2014 King Estate Pinot Gris

2011 Exitus Red Blend

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense

Locations AR-6

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County




2014 King Estate Pinot Gris – $13.89

This is 100% Pinot Gris that was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel.  The wine was bottled after 4 months sur lie aging.  This wine was produced primarily from the best selection of grapes from the estate’s certified organic vineyards with some purchased from a handful of other sustainably farmed vineyards throughout Oregon


The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The captivating nose has green apples, white peach, flinty minerals, melon, orange blossoms and lemon zest.  This has medium body with good acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, white peach and melon quickly grab your attention with minerals and orange blossoms coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with tart lemon zest leading you to grab another sip.  Not a lot of complexity but a tasty wine to enjoy on its own or with a light meal on a sunny day.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2014 King Estate Pinot Gris

2014 King Estate Pinot Gris




2011 Exitus Red Blend – $9.49

A local wine store had this opened for a tasting.  The wine had a suggested price of $25.99, which far exceeded its value.  To me the wine was simply an easy drinking wine to enjoy with friends at the end of an evening.  For their event price of $9.99, the wine seemed to be fairly priced, so I grabbed a couple bottles.


This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah from Monterey, 31% Merlot from Monterey and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon from California.


The wine was a deep ruby to purple color.  The comforting nose has blackberries, roasted herbs, cherries, white pepper, licorice and subtle earthiness.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate ripe fruit and spice jump out first with roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  The wine leaves a slightly sweet final impression on the palate.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle was sealed with an artificial cork.  (87 pts)

2011 Exitus Red Blend

2011 Exitus Red Blend




2016 Smoke Tree Rosé – SRP $21.99

This is a sample that was provided to me for review purposes by the Susan Magrino Agency.


The majority of the fruit for this vintage came from the rolling hills of the Redwood Valley in Mendocino County, San Juan Creek in Paso Robles and Madera County. Smaller percentages from Mendocino and the Red Hills of Lake County provide an accent of high elevation fruit to its elegant core.  This blend of primarily Grenache and Zinfandel with smaller percentages of Carignan, Tempranillo, and Mouvedre.


The wine is a light, pale pink color.  The easy going nose has cherries, white peach, dusty minerals, orange blossoms and watermelon with hints of leafy herbs and dry roasted nuts.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a trace amount of lingering sweetness.  On the palate cherries, minerals and white peach grab your attention on the front end with watermelon and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a nice green herb element and a hint of roasted nuts providing depth along with a bit of orange pith.  This is easy to sip and enjoy.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (89 pts)

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé

2016 Smoke Tree Rosé




2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense – $12.99

This wine is mostly Syrah with a touch of Petite Sirah.  The winery likes to add a bit of Petite Sirah to most of their wines.  I was jokingly told they would add it to their Chardonnay if they could.  This wine was aged 12 months in French oak barrels.


The winery is one of the “big boys” in Lodi.  The family has been growing fruit and vegetable in the region since the 1850s and have been growing grapes for nearly 100 years.  With an eye to the future the winery has adopted some of the most progressive sustainable farming practices in the state.  All of the 750 acres of family vineyards are third party certified as being sustainably farmed.  Since the 2011 vintage, 100% of the Lodi grown fruit crushed at the winery has been certified as sustainably farmed.


Much more information on the winery is available on their website.


From the winery:

The Phillips brothers planted one of the first Syrah vineyards in California in 1982. With Michael’s son Kevin continuing the Phillips grape growing tradition into the 6th generation, this Syrah vineyard was one of the first he tended to as our Vineyard Manager. If you turn the bottle around you will see Kevin’s eye looking out from the inside of the bottle, making sure the wine is being enjoyed!


The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, blueberries, asphalt, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso beans, dry underbrush, licorice, violets and black pepper.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This has massive berries and ground espresso beans on the front end with underbrush, dark chocolate and a big floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and lingering with black pepper coming into play.  Not a lot of subtlety here but the big fruit and nice structure makes for a worthy companion for something hot off the grill.  This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  This is a steal for the price.  (89 pts)

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Syrah 6th Sense




Locations AR-6 – $16.48

This was a purchase from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.


First off, the AR in the wine’s name stands for Argentina, not Arkansas.  This is a non-vintage wine since it can include grapes from multiple vintages as deemed necessary by Dave Phinney to make the best wine possible.  I don’t know the exact blend for this bottling, but earlier editions were mainly Malbec with some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Uco Valley in Mendoza.  This is Locations wine’s fourth release of a blend from Argentina.


Much more information on Dave Phinney and Locations Wine is available on their website by clicking here.


The wine is an inky purple color.  The big and bold nose is full of blackberries, plums, fresh ground espresso beans, dry earth, roasted herbs, baking spices and dried wildflowers.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  This is rich and velvety on the palate with loads of blackberries and plums quickly grabbing your attention on the front end with espresso beans, dry earth and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has nice length with roasted herbs and a dried floral note providing some depth.  For the massive fruit and overall size this could use a bit more backbone to hold everything together.  I’d drink this while it’s young before it gets bogged down from the shear size.  This has 15% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (88 pts)

Locations AR-6

Locations AR-6




2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County – $8.62

This is a Pinot Noir based blend that was fermented at a cool temperature.  I don’t know about the distribution of Chloe Wines but I see a fair amount at my local Total Wines store and it appears to be available online at Amazon.  I should note, the Total Wine price is considerable better than Amazon’s pricing.


The wine is an orange-pink color.  The brooding nose has strawberries, melon, dry earth, leafy green herbs and orange zest.  This has medium body with decent acidity and it seems to be just about totally dry.  On the palate strawberries, melon and subtle dry earth come through on the front end with leafy green herbs coming in later.  The finish has decent length with some orange zest entering the picture.  This is starting to taste a little tired, I’d open and kill off this vintage in the next couple of months.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (85 pts)

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County

2015 Chloe Wines Rosé Monterey County




I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.


If you sign up using this link you will get a $10 credit that can be used on your first purchase.  I will also get a credit if you make a purchase.


Other than getting a credit as explained above, I have no financial interest in the site.  After you are on the list, you can also get the same credit by introducing friends to Last Bottle.




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.





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.






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.