Posts tagged ‘Ridge Lytton Springs’

Cliffs Wine Picks – August 2017 Vol 5

 

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema – $16.77

This 100% Sonoma County Pinot Noir comes is comprised of 50% Russian River Valley, 25% Sonoma Coast and 25% Sonoma County grapes.  After fermentation the wine was aged 12 months in 35% new French Oak barrels.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The invigorating nose has black cherries, scorched earth, cranberries, white pepper, underbrush, baking spices and plums.  This has medium body with soft tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate black cherries, cranberries, baking spices and white pepper quickly come through on the front end with underbrush and plums coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a touch of scorched earth providing some depth.  This has nice, bold flavors but could use a bit more acidity to help hold everything in check, as is it gets a bit soft and flabby on the back end and finish.  Not bad for a week night Pinot or a bottle to open with a cheese platter with friends.  This has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (86 pts)

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema

2014 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir Olema

 

 

 

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H – $15.99

There is just about nothing about this wine on the internet.  This appears to be a “winery direct” wine imported by Total Wine and on the shelf at my local store.  As expected (and probably mandated) by the region, this is 100% Chardonnay.

 

The wine is a bright yellow color.  The inviting nose has apples, white peach, flinty minerals, orange blossoms, lemon zest and ripe melon.  This has medium body with nice acidity.  On the palate tart apples, minerals and white peach jump out on the front end with melon and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a nice shot of mouthwatering lemon zest providing depth.  This doesn’t offer much complexity but it is tasty.  This would be a nice glass to pair with a light meal or to simply sip with friends over a nice conversation.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (87 pts)

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H

2014 Homage to Heritage Pouilly-Fuissé H to H

 

 

 

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes – $18.99

This is a wine that I generally like in almost all vintages but it’s not a wine I hunt down.  If I can find it at a good price I’ll grab a few bottles.

 

The wine is an inky ruby red.  The sexy nose has black cherries, tobacco, blackberries, white pepper, dried flowers, mocha, vanilla and a touch of earthy underbrush.  This has a fairly full body, moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Intense red and black fruit grabs your palate slowly allowing pepper and mocha to slip in.  On the back end vanilla and some building earthiness enter the picture.  The finish has good length and veers solidly into the earthy spectrum with just a touch of an herbal note coming into play.  This has 15% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

2009 Bodega Numanthia Termes Toro Termes

 

 

 

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs – $37.99

I can never pick a favorite between Ridge’s Lytton Springs and Geyserville blends.  This vintage is a blend of 71% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah and 6% Carignane

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The invigorating nose has blackberries, melted licorice, dusty minerals, raspberries, cedar, charred wood, dry underbrush, dry dill, espresso beans and wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  This is voluptuous and rich on the palate with berries, minerals, raspberries and cedar coming through on the front end and dry underbrush, charred wood and licorice coming in on the back end.  The finish has great length with dry dill, espresso beans and a floral note providing very nice depth.  This has nice richness but with a solid backbone.  This has the balance and stuffing to last in the cellar for several more years.  This kept getting better as the evening wore on.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs

2009 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

 

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT – SRP $16.99

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

 

This is made from the Negroamaro grape.  I’ve had red wines from the grape but this will be my first Rosé.

 

The wine is a deep pink salmon color.  The fresh and lively nose has strawberries, dry earth, cherries, melon, lemongrass, watermelon and chalky minerals.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of residual sweetness.  On the palate bright red fruit and minerals come through on the front end with dry earth and melon coming in later.  The mouthwatering finish has nice length with watermelon and lemongrass providing depth.  This is very easy to sip on a warm, sunny day but it would also pair nicely with a light meal or appetizer platter.  This has 12% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (89 pts)

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT

2016 Tormaresca Calafuria Puglia IGT

 

 

 

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – $38.50

This wine is a blend of 87% Zinfandel and 13% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Tempranillo, Muscadelle, Malvasia, Muscat, and over 30 other varieties).  The vineyard was planted in 1927.  The winery has undertaken the time consuming job of identifying the variety of every one of the 6000 vines in the vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has brambly berries, black peppercorns, licorice, warm baking spices, pencil shavings, stony minerals, black cherries, scorched earth and violets.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate waves of dark fruit, minerals, baking spices and pencil shavings immediately grab your attention with black pepper and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with licorice and violets providing great depth.  This is a rich, lush and powerful Zinfandel that has great balance.  There is no hurry with this wine, it will drink very nicely through at least the end of the decade, probably even longer.  This has 15.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

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

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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Cliffs Wine Picks – October 2016 – Vol 3

 

2015 Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé Sabine

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

2013 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

 

2015 Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé Sabine – $11.04

I received several bottle of Provence Rosé wines to sample from Wines of Provence, so to get my palate ready, I pulled one from my cellar.  I think Provence produces some of the best Rosé wines in the world.

