Posts tagged ‘Ribera del Duero’

Ribera del Duero Tasting with Snooth

 

These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

Ribera logo

 

 

2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva

 

 

 

Overview

I was invited to participate in a Virtual Tasting exploring the wines of Ribera del Duero.  This was perfect for me since I actually prefer this region over the other “famous” Spanish region, Rioja.  New technology and modern techniques, along with respect for tradition, have driven the quality of Ribera del Duero to its highest accomplishments in over two millennia of winemaking history.

 

Snooth’s Editor-in-Chief, Gregory dal Piaz, and Sommelier Roger Kugler led the discussion of Ribera’s rich history and amazing wines.

 

There were four wines to be discussed during the tasting.  Besides the two wines that were sent to me, 2013 Bodegas y Vinedos Monteabellon Avaniel Rose and 2010 Bodegas Montebaco Semele were also enjoyed by other participants.

 

 

Ribera pic

 

 

About the region

The Ribera del Duero is about a two hour drive north of Madrid.  Even though wine has been made in the region for over 2000 years, the region did not receive official Denominación de Origen (DO) status until 1982.

 

The area takes its name from the Duero River that cuts through the region.  The region is about 70 miles long and over 20 miles wide and is home over 250 wineries.

 

The main wine grape in the region is Tempranillo which also answers to Tinto del País and Tinto Fino.

 

This is a large, dry area that receives very little rain.  This dry climate forces the vines to dig deep into the ground to find water and nutrients.  This “struggle” reduces the yield but ensures the grapes produced are full of flavor and minerals.  These wines are generally on the rustic side with rugged tannins and good acidity, perfect with a piece of juicy meat hot off the grill.

 

Much more information on the region and wineries is available by clicking here.

 

 

 

Snooth_Logo_Low-Rez

 

This presentation and the wines were provided by Greg Dal Piaz and Snooth.

 

Snooth is the world’s most comprehensive wine site, hosts the largest online wine community & features reviews & local prices for millions of wines.

 

Mission

Snooth is a revolutionary web-based social shopping experience that is simplifying how people select, learn about, and purchase their favorite wines.

 

Company Overview

Philip James launched Snooth in 2007 with one goal: to make wine info clear, accessible, and freely available.

The idea for Snooth first came to Philip when he began working in the wine industry and realized just how complex wine was — if even the most seasoned wine collectors could become confused, what hope was there for the casual wine lover?

He realized that the wine industry was hopelessly fragmented — with neither a standardized naming system nor a centralized repository of information — and created Snooth to change all of that.

 

Visit Snooth by by clicking here.

 

 

 

My Line Up

Here is my line up for this online tasting event:

Snooth Ribera del Duero line up

Snooth Ribera del Duero line up

 

 

 

2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

2009 was considered to be a near perfect vintage, comparable in quality to 2004.

 

This was aged for 14 months in a mix of French and American oak.  The total production was 13,345 bottles.  The grapes for this wine came from younger vines.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color.  The outstanding nose has plums, blackberries, minerals, licorice, earthy underbrush, dark chocolate, baking spices and white pepper.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, spicy fruit and minerals jump out first with earthy elements and dark chocolate coming out on the back end.  The finish has decent length but does get a touch rustic.  A year in the cellar may help smooth out the back end and perhaps add a bit more oomph on the finish.  (90 pts)

2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

2009 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro Alconte

 

 

 

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva – $25

2007 was considered to be a lighter, weaker vintage for the region.

 

This wine is 100% Tempranillo (Tinto del Pais).  The total production for the vintage was 35,868 bottles, mine was number 16,974.

 

The wine has 13% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark violet color.  The enticing nose has black plums, berries, tobacco, baking spices, minerals and a touch of mint.  This wine is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate, spicy fruit and minerals jump out first with spicy oak coming in later.  The finish has good length with some subtle earthiness entering the picture.  I wouldn’t stash this in the cellar to too long, open the bottle and enjoy it over the next year or two.  (89 pts)

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva

2007 Bodegas Valdubon Reserva

 

 

 

Conclusion

These were both easy to like wines full of character.  Even though 2007 was considered to be a weaker vintage, the Valdubon was very nice.  The Valdubon is nearing the end of its life but the Alconte has a couple years to go before it even reaches its full potential.

