Posts tagged ‘Ridge Geyserville’

Cliffs Wine Picks – June 8, 2015 to June 14, 2015

 

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve

Noël Bougrier Vouvray Pétillant Blanc de Blanc Brut

 

 

 

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey – $24.99

This 100% Pinot Noir is from the village of Mercurey in the Côte Chalonnaise region.  The vines are an average of 25 years old.  After a traditional fermentation, the wine is aged 10 to 12 months in stainless steel vats.  The wine has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light red to ruby color.  The appealing nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, chalky minerals, orange zest, dry earth and dried wildflowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, spice and minerals jump out first with white pepper and dry earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with white pepper and a hint of orange zest adding nice depth.  Not the most complex wine out there, but this is very tasty and offers great QPR for around $25.  (90 pts)

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey

2012 Louis Latour Mercurey

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and this uses a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This is in a very nice drinking window and should hold for at least a few more years.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha – $29.75

This is a blend of 60% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache and 10% each Mourvedre and Carignan from Paso Robles.  There were only 375 cases of this wine produced.

 

This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep dark ruby to maroon color.  The invigorating nose is full of raspberries, crushed stones, cherries, potpourri, incense, vanilla, scorched earth, licorice and cocoa powder.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate layers of fruit and savory elements take turns grabbing the show, first raspberries then crushed stones then scorched earth then cherries then… the show continues.  The finish has very nice length again with the fruit and savory elements taking turns trying to steal the show.  This is drinking at its peak and should hold for a few more years.  I’ve been a fan of this wine for several vintages and this is one of the best bottles I’ve opened.  Superb!  (94 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

2008 Villa Creek Mas de Maha

 

 

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve – $20.00

The winery was named for the owner’s two grandmother’s, Bella and Grace.  This wine uses grapes from the estate’s BellaGrace Vineyard in Amador County.  The wine has 13.8% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The exuberant nose has blackberries, dusty minerals, cocoa powder, iron shavings, black pepper, scorched earth, dried leafy herbs, road tar, warm baking spices and dried violets.  This has medium body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, dusty minerals, cocoa powder and black pepper grab hold on the front end, slowly allowing scorched earth and dried herbs to slip through.  The finish has good length with iron shavings and baking spices entering the picture adding nice complexity and depth.  This is young, I’ll hold off a few years before opening another bottle.  The additional cellar time will be rewarded.  (91 pts)

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve

2012 Bella Grace Petite Sirah Reserve

 

 

Noël Bougrier Vouvray Pétillant Blanc de Blanc Brut – $18.99

The wine is a bright golden straw color.  The refreshing nose has apples, orange zest, yeasty bread, chalky minerals, white flowers and a touch of nuttiness.  This has light to medium body with pinpoint bubbles and crisp acidity.  On the palate tart apples, orange zest and minerals dominate the front end with white flowers and a yeasty note coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a lime note popping out and seeming to linger forever.  Not a great deal of complexity here, but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious.  (91 pts)

Noël Bougrier Vouvray Pétillant Blanc de Blanc Brut

Noël Bougrier Vouvray Pétillant Blanc de Blanc Brut

 

 

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 2015 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 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 – Jan 12, 2015 to Jan 18, 2015

 

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2011 Exitus

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $13.59

This was an unfamiliar wine when I saw it on the shelf at a local wine store.  Since I had a coupon worth 20% off on “old world” wine and we always seem to be low on Italian wines, I had to grab a bottle.  Since the bottle already had a couple years of age “under its belt”, I’m hoping it’s good to go.  This wine is 90% Sangiovese, 5% Alicante, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dull ruby color with some bricking at the edge.  The pleasurable nose has cherries, dusty minerals, baking spices, underbrush, roasted herbs, vanilla bean and dried violets.  This has medium body with very good acidity and just a touch of tannins.  On the palate cherry and dusty minerals grab hold first, slowly allowing spices and roasted herbs to slip into the picture.  The finish has good length with some underbrush and a touch of dark chocolate coming in late.  This was a steal at well under $15.  (92 pts)

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $32.99

In July 2012, the store where we used to live brought this in at a great price, under $25 a bottle.  Those bottles are long gone, but when I saw this on the shelf of a store near our new home, I had to grab a bottle even though the cost was not as low.  Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries so it was nice to open something I knew she would appreciate.

 

Gnarly Dudes is made with fruit sourced from mature vineyards from the Barossa’s western ranges.