 

This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cinsault and 3% Rolle.  The wine is a light salmon pink color.  The clean and fresh nose has strawberries, cherries, dusty minerals, orange zest and white flowers.  This dry wine has medium body and crist acidity.  On the palate tart strawberries, minerals and cherries quickly provide ice up front flavor with mouth watering orange zest coming in on the back end.  The nice finish adds a pleasing floral note.  This is perfect on a sunny day.  This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.  (91 pts)

2015 Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé Sabine

2015 Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé Sabine

 

 

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard – $16.01

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

 

This wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The captivating nose has brambly berries, black peppercorns, dusty minerals, scorched earth, baking spices, dark chocolate, cherries, violets and just a hint of roasted leafy herbs.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, baking spices and dusty minerals immediately jump out with spicy oak, black pepper and cherries coming in later.  The finish has nice length with some subtle earthiness joining a floral note and dark chocolate to add solid depth.  This is a well balanced, food friendly Zinfandel to enjoy over the remainder of the decade.  (91 pts)

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

 

 

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard – $16.71

I’ve been a fan of St Amant Winery zinfandels for several years.  It was great visiting with the Stuart Spencer, the winemaker for St Amant as well as Jerry Fry, the owner/grower at this vineyard during a recent trip to Lodi.  Even though I’ve loved past vintages of this wine, I think this is their best effort to date.

 

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has brambly berries, dusty minerals, licorice, black pepper, cherries, charred underbrush, violets and a hint of mint.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, minerals and black pepper quickly take control with underbrush and cherries slipping through on the back end.  The finish has very good length with a nice floral note and just a hint of mint adding good depth.  This is drinking very nicely now with some air but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This has great balance and is easy to enjoy.  A great effort.  This has 15.5% alcohol, which was a gigantic surprise to me, not a trace shows through any where.  The bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

 

 

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow – $15.99

This is another winery I visited during my recent Lodi trip.  This is a first class operation and their wines deserve a try, especially their mid to upper end wines.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The intoxicating nose has cassis, vanilla, eucalyptus, tobacco, wild flowers, dark chocolate and baking spices.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate cassis, vanilla and baking spices jump out on the front end with wild flowers and dark chocolate coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a hint of eucalyptus coming through.  Not a lot of complexity or subtlety but very tasty.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (88 pts)

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

2013 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow

 

 

2013 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine – $13.78

We didn’t get the opportunity to visit Klinker Brick on the Lodi trip, but their full throttle zins have always been welcomed in my house.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The big and bold nose has brambly berries, dark chocolate, black peppercorns, dry earth, wild flowers and baking spices.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Crushed berries, baking spices and dark chocolate take control of the palate on the front end with dry earth and black pepper coming in later.  The finish has nice length with berries, pepper and spice carrying the load.  This has 15.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2013 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

2013 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs – $29.99

Ridge is one of the torch-bearers for consistently good wines every vintage.  My favorites are their two blends, this one and Geyserville.  The two seem to alternate which is my favorite every vintage.  Either one would be a welcome addition to my dinner table.

 

This wine is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane.  The wine is a deep garnet color.  The incredible nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, vanilla, black peppercorns, cherries, plums, dry earth, underbrush, dead wood embers and violets.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the plush palate the brambly berries, black peppercorns and minerals take control early with vanilla, cherries and plums coming in later.  The finish has great length with wood embers, subtle earthiness and a nice floral note seeming to linger forever.  This tastes fabulous now and should hold nicely for at least a few more years.  This wine has greatly improved over the last couple of years.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

last-bottle

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  One of the wines in this post was purchased from the site, the Elyse Morisoli Zinfandel.  This wine was purchased at a big discount.  I highly recommend getting on their e-mail list.  Like most of the flash sale sites, they offer one wine per day until it sells out.  They also have a couple two-day marathons during the year that can’t be missed.  Last Bottle is a great site to buy special wines at prices low enough to open any day of the week.