 

 

 

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!

 

Wine of the Week – 2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero

 

 

Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.

 

 

 logo-77

 

 

The Winery

Aalto is a joint project founded by Mariano García, chief winemarker of thirty years at perhaps the most famous Ribera del Duero brand, Vega Sicilia, and Javier Zaccagnini, former head of Consejo Regulador de Ribera del Duero.  The cooperation that started in 1998 has in the meantime received tremendous attention of the wine enthusiasts of the world and a multitude of praise from the experts.  Ribera del Duero, next to Rioja, is one of the distinguished wine appellations of Spain, specializing in producing excellent wines using the local variety called Tinto Fino (resembling Tempranillo).  Aalto manages over 40 hectares of old vineyards (between 50 and 100 years of age) in the at the altitude of 700 to 850 meters.

 

After 10 years, the winery is considered a leader in the Ribera del Duero and has obtained the highest reviews in many tastings.  Top scores include three 98 point-ratings from The Wine Advocate, and twice being named Best Wine of Spain, as selected by Michel Bettane and Thiery Dessauve’s book of the Best 100 Wineries of the World.

Tempranillo

 

 

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto – $31.67

This wine is 100% Tempranillo from my favorite wine region in Spain, Ribera Del Duero.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon, dark color.  The stunning nose has blackberry liqueur, melted licorice, warm baking spices, cedar, dark bittersweet chocolate, some earthy underbrush, and a nice floral note.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and plush with spicy berries, dark chocolate, and some earthiness.  The finish is long and loaded with spicy fruit and dark chocolate.  This tastes outstanding today, but may get even better with some additional cellar time.  (94 pts)

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto

 

 

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 27, 2013 to Dec 29, 2013

 

 

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden

 

 

 

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva – $19.99

It’s been a few years since I tried this wine.  A nice price, a very good vintage and a WS Top 100 selection lead me to grab a couple bottles.  Time to see if I agree with the WS 93 point score or the WA 85+ score.

 

This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice maroon color, much lighter at the edge.  The comforting nose has black cherry, minerals, baking spices, licorice, violets, vanilla and some earthy underbrush.  This is barely medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the mineral laden cherries and spice kick off the show with spicy oak and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with cherries and earthy elements carrying the load.  (91 pts)

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva

2004 Hijos de Antonio Barceló Ribera del Duero Viña Mayor Reserva

 

 

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara – $37.99

We’re pretty big fan of Italian Amarone wines.  Unfortunately, they aren’t a low priced wine.  When the local store brought these in and put them on the shelf for about half price, I had to grab a few bottles.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to purple color.  The easy going and soothing nose has black cherries, minerals, licorice, warm baking spices, dark chocolate and dried flowers.  This has a full body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy fruit and minerals dominate the front end with dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and loaded with spicy fruit.  This is on the young side but tastes marvelous.  (92 pts)

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara

2009 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Giara

 

 

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon – $45.00

For whatever reason, this wasn’t a wine I bought regularly from the Turley mailing list.  I don’t know the exact reason but I only grabbed a bottle every couple of years.  I like this wine when I open a bottle, but with the low volume of purchases, one isn’t opened very often.

 

This wine has 16.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very appealing nose has briary berries, minerals, licorice, black pepper, dried flowers, leather and some cedar.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  This wine is loaded on the palate, full of berries, minerals and pepper with cedar and a floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length and outstanding balance to support and conceal the high alcohol.  This seems to have the stuffing to age but I’d be afraid of the alcohol becoming too prominent if cellared longer than a couple more years at most.  (93 pts)

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon

2008 Turley Zinfandel Dragon

 

 

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden – $34.99

Two Hands is a perennial favorite in the house.  Just about every wine they’ve made has been a welcome addition to my wine cellar.  Unfortunately, their “Garden” series wines have become so popular around the globe, it’s become hard to find them at a decent price.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color. There are crushed berries, minerals, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, smoked meat, black pepper, vanilla, black cherries, Asian spices, and violets on the very inviting nose. This is fairly full bodied with nice, ripe tannins and good acidity. The wine is big, bold, and ripe on the palate with no raisin or syrupy notes. The palate features nice juicy, spicy berries with some oak in the background with minerals, meat, and dark chocolate. There is a long, lingering finish with the spicy berries lingering seemingly forever. This may not be for everyone, but if you want an in your face Shiraz, look no further.  (94 pts)

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella's Garden

2007 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden

 

 

For us, the best part of having a bone-in half ham over the holiday season is making a batch of Red Beans and Rice with the bone and scraps of ham and andouille sausage.  Thankfully, today was Red Beans and Rice day.

