winery’s Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard.

 

After a 5 to 7 day cold soak and fermentation, the wine had an extended 14 day maceration.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels with 30% being new.  The total production was 249 cases.

 

The wine is a nice garnet red color.  The sexy nose has black cherries, plums, dried leafy herbs, sandalwood, dark chocolate, warm baking spices, dry underbrush, licorice, dusty minerals and dried wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate nice bright fruit and baking spices quickly grab your attention with dried leafy herbs, sandalwood and dusty minerals coming in on the back end.  The nicely lingering finish is highlighted by dark chocolate, a dried floral note and dry underbrush.  This is the full package for a Cab Franc, nice upfront fruit with spice and herbs on the mid-palate.  This tastes great now but a year or two in the cellar will be warmly rewarded.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Franc BDX Collection

 

 

 

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti – SRP $65

This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the winery’s Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard in the Livermore Valley.

 

After a 5 to 7 day cold soak and fermentation, the wine had an extended 14 day maceration.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 24 months in mostly new French oak barrels.  The total production was meager 212 cases.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red to maroon color.  The enticing nose has cassis, cherries, spicy oak, baking spices, plums, dried leafy herbs, crushed stones, licorice, scorched earth and violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the open and very expressive palate cassis, cherries, baking spices, crushed stones and spicy oak quickly grab your attention on the front end with plums and dried herbs coming in later.  The finish has great length with scorched earth and a nice floral note providing very nice depth.  This tastes great now with some air but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This is a top notch cabernet that will rival any Napa cabernet that costs twice this price.  Needless to say, I love this wine.  This has 13.9% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

2014 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Series Ghielmetti

 

 

 

2013 Steven Kent Lineage – SRP $155

This vintage of Lineage is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec from the Ghielmetti Estate & Home Ranch Vineyards in the Livermore Valley.  Even though 2013 was one of the best vintages in the Livermore Valley in the past 20 years, extreme sorting and sampling lead to the “declassification” of 95% of the Bordeaux varietals.  This meant the total production of 2013 Lineage was a miniscule 3300 750ml bottles (mine was number 3112).  There were also 60 magnums, 5 double-magnums and 5 five-liter bottles produced.

 

Each vintage of Lineage begins with the evaluation of individual lots of wine after malo-lactic conversion is finished in late winter the year after harvesting. This process will take many months as each barrel in each lot is tasted blind several times before it is deemed of great-enough quality to be considered as part of the Lineage blend. Scores of mock blends later, the final assemblage is made, rebarreled for about six months so that the wine’s components have an opportunity to marry into an elegant whole, then bottled.

 

10 of 13 barrels included in this blend were new French oak (Taransaud, Le Grand, and François Frerès.)  Total aging time was 24 months.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to maroon color.  The incredible nose is full of cassis, warm baking spices, dried herbs, dusty minerals, cedar, violets, dry underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate, cherries, road tar and freshly ground espresso beans.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and outstanding acidity.  On the palate cassis, minerals, baking spices and dried herbs quickly grab your attention with cedar, cherries, dry underbrush and espresso beans coming in later.  The finish is long and nicely layered with dark chocolate and violets providing good depth.  This wine is a stunner even at this very young period in its evolution.  This wine deserves a year or two in the cellar, even more time will be rewarded.  This is a WOW wine.  This has the balance to age and improve for a long time.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the heavy duty, premium bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  I loved this wine, without a doubt my favorite wine this year.  (96 pts)

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

2013 Steven Kent Lineage

 

 

 

Conclusions

Across the board these were some of the best wines I have enjoyed this year.  The Lola is a wonderful white wine to enjoy in the waning days of Summer but would also be fantastic any time of the year.  The three red wines, especially the Lineage, would benefit from some cellar time, but with some air would be a welcome addition to your dinner table in the upcoming holiday season.  It was the winery’s aim to showcase the Livermore Valley as a world class region, and in my judgment, they have succeeded.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

I post a lot more pictures and pairing suggestions on my Instagram account, consider joining me at https://www.instagram.com/cbbrown3/

 

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 2017 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:

 

 

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 always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  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 – Three from Steven Kent Winery

 

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2012 Steven Kent Chardonnay Merrillie

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard

 

 

logo (1)

 

I was recently lucky enough to receive some wine samples from the Steven Kent Winery.  I had the opportunity to try some of their wines last year and I was very impressed.  To say I’m excited to try these wines would be a big understatement.

 

 

 

The Steven Kent Winery Was Born

In 2005, Steven joined forces with the Ghielmetti family who owned a spectacular vineyard site about three miles east of the winery.  The site was planted to Bordeaux and Rhône varieties, many of which he used to make small-lot releases for his burgeoning wine clubs.  Steven realized in 2007, though, that the farther he went down this path, the further away he’d be from the vision with which he started in the business – to make a single, great, statement wine.