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

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 2016 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 – October Selections 2

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

2001 Dehlinger Syrah

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir

2010 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

 

 

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs – $29.99

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The incredible nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, vanilla, black peppercorns, cherries, plums, dry earth, underbrush, dead wood embers and violets.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the plush palate the brambly berries, black peppercorns and minerals take control early with vanilla, cherries and plums coming in later.  The finish has great length with wood embers, subtle earthiness and a nice floral note seeming to linger forever.  This tastes fabulous now and should hold nicely for at least a few more years.  This wine has greatly improved over the last couple of years.  The wine has 14.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35.00

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The explosive nose is full of blackberries, cassis, smoke, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, melted licorice, vanilla, warm baking spices, and violets.  This is full bodied with moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine grabs hold of your palate unleashing wave after wave of lush fruit, spice, and savory notes in unrelenting layers.  The finish is very long, almost seeming to never end with very nice fruit slowly giving way to dark chocolate and then nice meaty elements and earthiness.  The extra time in the cellar has been rewarded in this case.  There is no hurry on this one, it should hold for at least a few more years.  (95 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.37

This is a perennial house favorite and best buy.  The blend changes every vintage, but the quality is always in the bottle.  This is always a blend of several grapes that always seems to work.

 

This vintage is a blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Syrah, 12% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 4% Sangiovese, 2% Zinfandel, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carmenere.

 

Winery history

Whether it’s our highly acclaimed Firehouse Red or one of our limited-production single vineyard reserve blends, Tamarack’s wines offer a delicious expression of Washington vineyards’ style and elegance.

 

When you visit the winery, you won’t find us in a fancy chateau.  Instead you’ll find yourself immersed in the everyday workings of a family-owned winery, racking, blending and bottling wine, in a renovated firehouse located in a World War II Army Air Base.

 

Founded in 1998 by Ron and Jamie Coleman, Tamarack’s first vintage consisted of 300 cases of Merlot.  The goal was to make elegant, balanced, delicious wines and offer them at a fair price.  Years later, and now up to 20,000 cases each year, the focus remains the same. Tamarack Cellars hand-crafts consistently outstanding wines for a great price.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The pleasant nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, minerals, cherries, baking spices, dried herbs, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with soft tannins and good acidity.  Nice, juicy, spicy fruit hits the palate first with some dark chocolate and earthiness coming in on the back end.  This has decent length on the finish which is showing a touch of oak.  For under $15 this is a keeper.  The bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork, I could not see the alcohol percentage on the label.  Before you ask, I checked before I even had a sip of the wine.  (89 pts)

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue – $8.54

This is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah from 40 year old vineyards.

 

This has 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is garnet red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, black olives, scorched earth, cherries, dried herbs, and wood smoke.  This has medium body, moderate chalky tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements co-exist peacefully with neither trying to steal the show.  The finish has nice length and leans on the savory side of the spectrum.  This isn’t one to stash away, open this one over the next few years and enjoy.  Offers great QPR if you can find it for under $10.  (89 pts)

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

2009 Domaine André Brunel Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sommelongue

 

 

2001 Dehlinger Syrah – $25.00

This was a free upgrade from Underground Cellar, I highly recommend checking them out by clicking here.   Note, if you sign up by this link, you will get an automatic $20 credit, if you ever buy wine from them, I’ll also get a $20 credit.  Their unique approach is that you buy a lower end wine and they will “upgrade” some of your bottles to a higher level wine.  Sometimes the upgrade is minor, sometimes you get lucky and score a real gem, like I did in this case.