Red Beans and Rice

 

 

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 20, 2013 to Dec 22, 2013

 

 

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

2011 Shatter Grenache

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Pietro’s Ranch

2008 Fetish Wines Playmates

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts – $33.60

A friend of mine belongs to the Herman Story mailing list and I’m thankful he shares his allocation with me.  I love these wine made by Russell P. From.

 

This wine is 100% Syrah and comes from Les Galets, Shadow Canyon, Luna Matta, Terra Bella, White Hawk and Larner Vineyards.

 

This has 16.1% alcohol by volume and the bottle is closed with a natural cork and a wax seal.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  The nose is stunning and full of blackberries, black currant, smoke, meat juices, warm baking spices, blueberries, earthy underbrush and cedar.  This full bodied wine has moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  This is thick and luscious on the palate with a mouthful of berries and spice grudgingly allowing some spicy oak, earthiness and dark chocolate to enter the picture.  The finish has very nice length with the spicy oak and berries carrying the load.  Not a lot of subtlety but the 16.1% alcohol is kept under wraps.  (93 pts)

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

 

 

2011 Shatter Grenache – $19.99

This wine is from Dave Phinney of Orin Swift Cellars from Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes in the Roussillon of France.  I grabbed a bottle when I saw it on the shelf at the local Costco for a very reasonably price.  Even though it could probably use some time in the cellar, I wanted to give it a try to see if I should grab a few more bottles.

 

This has a very high alcohol level of 15.9%, so I don’t know what to expect.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a bright red to ruby color.  The intriguing nose had cherries, dark chocolate, raspberries, baking spices, and some earthiness.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there is a mouthful of red fruit and spice up front with dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish had very good length with some earthiness entering the picture.  This would be a hard wine to guess in a blind tasting.  I really don’t think anyone would nail this one as a French Grenache.  This is drinking nicely now with some air but should be even better with some cellar time.  (91 pts)

2011 Shatter Grenache

2011 Shatter Grenache

 

 

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Pietro’s Ranch – $37.00

This bottle was from my friend’s cellar.  I had two bottle of this, but they were consumed a couple years ago.  I’m interested to see how this one aged.  This was unfortunately the last vintage for this wine.

 

This wine is a blend of 85% Zinfandel and 15% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache)

 

The Vineyard

Our third Pietro’s Ranch and sadly, the last.  In April 2007, this Grande Dame of the Russian River Valley, this vineyard planted in 1905 by brothers Italo and Pietro Barbieri, immigrants from Agnino, Tuscany, was torn up in preparation for replanting to more “fashionable” varieties.  Producing what is potentially our finest zinfandel to date, the loss of this vineyard will forever break my heart.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The compelling nose has brambly berries, black cherries, licorice, warm baking spices, black peppercorns and vanilla.  This had medium to full body, integrated tannins and good acidity.  This was rich and lush on the palate.  The cellar time has helped the wine to shed some “baby fat” and some of its youthful intensity.  This is now a much more laid back and nuanced wine.  On the palate the black cherries and spice slowly allowed berries, black pepper and licorice to make brief appearances.  The long finish featured nice fruit and spice.  I wouldn’t hold onto this one for too much longer, open it and enjoy.  (91 pts)

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Pietro's Ranch

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Pietro’s Ranch

 

 

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero – $29.99

This one is also from my friend’s cellar.  We both bought this wine from the local wine store.  I have enjoyed a few bottles over the last couple of years and it has been consistently impressive.  I bought 7 bottles and unfortunately, I am down to only one bottle remaining.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is ruby red color.  The spellbinding nose has cherries, minerals, raspberries, eucalyptus, smoke, earthy underbrush and dark chocolate.  This had medium body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cherries, spice and minerals steal the show up front with some earthiness and the eucalyptus note coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the red fruit, minerals and the eucalyptus note slowly fading away.  (93 pts)

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero

 

 

2008 Fetish Wines Playmates – $17.09

This wine is a blend of 80% Shiraz, 10% Mataro (Mourvedre) and 10% Grenache from Australia’s Barossa Valley.