 

The lots making up this wine were crushed into and fermented in 3, 5, 7 and 10 ton open top vessels.  Three daily pump overs were performed during the peak of fermentation to extract flavor, color and tannins.  The batches were drained and pressed to tank, then racked to barrel for oak maturation where malolactic fermentation occurred.  All batches were kept separate and blended just prior to bottling.  The wine was aged 14 months in hogsheads, 11% new French oak with the balance in 1 to 4 year old French oak

 

This wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

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

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $33.60

This wine is 100% Grenache from the Denner Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

This is the first year Villa Creek used concrete vats for a portion of the Grenache, which was fermented with 50% whole clusters. The other two lots were fermented in steel and aged in 500 liter barrels, 50% new.

 

The wine has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with wax coating.  There were 360 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color with a ruby tint.  The sensuous nose has ripe cherries, crushed stone minerals, plums, licorice, dried herbs, dried flowers and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the ripe cherries and stony minerals jump out quickly with dried herbs and dried earth coming in later.  The finish is long and lingering with licorice and a nice floral note entering the picture and adding good depth.  This is very easy to drink now and should provide plenty of pleasure over the next couple of years.  (93 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast – $39.99

Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries so I have to grab a bottle or two any time I see them on a store’s shelf.  I bought this bottle at the same time I grabbed the Gnarly Dudes also on this post.

 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s McLaren Vale region.

 

The lots that went into this wine were crushed into and fermented in open top vessels.  There were three daily pump overs to extract flavors, color and tannins.  The average time ‘on skins’ was 14 days.  The batches were then drained and pressed to tank and then racked to barrel for oak maturation.  The wine was aged 14 months in hogsheads: 12% new French oak, balance in one to four year old French oak.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The relaxing nose has ripe cassis, licorice, baking spices, pencil shavings and a hint of roasted herbs.  This has a medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Ripe, rich fruit and spice coat the palate on the front end with a bit of roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has good length with pencil shavings and a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This wine is very easy to drink and enjoy.  (90 pts)

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

2011 Exitus – $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 has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle was sealed with an artificial cork.

 

My Tasting Note

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.  (87 pts)

2011 Exitus

2011 Exitus

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and this uses a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This is in a very nice drinking window and should hold for at least a few more years.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

I decided to try something different to pair with the Ridge Geyserville.  I have a pellet grill that I use to smoke meat and decided to see how a chicken would turn out.  I started with a five to six pound whole fryer.  After brining it overnight in water with kosher salt and brown sugar, I rinsed it off with cold water, patted it dry and coated it with my spice rub.  The bird then went into the pellet grill for 6 hours at 180 degrees.  For the last hour, I upped the temperature to 225.

Chicken - Before

 

Here is the finished chicken.  It was very tender and extremely juicy with just a touch of spice from the dry rub and it had a very nice smoky aroma and taste.  The chick and the wine worked very nicely together.

Chicken - After

 

 

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 2015 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 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 – Nov 3, 2014 to Nov 9, 2014

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys’ Vineyard

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard

 

 

Due to a fast approaching move from Wisconsin to South Carolina, some of the wines have minimal information other than my tasting note.

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and this uses a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This is in a very nice drinking window and should hold for at least a few more years.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – $12.99

In my ongoing quest to build up a stash of under $15 Pinot Noirs for week night dinners, this is my next candidate.  It looks like I got a great deal on a couple bottles since the average price on Cellar Tracker is almost $10 a bottle higher.  The more I drink Oregon Pinot Noir wines, the more I like them.  They are nice alternatives to the riper, rounder California versions that populate my wine cellar.

 

This has 13.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The mysterious nose has black cherries, smoke, minerals, earthy underbrush, warm baking spices, dried flowers and just a touch of nice funk.  This is barely medium body with silky tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spices and cherries jump out first with minerals, smoke and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with cherries and spice carrying the load.  This isn’t the most complex Pinot out there but is a winner for under $15.  (89 pts)

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

2011 Lange Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

 

 

 

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese – $10.44

 

This wine has 8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a synthetic nomacorc.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright golden yellow color.  The very satisfying nose has apples, honey, petrol, orange blossoms, orange zest and crushed stone minerals.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and good residual sweetness.  On the palate honey dipped apples jump out immediately with orange zest and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish have good length and shows great balance between the acidity and sweetness.  There’s no hurry to drink this one, it can last in the cellar for a decade, maybe longer.  (91 pts)