 

The wine has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a saturated ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, crushed stone minerals, white pepper, melted black licorice, roasted herbs, dry earth, underbrush, plums, tobacco and violets.  This has medium body with resolved tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spicy, peppery berries and cherries jump out first, quickly followed by crushed stones and roasted herbs.  The long, lingering finish adds some nice earthiness, plums and a floral note.  This is at its peak now and very easy to sit back and enjoy.  (93 pts)

2001 Dehlinger Syrah

2001 Dehlinger Syrah

 

 

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

This wine is a blend of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Franc.  The wine has 13.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has cassis, cherries, dried herbs, freshly ground espresso beans, cigar box, crushed stone minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cassis, cherries, tobacco and a load of crushed stones hit on the front end with espresso beans and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has great length with dried herbs entering the picture.  This needs some time in the cellar, at this point the tannins get a bit chalky.  (94 pts)

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

2010 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

 

 

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection – 12.69

The wine is a pale golden straw color.  The fresh and appealing nose has apples, melons, lime zest, orange blossoms, flinty minerals and white peaches.  This has a light to medium body with nice acidity and a hint of sweetness.  On the palate tart apples, melons and lime zest jump out quickly with flinty minerals coming through on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a touch of white peach and orange blossoms adding nice depth.  The wine has a nice lingering citrus element that leaves your mouth watering for another sip.  This is a great wine for a casual dinner on the deck or patio on a warm evening.  (89 pts)

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection

2013 King Estate Pinot Gris Signature Collection

 

 

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain – SRP $37.00

The wine is a deep purple color.  The sensuous nose has brambly berries, crushed stone minerals, fresh ground espresso beans, black pepper, scorched earth, black licorice, dry wildflowers and dried leafy herbs.  This has a medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Brambly berries, crushed stones and espresso immediately coat the palate with black pepper and dried herbs slipping through on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with licorice and scorched earth adding great depth.  This is a nicely balanced and nuanced zinfandel, not one that needs to be sipped on it’s own.  Fire up the grill, throw on a piece of meat, pull the cork and enjoy a great dinner.  This wine has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain

2011 Elyse Zinfandel Howell Mountain

 

 

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir – $13.59

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, raspberries, dry earth, chalky minerals, roasted leafy herbs and orange zest.  This has medium body with soft silky tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, spice and white pepper pop out on the front end with roasted herbs and minerals coming in later.  The finish has nice length with subtle earthiness and orange zest.  Not a lot of complexity but this is an easy drinking, tasty, reasonably priced Pinot Noir to enjoy on a week night with a lighter meal.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir

2012 Montoya Vineyards Pinot Noir

 

 

2010 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale – $16.99

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The outgoing nose has cherries, blackberries, dark chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee beans, vanilla, road tar and roasted herbs.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, vanilla and roasted herbs hit on the front end with dark chocolate and coffee beans coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of eucalyptus coming in.  Not a lot of complexity and the finish ends with a slight sweet note.  (86 pts)

2010 Tyrrell's Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale

2010 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Rufus Stone McLaren Vale

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock – $49.00

I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin for a few years now.  I should say up front, I have only had their non Pinot Noir wines.  Their big reds are generally fairly full bodied but very balanced.  I think they are one big score from a major wine publication away from hitting the big time.

 

Winery history

Our mission is to create wines that reveal the complex nuances of the vineyards that inspire them – cool climate, ocean-influenced, mountain vineyards.  To this end, we spend long hours in our vineyard to insure that the grapes we grow represent the fullest expression of the vineyard and vintage.  We believe in and employ sustainable and organic farming practices.  The steep hillsides, cooling ocean breezes and fog, and mountain soils promote the development of color and complex flavors.  By keeping the yields very low and harvesting small sections of the vineyard at perfect ripeness, we strive to achieve the most important part of winemaking – great fruit.

 

Much more information available at:  http://bigbasinvineyards.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color, almost black.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, plums, minerals, dying charcoal embers, iron shavings, smoked meat, black pepper, dark chocolate, vanilla, and violets.  This is full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The palate is highlighted by nice, mineral laden, spicy, fruit with a touch of earthiness.  The long finish has the fruit slowly giving way to the minerals, spice, and a touch of dark chocolate.  This is drinking very nicely but will last and probably improve in the cellar for several more years.  (94 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

 

 

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou – $9.34

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The refreshing nose has strawberries, cherries, orange blossoms, tangerine zest and chalky minerals.  This has light to medium body with nice acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate strawberries and minerals jump out first with cherries and orange blossoms coming in later.  The crisp finish has a nice tangerine zest note and has nice length.  The perfect wine to sip on a hot day or to pair with a lighter meal.  (89 pts)

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d'Anjou

2014 Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou

 

 

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage – $18.71

The Crozes-Hermitage is my go to region for value priced wines from the Northern Rhone.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol by volume ands the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, cherries, dried herbs, minerals, smoked meat, black pepper, and some forest floor.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the nicely layered palate spicy fruit is joined by minerals and smoked meat with dried herbs and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length and leans on the savory elements with the fruit providing a touch of sweetness in the background.  This is drinking very nicely today but there is absolutely no need to drink these soon.  (91 pts)

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

 

 

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!