 

I highly recommend checking out the winery’s website and their descriptions of the wines by clicking here.

 

The wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark garnet color.  The big and in your face nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, cherries, vanilla, earthy underbrush, plums, dried herbs, and a faint eucalyptus note.  This is fairly full bodied with moderate to solid ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a load of juicy, spice, peppery berries with some plums, dark chocolate, and dried herbs in the background.  The finish has nice length and again highlights the spicy fruit, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly straight forward but nice, especially as a “cocktail wine”.  (88 pts)

2008 Fetish Wines Playmates

2008 Fetish Wines Playmates

 

 

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch – $45.00

This is another wine I was able to purchase through a friend’s generosity in sharing his mailing list allocation.  In this case, I was able to get three bottles of this wine as well as the winery’s lower end North Valley Pinot Noir.  My North Valley Pinots are unfortunately all gone now and it’s time to dig into the Estate Pinot.

 

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

 

Tony Soter

Tony Soter founded Etude Wines in 1982 and its name, “study,” describes his reverence for the ongoing learning process that is winegrowing.  Early in his career, Soter realized that there were innumerable variables that guided a wine towards excellence.  He learned to distinguish between winemaking techniques fundamental to quality, and those that imparted a winemaker’s signature.  He sought to understand the voice of each individual vineyard, to maximize its expression in the glass.

 

In the mid-1980s, Soter began working as a consulting winemaker in the Napa Valley, assisting luminaries such as Araujo, Niebaum-Coppola, Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader and Dalle Valle.  After years of mentoring and encouraging some of NapaValley’s most respected growers and winemakers, he ended his consulting roles to focus exclusively on Soter Vineyards and his family.

 

Apart from being a culmination, Soter Vineyards is also a beginning.  Soter Vineyards is a family enterprise; with the eventual help of their children, Oregon natives Tony and Michelle Soter hope to establish a legacy of august, estate-bottled wines, in the fashion of the great family domaines of Burgundy.  The wines will consistently express this exotic flare, be sappy and fruit-driven, with lovely acid balance.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The elegant nose has cherries, Asian spices, minerals, cola, dried flowers, smoke and a touch of white pepper.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  This is intense on the palate with bright, focused cherries and spice up front, slowly giving way to minerals, cola and white pepper.  The finish has nice length but seems to lose just a touch of its zip and focus.  This is very nice now but will be better in another year of two.  (93 pts)

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch

2009 Soter Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch

 

 

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 – Aug 16, 2013 to Aug 18, 2013

 

 

2001 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2008 Foris Gewürztraminer

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera delDuero

 

 

 

2001 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett – $21.83

We’re big fans of German Rieslings with a bit of age on them.  We’ve been know to open 20 to 25 year old ones, so at only 12 years old, this one is on the young side.  I bought a few bottles of this wine several years ago, and this is our last bottle.  To me, a good Riesling is a revelation.  Unencumbered by oak, the fruit and minerality are allowed to grab the spotlight and shine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden yellow to straw color.  The slightly shy nose has apples, honey, minerals, orange blossoms, and a hint of petrol.  This has medium body, crisp acidity, and some nice closing sweetness.  On the palate apples and pineapples hit first with a nice streak of minerality and orange zest coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with very nice balance between the acidity and sweetness.  This is drinking wonderfully today and could last in the cellar for a few years, but why wait?  (91 pts)

2001 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett

 

 

 

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $19.00

This rosé from Bedrock as well as Villa Creek’s offering, form the nucleus of my warm weather  rosé wines.  I mix in a few others I buy at the local store, but these two make up well over 50% of the rosés we drink during the year.  If you aren’t on the Bedrock mailing list, I highly recommend getting on their waiting list.  They are producing some of the best white wines coming out of California and their reds, after some cellar time are outstanding.  This rosé completes the loop making Bedrock one of the better wineries making a wide variety of wines.  As a bonus, their pricing is very consumer friendly with a lot of wines under $25.