 

Lineage—our Livermore Valley Red Wine—then, is the renaissance of that need to have the effort mean something; for the wine to be a symbol of the passion to create something of great quality, an emblem of one family’s generations-long commitment to the grape.

 

Also in 2005, Steven found an opportunity to close a circle.  His cousins, who had earlier sold the Mirassou brand to Gallo, had started a brand called La Rochelle, named for the town north of Bordeaux from which their progenitor had come to America in 1854.  La Rochelle had an amazingly talented winemaker, Tom Stutz, and a portfolio of wines whose only focus was family vineyard fruit from Monterey.  Steven acquired the brand and brought it and Tom up to Livermore with a new focus on Pinot Noir.  Seven years later, La Rochelle is making some of the best Pinot Noirs (and a newly released, small-lot production focus on Chardonnay) in California.

 

Much more information, links to the wineries, and purchasing information is available on their website.

 

 

Steven has a very nice blog here – Steven’s Blog.

 

 

 

Steven Kent Winery Info

“Steven Kent is producing today’s greatest Livermore Cabernets, wines that hearken back to the valley’s roots as one of California’s best wine regions.” – Wine Enthusiast

 

The Steven Kent Winery was started in 1996 with one mission: to make Cabernet here in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines made anywhere in the world.

 

Livermore Valley has a long, dedicated history of growing the “Bordeaux” varietals, and in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.  In the 1880s, pioneering winegrowers began to discover the potential of the Livermore Valley region.  Then, as today, L.V.’s climate and soils closely resemble those of Bordeaux’s famed left bank of the Gironde.  By the turn of the last century, LivermoreValley was already far ahead of its NapaValley neighbor in specializing in the Bordeaux varieties.  Our goal at Steven Kent is to carry on that tradition.

 

“We have worked joyously and strenuously to know our vineyards; to learn how our fruit expresses itself from those sites; to discover the best winemaking and barrel regimens that translates those grapes into world-class vintages.  We’re very gratified that customers, critics, and collectors alike consider our “historic Cabernet” to be an essential addition to their table, their “best of lists,” and their cellars”.  – Steven Kent Mirassou

 

More information is available on their website.

 

 

To check availability or to purchase any of these wine or other wines offered by the wineries in the Steven Kent Portfolio, visit their website.

 

 

 

The line up for this tasting:

Steven Kent Line up

Steven Kent Line up

 

 

2012 Steven Kent Chardonnay Merrillie – SRP $34

This 100% Chardonnay uses fruit from the Landucci Block of Chardonnay, in the LivermoreValley, about 1.5 miles west of the winery.  This block is planted to one of the older Wente clones.  The first varietally-labeled Chardonnay was made from Wente clone fruit, and many of the most sought after clones in California (Robert Young, Hyde Selection) are children of Wente clone material.

 

After destemming and crushing the fruit was transferred to stainless steel tanks where it was allowed to settle for about 48 hours prior to fermentation.  The must was then transferred to barrel where it underwent both primary and secondary (malo-lactic) fermentation. The wine was aged sur lie for 8 months in 60% new French oak barrels.  The wine was then bottled without filtration or fining.

 

The wine has 14.7% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The tropical and fresh smelling nose has apples, pears, flinty minerals, pineapple, lemon zest, baking spices and vanilla.  This has medium body, creamy texture and citrusy acidity.  On the palate the white orchard fruit, minerals and vanilla hit on the front end with nice closing citrus.  The finish has good length with minerals, apples and lemon zest slowly fading away.  This is on the young side but still very tasty with some air.  (91 pts)

2012 Steven Kent Chardonnay Merrillie

2012 Steven Kent Chardonnay Merrillie

 

 

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard – SRP $65

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine is from the site of the winery’s tasting room on Tesla Road.  The 2.8 acre vineyard block was planted in 1996.

 

After destemming & crushing the fruit was fermented in open-top fermentors.  It went through primary fermentation & maceration in bin then malolactic fermentation was induced in barrel.  The wine was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels before it was bottled without filtration and fining.  There were only 189 six-packs of wine produced.

 

The wine has 14.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has cassis, eucalyptus, cherry, minerals, licorice, dried herbs, cedar, warm baking spices and white pepper.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the laser focused fruit is joined with mint and spice on the front end with dried herbs, minerals and white pepper coming through on the back end.  The finish has good length with the fruit and minerals carrying the load.  (93 pts)

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard

 

 

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard – SRP $65

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a 4.5 acre vineyard planted in 1992 on Greenville Road in the LivermoreValley.