 

Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Field Blend Tasting

 

 

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

 

 

 

2011 Ridge Lytton Springs

2012 Dutcher Crossing Zinfandel Bernier-Sibary Vineyard

2011 Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Beeson Ranch

 

 

Field Blend Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley

ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers’ annual festival) was held on January 23-25th.  I was invited by Anne Alderete of McCue Marketing Communications to participate in a special virtual tasting for those unable to make the trip to San Francisco.  On Wednesday, January 22nd, three zinfandels were showcased that were made in an “old school” style — called “field blend Zins”.  These were all from the Dry Creek Valley, an AVA in Sonoma County that has been setting the bar for Zinfandel for more than 100 years.  These Field Blend Zins are primarily zinfandel, but are grown and picked together with a small percentage of other grapes; the fruit is then co-fermented.

 

The Dry Creek Valley is a 16 miles long, 2 mile wide valley that is the home to over 9,000 acres of vineyards.  The valley has been the home to vineyards for 140 years.  The Dry Creek Valley has one of the densest concentrations of Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards in the world

 

The winemakers participating in the event:

John Olney of Ridge Lytton Springs

Kerry Damskey of Dutcher Crossing Winery

Nova Perrill, Assistant Winemaker of Dry Creek Vineyard

 

 

You can view the video of the chat by visiting the site by clicking here.

 

 

 

The line-up for this tasting:

Dry Creek Valley Zin blends

Dry Creek Valley Zin blends

 

 

2011 Ridge Lytton Springs – SRP $38

This is a blend of 82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignane.

 

The wine has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The nose has brambly berries, roasted herbs, white pepper, scorched earth, minerals and wild flowers.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate was initially restrained, with some air berries and minerals came through up front with roasted herbs, pepper and earthiness on the back end.  Nice length with some dark chocolate coming into the picture.  This was very balanced and much more open and flavorful on the second day.  I’d recommend sitting on this one for a few months or give it some air.  (91 pts)

2011 Ridge Lytton Springs

2011 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

2012 Dutcher Crossing Zinfandel Bernier-Sibary Vineyard – SRP $43

This is a blend of 75% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane and 5% Matero (Mourvedre).

 

The wine has 14.9% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The nose has brambly berries, earth, smoke, black cherries, minerals and underbrush.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there are rich berries, minerals and smoke up front with building earthiness on the back end.  This has a long lush finish.  This is a smooth and rich style of zin that should impress most Zinfandel fans.  (93 pts)

2012 Dutcher Crossing Zinfandel Bernier-Sibary Vineyard

2012 Dutcher Crossing Zinfandel Bernier-Sibary Vineyard

 

 

2011 Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Beeson Ranch – SRP $38

This is a blend of 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The nose has berries, cherry, minerals, baking spices and licorice.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there are berries and tart cherries up front with spice, pepper and minerals coming in on the back end.  This has decent length on the finish with some dried earth coming in.  The wine was better on the second day with some added lushness and smoother tannins.  (87 pts)

2011 Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Beeson Ranch

2011 Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Beeson Ranch

 

 

Conclusion

This was a very enjoyable event with one of my all time favorite wines in this category, the Ridge Lytton Springs.  The event also included a new winery for me, Dutcher Cross, which I will actively search for in the future.  The Dry Creek Vineyard wine wasn’t shabby and would make any evening meal a much nicer experience.

 

I want to say thanks to McCue Marketing Communications and specifically Anne Aldrete for including me in the event.  I also have to express my gratitude to the wineries for supplying the wines for the tasting.

 

 

 

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 – Oct 18, 2013 to Oct 20, 2013

 

 

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

2009 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

See information below about the chance to win two passes to the upcoming Napa Valley Film Festival (value $500) as well as two invitations to a VIP kick-off party and a sneak preview screening of August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.   Contest courtesy of Benchmark Wine Group and ends October 31st.