 

For more information on the winery or to get on their mailing list, visit their website here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light pink to salmon color. The fresh and clean nose has strawberries, minerals, white peaches, cherries, and some subtle earthiness. This has light body with crisp acidity and maybe just a touch of residual sugar. Crisp, juicy fruit and minerals dominate the palate with a touch of earthiness in the background. The finish has nice length and leaves a very slightly sweet and crisp final impression. The perfect wine to enjoy on a warm Summer afternoon with or without food.  (90 pts)

2012 Bedrock Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rose

 

 

 

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $38.00

I decided to make this an all Bedrock day.  This will by my first bottle of wine from the winery using grapes from the outstanding Monte Rosso Vineyard.  Owner/wine maker, Morgan Twain-Peterson was able to secure grapes from the same block his father Joel used to create the outstanding wines for his old winery, Ravenswood.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, violets, fresh ground black pepper, toasty oak, vanilla, melted licorice, freshly ground dark roast coffee, and a touch of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, layers of fruit, spice, and savory elements take turns engulfing the taste buds, trying to out do each other.  The finish is extremely long and again reveals new layers every few seconds.  This is obviously on the young side and even though it will last in the cellar through the end of the decade, it is absolutely stunning right now.  (95 pts)

2010 Bedrock Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

2008 Foris Gewürztraminer – $13.29

It’s a nice Summer day that calls for a light lunch on the deck and a crisp, white wine.  I haven’t had one of these for a several months but prior bottles have been very nice.  Even though it is labeled as being dry, it does seem to have just a hint of sweetness which adds a touch of body and depth.  I would have preferred to have consumed this bottle last year, but as always, a bottle or two gets missed before the weather deteriorates with the changing seasons.  I remember this wine having such nice acidity and balance that I’m not even considering chilling off a back up bottle.  Let’s see how well this bottle survived some extended cellar time.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale yellowish straw color.  The fresh and exotic smelling nose has lychee, apple, pineapple, orange zest, nice spice, and rose petals.  This is light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness, even though it is labeled as dry.  An almost oily texture on the palate accompanies nice spicy, fruit laced, lychee with come citrus in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the spicy citrus hanging on and slowly dissipating.  This is as good as this one will get, so I’d advise drinking up before the colder seasons roll around since this started fading after a couple hours.  (89 pts)

2008 Foris Gewurztraminer

 

 

 

2004 Bodegas y Viñedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera del Duero – $28.73

I was in the mood for something a little different today.  It hasn’t been all that long since I opened an Aalto Ribera del Duero, but that bottle just “primed the pump” causing me to want another.  A lot of people prefer a Rioja from Spain, but to me the Ribera del Duero is THE destination for outstanding Spanish wines.

 

I bought several of these a number of years ago and opened one WAY too young.  It was enjoyable but needed a couple more years in the cellar.  It’s time to see if I was able to keep my hands off it long enough.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The open and inviting nose is full of black cherries, dark bittersweet chocolate, smoke, well worn leather, blackberries, warm baking spices, and violets.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy berries and cherries fly out of the gate with some building dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long and full of spicy cherries and dark chocolate.  Very tasty today but absolutely no hurry on this one.  (92 pts)

2004 Bodegas y Vinedos Montecastro y Llanahermosa Ribera del Duero

 

 

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 – June 28, 2013 to June 30, 2013

 

 

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Helen’s Helm

2007 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera delDuero AAlto

 

 

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Helen’s Helm – $17.52

Treasure Hunter is a “négociant’ label.  The “winery” doesn’t own any vineyards or even a winery.  They buy excess wine from other wineries and either bottle it as is or do some blending and then bottle the finished product.  In most cases Treasure Hunter wines are identical to another, much more expensive, wine in the market place.  During the recent “economic downturn” when a lot of wineries were cutting back on their production, Treasure Hunter was the recipients of some great juice that they sold at killer prices.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a deep, dark maroon color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, minerals, baking spices, charred meat, vanilla, cherries, dark bittersweet chocolate, and some earthiness.  This has a fairly full body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate a loads of juicy berries, tart cherries, and minerals hit first with nice spice and a meaty element coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and lingering with some dark chocolate joining the spice and berries.  This is a very impressive wine that drinks several notches above its price point.  (93 pts)