 

After destemming & crushing the fruit was fermented in open-top fermentors.  It went through primary fermentation & maceration in bin then malolactic fermentation was induced in barrel.  The wine was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels before it was bottled without filtration and fining.  There were only 143 six-packs of wine produced.

 

The wine has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The outgoing nose has cassis, dried herbs, minerals, plums, cocoa powder, cedar and cherries.  The wine has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate tart fruit, cedar and minerals carry the load with plums and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has good length with a touch of mint entering the picture.  (92 pts)

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard

2010 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard

 

 

Conclusions

Both of the cabernets tasted better on the second and third day.  If you open one, give it plenty of air but it would be preferable to stash them in the cellar for a year or two.  The Chardonnay will also reward some time in your cellar but is very tasty with some air.

 

 

 

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 – Wente Front Porch Music Series tasting

 

 

This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2011 Wente Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Louis Mel Livermore Valley

2011 Wente Vineyards Riesling Riverbank Arroyo Seco

2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Eric’s Small Lot

2010 Wente Vineyards Merlot Sandstone

 

 

This is from an online wine tasting in conjunction with an upcoming Front Porch Music Series concert.  More information on Wente Vineyards and their concerts is available on their website.

 

 

Wente Vineyards History

Wente Vineyards, founded 130 years ago, is the oldest, continuously operated family owned winery in the country.  The Livermore Valley based facility is owned and managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the family.  The family has approximately 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards at their disposal.  These grapes are used to create the single grape wines and unique blends the winery has in their diverse portfolio.

 

 

In addition to being a world class winemaker, Karl Wente is also a serious musician.  For this special tasting, Karl will be pairing the wines with up and coming indie bands performing during his Front Porch Music Series.  In a way to support emerging talent, Wente Vineyards holds 3 performances at their property every summer featuring local and up and coming bands.  As a prelude to the second concert on August 3rd, Karl will team up with one of the members of the rockin’ Stone Foxes to discuss music and wine pairings.

 

Note about Stone Foxes: they performed at last year’s music series and based in the region, are big supporters of “homegrown” bands from the Bay Area.  They’ve also performed at the Wente Foundation for Arts Educations Auction.

 

 

The line up of wines for this tasting:

Wente Music Series Line up 2

 

 

 

2011 Wente Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Louis Mel Livermore Valley – SRP $15

This is a tank fermented and aged Sauvignon Blanc from the Estate owned vineyards in the Livermore Valley.  The alcohol in this win is 13%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light straw color.  The fresh and crisp nose has nice apple, melon, citrus, minerals, and a slight herbal note.  This has light to medium body with crisp, citrusy acidity.  On the palate the orchard fruit and minerals hit first with a nice grassy component and tart citrus kicking in on the back end.  The juicy finish leans on the minerals, herbal notes, and mouthwatering citrus.  This is a very nice, food friendly glass of wine.  The minerality on the nose is like cold rain hitting hot rocks. (89 pts)

Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

2011 Wente Vineyards Riesling Riverbank Arroyo Seco – SRP $15

This wine was cold fermented in stainless steel tanks to help highlight the natural fruit flavors in the Riesling grape.  The wine was aged in stainless tanks and there was no malolactic fermentation to help retain the crisp acidity.  The final alcohol is 12%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very light straw color with some yellow highlights.  The nose smells like a tropical fruit salad with honey dipped apples, orange blossoms, pineapple, lime zest, grapefruit, minerals, and a nice floral note.  This has medium body, decent acidity, and nice residual sweetness.  On the palate the apples, honey, and lime zest kick off the show with minerals and a touch of mouthwatering grapefruit coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length and closes with some nice lime and good sweetness.  This would work well with spicy food, but would shine on its own on a warm evening.  (88 pts)

Riesling

 

 

 

2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Eric’s Small Lot – SRP $25

I’m a big fan of stainless steel tank fermented and aged Chardonnay wines that also did not go through malolactic fermentation.  This process lets the fruit and minerality shine through without oak and buttery notes getting in the way and maintains the food friendly acidity.  The final alcohol level in this wine is 13.7%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow to straw color.  The Spring time like nose has apples, pineapples, minerals, orange blossoms, pears, and white peaches.  This has medium body with good acidity.  On the palate the orchard fruit hits first with building minerality and pineapple coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length and closes with mouthwatering lemon zest.  (90 pts)

Chardonnay

 

 

 

2010 Wente Vineyards Merlot Sandstone – SRP $18

This Merlot is from the gently sloping vineyards in the southeastern corner of Livermore Valley.  The area generally has warm days and cool nights due to its proximity to the San Francisco Bay.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks before being aged for 16 months in a mix of American, French, Eastern European, and neutral oak barrels.  The final alcohol is 13.5%.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very appealing nose had plums, berries, baking spices, vanilla, minerals, and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine has a nice mix of fruit and savory elements with some building minerality kicking in on the back end.  The finish has good length with the fruit slowly giving way to minerals and a solid earthiness.  This is a very nice, food friendly, week night Merlot.  (89 pts)

Merlot

 

 

 

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 – WITS2013 Online Tasting

 

 

This is based on wine provided by the winery or another party acting on their behalf.