 

 

 

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets – $28.80

I was on the McPrice Myers mailing list for a couple years.  The winery produces full bodied, full throttle wines in a “take no prisoners” style.  Though these are nice once in a while, they aren’t every day wines.  I dropped the list because even though the wines are well made and enjoyable on occasion, I just don’t have the need for too many in my cellar.

 

Making a wine that is the best expression of the vineyard it comes from or a wine that is the most harmonious blend it can be, is a complex series of challenges that renew themselves with every vintage. It is my goal and my passion to produce the best for you that each unique harvest brings.

McPrice “Mac” Myers

 

This has 16.2% alcohol and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

Deep, dark purple color, almost black. This wine has a massive nose full of blackberries, plums, charcoal, minerals, vanilla, charred meat, wildflowers, and spicy oak. This is a full bodied wine with solid, chewy tannins and good acidity. This has solid walls of fruit and spice on the palate with some nice earthiness and dark chocolate in the background. There is a long lingering finish full of dark fruit, spice, and dark chocolate. This is an outstanding wine that should last several years in the cellar, but I’d probably drink on the young side before the alcohol (16.2%) becomes too noticeable.  (93 pts)

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

2008 McPrice Myers Syrah Les Galets

 

 

 

2009 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley – $27.00

This is the entry level Pinot Noir produced by the winery.  Don’t look at the phrase “entry level” and think inferior, this is better than most winery’s top end offering.  I generally drink this over a few years while waiting on the winery’s higher end, Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot to be ready to open.

 

This is 13.8% alcohol and is sealed with a synthetic cork.

 

Winery History

Soter Vineyards began in 1997 when Oregon natives Michelle and Tony Soter purchased the Beacon Hill Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  Named for a lighthouse like structure at the top of the hill, this vineyard was the source of Soter’s first estate grown Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.

 

Today, Soter Vineyards makes its home on the Mineral Springs Ranch near Carlton, Oregon.  This 240 acre property is the base for all Soter winemaking and business operations.  The estate vineyard here is ideally situated on an east – west ridge known as Savanna Ridge and planted to 30 acres of Pinot Noir.  An additional 2 acres of Chardonnay are dedicated to sparkling wine production.  Initial vineyard plantings began in 2002 and continued in 2006 and 2007.  Remaining acreage is committed to forest, woodland, and grazing land for flocks of sheep and goats.

 

Soter Vineyards wines are made in a refurbished barn originally dating from 1943.  All tirage, riddling, and disgorgement of our sparkling wines are performed here, allowing us to maintain meticulous control of these processes.  In the hillside next to the barn, underground caves serve as our barrel room.  A recently constructed fermentation space completes our production facilities.

 

The aim of Soter Vineyards is to produce Pinot Noir that is thrilling to the senses, complex, balanced and age worthy.  At the same time, we seek to be model stewards of our land with ultimate respect and regard for this place we call Mineral Springs Ranch.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light ruby red color.  On the open and very sexy nose there are cherries, baking spices, minerals, fresh wild flowers, and a bit of earthiness.  The wine is barely medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is very elegant on the palate with spicy, earthy red fruit, spice, and just a hint of an herbal note adding complexity.  Very nice length on the finish which is again highlighted by the spicy, earthy fruit. This seems to be entering its prime drinking window and can be enjoyed over the next few years.  (91 pts)

2009 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley

2009 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley

 

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs – $29.99

I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between this and the winery’s Geyserville wine.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  In this vintage, this wine is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane.

 

This is 14.4% alcohol and is sealed with 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, dark ruby color.  The very appealing nose has brambly berries, minerals, black pepper, Asian spices, cherries, vanilla, potpourri, and some earthy underbrush.  This has a medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows great balance with no rough edges or overly showy elements.  The finish has very nice length and comes at you in waves.  I think this will improve with another year or two in the cellar but it is enjoyable today with some air.   (92 pts)

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino – $24.33

I like Altesino’s Brunello wines, when the local store stocked this Rosso on their shelf, I had to grab a few bottles.  When done right, a Rosso is just a notch below a Brunello in quality but sells for a fraction of the cost.