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Helen's Helm

 

 

 

2007 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown – $33.33

There’s a story behind this bottle of wine.  This is (was) a very small winery on Diamond Mountain in Calistoga.  We had visited the winery several times and enjoyed their wines, especially the Cabernet Franc.  I received an e-mail in January 2010 offering this wine at a nice discount on a case purchase.  The wine wasn’t bottles yet, but was to be bottled in early May and shipped as soon as possible after that time.  Mid May rolled around, and I sent them an e-mail asking if the wine would ship before it got too hot and didn’t receive a response.  I e-mailed and called the winery several times over the next few months with no response.  In September or October, their phone was disconnected and e-mails started bouncing.  A Google search confirmed my worst fears, the winery had entered into bankruptcy.

 

Over the next two years, I continued attempting to track down anyone associated with the winery or whoever purchased their “assets”.

 

Finally in late 2012, I heard back from the former owner, he had finally checked the old e-mail accounts.  After several phone calls and dozens of e-mails, he agreed he owed me my case of wine.  All of the wine at the winery had been seized, but he had been able to slip a few cases out.  He sent me a case from this “private stash”.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The classic nose has cedar, cassis, tobacco, well worn leather, dried herbs, baking spices, a touch of cherry and some earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very bright acidity.  On the palate the cassis and spicy oak jump to the forefront with dried herbs and some earthiness in the background.  The finish has decent length with cherries and dried herbs coming into the picture.  This lacks a bit of the richness of some earlier vintages and the acidity is fairly prominent at this point in the wine’s development.  Maybe another year or two may help integrate the acidity, but this will never live up to their stunning 1992 and 2002 vintages.  This will appeal more to those with an old world palate than those expecting a big and rich California wine.  (89 pts)

2007 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown

 

 

 

We paired the Cabernet Franc with a lighter dinner on the deck since it was a very nice but slightly cool evening.  We made an herb rubbed pork tenderloin with a creamy tarragon sauce that gets a bit of a kick from grainy Dijon mustard.  We also made one of my favorite Summer sides dishes, a salad made from fresh corn and lima beans.  Maybe not a classic pairing, but it worked very nicely on this occasion.  If you would like either recipe, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail to cliff@CliffsWinePicks.com.

Pork Tenderloin and Corn-Lima Bean salad

 

 

 

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto – $31.67

I have several “friends” who had the great fortune of spending the last week touring parts of Spain on someone else’s dime.  After seeing their pictures, reading their tweets and Facebook posts, and checking out their blogs, I’m in the mood for something from Spain.  I don’t think they visited the Ribera del Duero region, but I wanted something big and burly to go with grilled rib-eyes, so this was the winner.

 

I’ve enjoyed this wine many times over the years.  I have a few older vintages in the cellar, but since I have a nice stash of this vintage, I decided it was time to check in to see how it is coming along.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon, dark color.  The stunning nose has blackberry liqueur, melted licorice, warm baking spices, cedar, dark bittersweet chocolate, some earthy underbrush, and a nice floral note.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and plush with spicy berries, dark chocolate, and some earthiness.  The finish is long and loaded with spicy fruit and dark chocolate.  This tastes outstanding today, but may get even better with some additional cellar time.  (94 pts)

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto

 

 

 

 

***** 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-Mar 15, 2013 to Mar 17, 2013

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah James Berry Vineyard

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero

2007 K Vintners Syrah Morrison Lane

 

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah James Berry Vineyard – $60.00

 

My comments

I’m in the mood for something special tonight.  Dinner won’t be anything to out of the ordinary, so I decided to kick up the wine selection a few notches.

 

This is one of my favorite wineries, using one of my favorite grapes, from one of my favorite vineyards.  That sounds special, at it does to me.  It has been a couple years since I tried this wine, so it’s a perfect time to check in to see how it is progressing.