 

 

An online tasting for the Ninth Annual Wine Industry Symposium.

 

 

2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley

2011 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County

2010 Renwood Zinfandel Premier Old Vine

 

 

This online tasting was presented in conjunction with the 9th annual WITS, Wine Industry Technology Symposium that was going on in Napa.  Stephen Gilberg (@WineTwits) organized the tasting.  I am very thankful and lucky to have been chosen to participate in the tasting.  More information on WineTwits is available on their website.

 

For more information on WITS, visit their website or Facebook page.

 

This line up for the tasting included three wines from areas in California not named Napa or Sonoma.

WITS2013 Lineup

 

 

 

2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley – SRP $13.00

Every time I sample a wine from the Livermore Valley, I become a bigger fan of the region.  The Livermore Valley is about 35 miles east of San Francisco, north of San Jose.  The region’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay allows cool breezes and coastal fog to cool the area.  The combination of warm days and cool nights help provide ripe fruit with good natural acidity.

 

Half of this wine was barrel fermented in French oak, the rest was fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The wines were aged for 7 months on lees before blending and bottling.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly bright yellow with a slight golden tint.  The very appealing nose has apples, pineapple, creme brulee, baking spices, and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with nice citrusy acidity, and a touch of residual sweetness.  On the palate the apples and spice jump out first with pineapples, vanilla, and a bit of creaminess coming in later and some zippy citrus bringing up the back end.  The finish has nice length with very nice balance between the rich pineapple and crisp citrus driven acidity.

 

This is a nice wine to serve with a light meal on a warm evening or to enjoy on its own with good friends over conversation.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

2012 Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog Livermore Valley

 

 

2011 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County Pinot Noir – SRP $14.99

Over the last few years I’m had and enjoyed the very reasonably priced Pinot Noirs coming out of Monterey County.  The better examples have shown ripe fruit and spice with enough acidity to provide ample support.

 

This wine is made from estate grown fruit from the winery’s vineyards near the Santa Lucia Highlands.  The wine was aged for 11 months in 100% French oak, 60% new.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherry, baking spices, subtle earthiness, smoke, strawberries, and a hint of pine.  This has medium body, soft silky tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the fruit hits first with a nice spice component.  Some nice earthiness, smoke, and strawberry come in on the back end adding nice depth.  The finish has very good length and a nice pine note adds interest.

 

This is a slightly larger, brawnier style of Pinot Noir with nice fruit and spice but it also has the acidity to make it very food friendly.  This paired nicely with some grilled chicken and pork.  This would also make a nice wine to sip with friends alone or with some appetizers.  This wine is closed with a twist-off cap.

 

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

2011 Garnet Pinot Noir Monterey County Pinot Noir

 

 

2010 Renwood Zinfandel Premier Old Vine – SRP $19.99

Amador County, which is located in California’s Sierra Foothills, generally produces wines that are full bodied with robust fruit and spice.  These are generally higher alcohol offerings but with the body and acidity to remain balanced.

 

This wine is composed of 92.5% Zinfandel, 5.8% Syrah, and 1.7% Souzao.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The big and outgoing nose is full of crushed berries, warm baking spices, black pepper, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee, and some nice earthiness.  This full bodied wine has moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is a rich blend of berries and spice with a bit of pepper and earthiness coming in on the back end.  For a full bodied zinfandel, this is actually well mannered.  This ripe wine is rich and smooth enough to call for some good, spicy bbq ribs.  This should drink well for the next three to four years.

 

For whatever reason, it’s been a while since I last had a Renwood Zinfandel, but this bottle will put the winery back on my radar.  This was a big, full bodied wine with a solid wall of fruit and spice that concealed the 15.5% alcohol.  The back and was eich and smooth.  This went well with a piece of grilled steak, but the richness calls out for some smoky barbecue.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

2010 Renwood Zinfandel Premier Old Vine

 

 

Here are the grilled skewers of shrimp, steak, pork, and chicken we had while sampling these wines.  Not shown are grilled mushrooms, squash, and zucchini we also served.

Meat pairing

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

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Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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