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spätlese

 

 

 

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – $24.92

 

This wine has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The appealing nose has black cherries, raspberries, dusty minerals, baking spices, vanilla, wildflowers and subtle underbrush.  This has medium to full body with soft tannins and good acidity.  Rich, spicy fruit engulfs the palate with minerals and a nice floral note coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a bit of earthiness and vanilla joining the sweet fruit.  This is very easy to drink.  (89 pts)

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2011 Loring Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon – $40.00

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

 

This wine has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were 7 barrels of this wine produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, cassis, vanilla, dried herbs, stony minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, cracked black peppercorns and dried violets.  The wine has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and nice acidity.  Big fruit and minerals jump out first on the palate with dried herbs and vanilla coming in later.  The full flavored finish adds some dark chocolate and black pepper.  This is a beast but the tannins and acidity keep it in check, at least for now.  (93 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

 

 

 

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys’ Vineyard – $29.99

This was a very easy wine to buy in bulk, one of my favorite wineries, one of my favorite grapes and one of my favorite vineyards.

 

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

 

Winery history

Our winemaking goal is to produce wines that best capture the distinct flavor and character of a given vineyard site.  To that end, we focus on sites that provide us with exceptional fruit.  We are fanatical in our protection of the vineyard flavor and are determined not to let any overt winemaking components mute the personality of an individual site.

 

In the cellar, we vinifiy each wine separately by block, clone and barrel type in order to maximize the individual components and provide greater complexity to the final blend.  This approach also provides us with much more flexibility in crafting a wine using only the best and most harmonious lots.

 

Given that the majority of our wines are single vineyard offerings, it is critical for us to maintain the site’s individual character in order to provide you with a truly diverse offering of wines.  To that end:

 

  • We believe in minimal intervention, “gentle” winemaking.  In other words, we let the wine make itself.  We do not want to do anything to the wine that isn’t absolutely necessary.
  • We believe in bottling our wines unfiltered and unfined whenever possible, convinced as we are that fining and filtering strip wines of flavor and character.
  • We believe that the best wines express their origins.  Our goal is not to produce the world’s best Syrah or Zinfandel but rather to produce the very best wine from a given site.

 

Much more information on Novy and the wines they produce is available on their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The very enticing nose has blackberries, licorice, smoked meat, pepper, baking spices, blueberry, dried herbs, minerals and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Spicy fruit with a nice meaty presence grabs hold of your palate with pepper and some earthiness coming in later.  This has a nice lingering finish which again highlights the meaty elements with chocolate and fruit in the background providing nice sweetness.  This is very nice with impressive balance.  (93 pts)

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys' Vineyard

2007 Novy Family Wines Syrah Garys’ Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard – $34.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The alluring nose has brambly berries, black cherries, crushed stones, vanilla, dried herbs, black pepper, dark chocolate and dried flowers.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate berries, cherries, spice and dark chocolate jump out first with pepper and vanilla coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dried herbs and a dried floral note entering the picture.  This is drinking very nicely today but should hold for a couple more years.  (91 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard

2009 Turley Zinfandel Tofanelli Vineyard

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Sep 23, 2013 to Sep 26, 2013

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2004 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Casa Cisca

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese – $34.81

We’re real big fans of off-dry German Riesling wines with some age on them.  The overt sweetness and tingly acidity mellow and integrate over time leaving a delicious, food friendly elixir.  These wines are better defined as rich instead of sweet.  Try an aged Riesling with a spicy dish and you will become a fan.

 

The alcohol in the wine is 9.5% and the bottle has a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

Schloss Schönborn – famous wines with a long tradition.  Located in the heart of the Rheingau valley, the Domänenweingut Schloss Schönborn has long stood for premium wine culture.

 

Many of the vineyards along the slopes bordering the RhineRiver have been part of the Schönborn family estate since 1349, which has been added to continuously since then.  Several top sites were acquired in the 17th and 18th centuries, giving the estate a real boost.  The estate now covers 50 ha, of which 90% are planted with Riesling.  The remaining vineyards feature Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.  The Schloss Schönborn wine estate is one of the founder members of the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates (VDP) and has for many years been managing its valuable vineyards in tune with nature.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, golden yellow color. The very pleasing nose has petrol, apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, and some white pepper. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and nice sweetness. Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir. The wine has a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime. This may last a few more years in the cellar, but it tastes marvelous right now.  (93 pts)

1988 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spatlese

 

 

 

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT – $16.62

I bought 6 bottles of this wine from a local wine store e-mail offer based on a solid recommendation from a fellow wine lover.  This “Super Tuscan” is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah.