 

Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley in particular.  So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best.  For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s Rhone Valley.  During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life.  At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him.  He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, smoked meat, minerals, blueberries, tar, black pepper, bittersweet chocolate, and some earthiness.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The wine isn’t as big on the palate as the nose lead me to expect, it’s actually very civilized.  The palate has nice rich fruit but equal amounts of savory elements to steer clear of getting too fruity and boring.  The tannins and acidity easily holds everything in place and maintains control.  The finish is fairly long with some dark chocolate and earthiness creeping in to add considerable interest.  I may have been in the minority, but I liked this style of Copain Syrah.  (93 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah James Berry Vineyard

 

 

 

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero – $30.79

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the masculine wines coming out of Spain’s Ribera del Duero region for several years.  These tend to be on the rustic side with burly tannins in their youth but with plenty of acidity and fruit to evolve into something special with enough time in the cellar.  It’s been a few years since I tried this wine, so it’s time to check in again.

 

Winery history

One of the most sought-after pieces of land in Ribera del Duero, the estate of Villacreces sits next to Vega Sicilia, perhaps (historically) the most famous property in the Spanish region.  There is written evidence that the first vines were planted on the estate in the 13th Century.  During the 14th Century, it was run by Saint Pedro de Villacreces and, later on, with its perfect conditions for prayer and retreat, it became a monastery.  In the 20th Century, the property belonged to a wealthy aristocratic family from Valladolid, who used to spend their holidays and weekends there.  In the early 1970s, 100 acres of vineyard were planted, which has now been increased to 150. Including a 200-year-old forest, the estate comprises a total of 285 acres.

 

In 2003, the Anton family – owners of a Rioja bodega and one of Spain’s most famous Michelin starred restaurants in the Basque country – purchased the estate and invested in revitalizing both the estate and the vineyards.  The property is situated at 2,300 feet above sea level on poor soils comprised of lime, gravel, sand and quartz which naturally keep yields low (the estate averages 1.6 tons per acre).  The proximity to the Duero river helps protect the vines from and reduce the effects of the frosts that are common in the Ribera del Duero.

 

This is courtesy of Eric Solomon’s fantastic site, loads of fantastic information is available and is highly recommended.  Click here to visit the site.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, minerals, raspberries, dried herbs, orange zest, earthy underbrush, warm baking spices, dark roast coffee, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has very nice fruit with loads of spice, minerals, and earthiness adding tons of depth.  An herbal note pops out on the back end and lingers on through the long finish.  Even though it is 9 years old, this is still on the young side and needs some air or preferably a few more years in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2004 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero

 

 

 

2007 K Vintners Syrah Morrison Lane – $43.69

 

My comments

I was in the mood for something different today.  I bought six bottles of this wine from the local store a couple years ago.  I opened one about a year ago, and it definitely fell into the “something different” category.  This wasn’t your typical, fruit driven wine.  At that time, the fruit was a bit player in the bigger picture.  It’s time to try my second bottle to see how this is progressing.

 

Winery history

Located at the base of the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla (Washington State), Charles Smith opened his first winery, K Vintners, in December of 2001.  The first release, 1999 K Syrah from Walla Walla Valley, initiated the style of winemaking that Charles continues today: small lots of single vineyard Syrahs and field blends of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Tempranillo and Viognier, all of which are hand-picked, foot-stomped, fermented with naturally occurring yeasts and basket pressed.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color, almost black.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, charred meat, smoky embers, dried flowers, black pepper, roasted herbs, vanilla, melted licorice, minerals, and dark bittersweet chocolate.  This is fairly full bodied with solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the charred meat, roasted herbs, and black pepper seize control before some fruit can finally break through.  The finish is long and again full of the savory elements with just enough fruit slipping through to add some sweetness before the dark chocolate eventually closes the show.  This is still on the young side and will reward some additional cellar time, but this will never be a fruit driven wine.  (93 pts)

2007 K Vintners Syrah Morrison Lane

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

According to Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

I received a few bottles from a new winery in Argentina to sample.

2011 Fat Gaucho Torrontés

2011 Fat Gaucho Malbec

2010 Fat Gaucho Malbec Reserva

2010 Fat Gaucho Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

These wines will be reviewed for Crave Local.

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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