 

This is listed at 13%  alcohol and has a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

The wine cellar of Borgo Scopeto renewed and enlarged over the last few years, is equipped with the most modern technology for vinification.

 

The cellar is composed of 50 stainless steal tanks with capacities that range from 11 to 260 hectolitres, for a total of 7000 hectolitres.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color, lighter at the edge. The appealing nose has cherries, warm baking spices, blackberries, white pepper, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, and a touch of dark chocolate. This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very good acidity. Tart, spicy, earthy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and some chocolate coming in on the back end. The finish has nice length and is an extension of the palate with just a touch of spicy oak creeping into the picture. For a very young wine, this is drinking very nicely today. This should improve with another year in the cellar and drink well for a few additional years.  (91 pts)

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2004 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Casa Cisca – $18.99

I’d been waiting for a good reason to open the sealed wooden 6 pack case of this wine.  The Twitter #winechat theme for the week, Spanish Monastrell served as the perfect reason to dig out a screwdriver and pliers.

 

The 2004 Casa Cisca, the estate’s flagship wine, is 100% old-vine Monastrell (70+ years of age) aged for 14 months in American oak.  This wine is several steps up from most of the winery’s offerings.

 

This is bottle number 8793 out of 13,420.  Per the label, this has 15% alcohol and has a natural cork closure.  The bottle used is one of the VERY heavy types used for winery’s highest end wines, 1.9 kg (4.25 lbs).  I think this massive bottle would crack concrete if accidently dropped in the driveway (only a mild exaggeration).

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby color.  The exotic nose is full of warm berry pie, cherries, Asian spices, cedar, tobacco, earthy underbrush, minerals, dark chocolate, wild flowers, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is lighter and brighter on the palate than I was expecting based on the slightly brooding nose.  Asian spice and tart cherries lead off the show with minerals and cedar making an appearance on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with minerals, spicy oak and some earthiness adding to the complexity.  This is still on the younger side and some additional cellar time will be rewarded.  That said, with some air this vibrant and bright wine is immensely enjoyable today.  (92 pts)

2004 Bodegas Castano Yecla Casa Cisca

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and the bottle uses a natural cork.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lytton Springs, in SonomaCounty, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This still seems to be a touch on the young side but is still very enjoyable.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

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 – May 3, 2013 to May 5, 2013

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2006 Copain Syrah Madder Lake

1998 Bert Simon Serriger Würtzberg Riesling Spätlese

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grenache/Syrah Booker Vineyard

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $26.59

 

My comments

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I bought, I now have less than half remaining.

 

Winery history

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

 

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

 

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

 

Lytton Springs, in SonomaCounty, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This still seems to be on the young side but is still very enjoyable.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

2006 Copain Syrah Madder Lake – $25.00

 

My comments

Until they moved into their “Tous Ensemble” line of appellation based wines, this was always the lowest priced wine offered by Copain, which made it a real easy wine to grab when it was offered.  This has been a frustrating wine over the years, every bottle was always enjoyable but seemed to need another year in the cellar, no matter how long you waited.  This was usually the most restrained offering from Copain’s Syrah program.

 

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 fairly deep purple color.  The enjoyable nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, roasted herbs, dark chocolate, vanilla, and a nice floral note.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate smoky, meaty berries grab hold first, eventually allowing roasted herbs and dark chocolate to slip into the picture.  The finish has nice length and closes with a touch of spicy oak that gets a touch too prominent.  A very nice wine from the Copain mailing list for $25, but I wish the oak would integrate a little better on the finish.  (90 pts)

2006 Copain Syrah Madder Lake

 

 

 

1998 Bert Simon Serriger Würtzberg Riesling Spätlese – $19.99

 

My comments

For a die hard fan of well aged Rieslings, Garagiste Wine out of Washington is a blessing.  They are able to source and sell wines with a decade or more of time in the bottle for less than the current vintages are selling for in the marketplace.

 

Winery history

In the years 1900 through 1905 the Prussian Minister of Agriculture Baron von Schorlemer acquired the vineyards at Serrig for 197,000 gold marks.  Striving to elevate the quality level of the estate to his demanding standards, the Baron spent additional money on improvements, including reinforcement of the steep vineyards with over 6,500 cubic yards of rock walls.  Always focused on quality, the von Schorlemer estate was a founding member of Der Grosse Ring.

 

The present owner, Bert Simon, whose family was for many years involved in viticulture in the village of Mertesdorf on the Ruwer, has continued this tradition of constant improvement.  In 1968, as a young enologist, Bert Simon acquired the von Schorlemer vineyards Serriger Herrenberg and Serriger Würtzberg.  Both vineyard sites are monopole sites of the estate and almost all the vines are planted on steeply sloping hillsides.  A total of 16ha or about 40 acres are under vines.

 

The Würtzberg has an incline of up to 75 degrees and its soil consists also of red and blue slate, but has larger amounts of sandstone and clay mixed in.  This results in weightier, broader, more full bodied wines.  They tend to be ready to drink at an earlier age and have a well integrated acidity.

 

The estate produces approximately 12,000 cases in an average year.

 

My Tasting Note

Not a good sign, the cork was wet under the capsule.  Upon slow extraction, the cork was soft and very soggy, another bad sign.  As soon as the cork popped free, the room was filled with honey, apples, and petrol, now that was a great sign!  The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The wine was not sparkling, but there were a lot of bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass.  The fresh and lively nose has apples, honey, petrol, orange blossoms, minerals, juicy pears, lemon zest, and a touch of white peach.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity, and a nice sweet richness.  Loads of sweet fruit and minerals engulf the palate until the slow building orange and lemon acidity kicks in to balance everything out.  The finish is fairly long with the minerals and citrus carrying the load and the fruit providing nice sweetness in the background.  This 15 year old Riesling is still very fresh on the nose and palate, this can easily last for another decade in the cellar.  (94 pts)

1998 Bert Simon Serriger Wurtzberg Riesling Spatlese

 

 

 

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc – $6.64

 

My comments

I grabbed a few of these on close out at the local wine store in January.  I wanted to try one to see if I should grab some more to last through the upcoming Spring/Summer seasons.  I was a more than a bit leery about buying a six year old wine of unknown provenance.  Those fears were put to rest as soon as I had my first sip.  This is a blend of 64.3% Roussanne and 35.7% Grenache Blanc from the Beeswax Vineyard in Arroyo Seco.

 

Winery history

With his family’s assistance, Randall purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a magically quaint area known as Bonny Doon, intent on producing the Great American Pinot Noir.  The GAPN proved to be systematically elusive, but he was greatly encouraged by experimental batches of Rhône varieties.  The late, great Bonny Doon Estate Vineyard (1981 – 1994, a tragic victim to Pierce’s Disease) was eventually planted to Syrah, “Roussanne,” Marsanne, and Viognier and produced achingly beautiful wines, confirming that California’s temperate climate is well suited to the sun-loving grapes of the Mediterranean. In 1986, Bonny Doon Vineyard released the inaugural vintage (1984) of Le Cigare Volant, an homage to Châteauneuf-duPape

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a glistening yellow to gold color.  The Spring breeze like nose has honeysuckle, beeswax, minerals, apples, lemon zest, white peaches, orange blossoms, and spice.  This has light to medium body and very good acidity.  On the palate tart apples and pears loaded with stony minerals hit first followed by nice citrusy acidity.  The finish is fairly long with a touch of juicy peach adding a little something extra.  (91 pts)

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grenache/Syrah Booker Vineyard – $43.00

 

My comments

As I’ve said in the past, I think Big Basin is one big score from one of the major wine reviewing periodicals away from appearing everyone’s radar.  I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin’s Syrah wines and blends for a few years.  I would highly recommend checking them out.  This is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah from the Booker Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

Winery history

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

 

Best known for Syrah, but also makes Pinot Noirs and blends.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The outstanding nose has blackberries, blueberries, Asian spices, licorice, freshly cracked black peppercorns, dark bittersweet chocolate, with some nice earthiness.  This has full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and nice acidity.  On the palate there are loads of berries and spice up front with dark chocolate and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long with black pepper and a touch of sweet cherries and a floral note coming into the picture.  This is in a nice drinking window and will be enjoyable over the remainder of the decade.  (93 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Grenache-Syrah Booker Vineyard

 

 

 

We relived our time in Texas for dinner, even though that was a lifetime ago.  Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and some sautéed green beans.  The meal was actually a nice pairing with the Big Basin wine.

Chicken Fried Steak

 

 

 

 

***** 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!

 

 

 

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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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