 

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

 

The Winery

The company is a leader in various, important innovations in the production of Sangiovese di Montalcino, causing it to stand out and become a reference point for the entire territory.

 

The introduction of the “Cru” (Montosoli) concept in 1975, the first experiments with barriques in ’79, the production in ’77 of the first Grappa di Fattoria under the consultancy of the master distiller Gioacchino Nannoni and the first Futures (purchasing wine before its release) for Brunello 1985 are some of the positive contributions putting Montalcino on the world map.

 

An intense relationship has built up over forty years with the land full of history, with its almost sensual beauty that is physically perceived and its subtle charm that reaches the body and soul. This is the philosophy that inspires Altesino to produce wine and maintain its culture.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a touch of brick.  The bright nose has cherries, strawberries, raspberries, dried herbs, tobacco, minerals, and a touch of underbrush.  This has medium body, light to moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the red fruit and spice hit first with dried herbs, minerals, and tobacco coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with the tobacco and minerals closing the show.  Not a wine to contemplate over, but a very tasty Rosso to enjoy over the next few years with a hearty meal.  (89 pts)

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

2010 Altesino Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

About the only thing I like about colder weather is the food possibilities are wide open.  Today was a perfect example, my wife simmered a large pot of meat sauce most of the day.  The house smelled great and the resulting dinner was fantastic.  This plate of pasta with meat sauce and garlic cheese bread was a perfect pairing with the Altesino Rosso.

Pasta with meat sauce

 

 

 

Napa Valley Film Festival

Are you interested in attending the Napa Valley Film Festival?  The festival runs from November 13 through 17.

 

Oh, almost forgot, how does attending the event for free sound?  To celebrate being a sponsor of the event, Benchmark Wine Group is giving away a very nice package to one lucky person.  Enter by October 31st for your chance to win.

 

The Napa-based company is offering one lucky winner two Festival Passes to the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), worth a $500 value; two private invitations to the Benchmark Opening Night VIP kick-off party; and exclusive access to the sneak preview screening of ‘August: Osage County’, starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

 

Benchmark Wine Group will be hosting an exclusive Opening Night VIP kick-off party on Wednesday, November 13 and a winemaker tasting with Todd Alexander of Bryant and Bettina on Friday, November 15.  NVFF Patrons and special guests will be invited to join Benchmark Wine Group at the Michael Holmes Gallery at Riverfront, 606 Main Street, from 8 pm to 10 pm Wednesday to launch the week’s festivities.  Every guest Wednesday will be entered into a raffle for a chance to buy a bottle of 2001 Château Haut-Brion for $1; taste magnums of 1983 Pétrus, 1966 Château Margaux, and 2003 Diamond Creek; and enjoy food catered by Morimoto Napa.

 

For more information, click here.

 

To view the official rules and to enter, click here.

 

A video about the event from my bud, Amy Payne, is available by clicking here.

 

 

 

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!

 

Jan 25, 2013 to Jan 27, 2013

 

 

2007 Anthill Farms Cabernet Sauvignon Timber Crest Farms Vineyard – $25.00

 

My comments

Anthill Farms is much more known for their Pinot Noirs, but they usually make a couple of non Pinots each year.  Like their Pinot Noirs, their other wines have the ripeness toned down and are more finesse driven wines.  With their low production levels, I think everything sells out via the mailing list.

 

Winery history

This new producer has burst on the scene with startling good Pinot Noirs made from purchased grapes.  This project is one of many that has ties with Williams Selyem.  Three young Pinot amigos, who had worked together as cellar hands at the distinguished winery on Westside Road launched their own winery with three Pinot Noir releases in 2004.

 

Anthony Filiberti grew up in SonomaCounty and was lured to wine at an early age.  He learned winemaking at Bergstrom Winery in Newberg, Oregon, Hafner Vineyards in the AlexanderValley, and Williams Selyem.  David Low grew up in Kansas but got hooked on wine while attending University of California Berkeley.  A short stint as a computer programmer was followed by a change of heart and he later worked at both Williams Selyem and Papapietro Perry.  Low is now an assistant winemaker at Papapietro Perry Winery.  Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast and attended college in Virginia.  Here he began working as an assistant winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards.  He then moved to SonomaCounty where he joined Williams Selyem.  Currently he is the winemaker at C. Donatiello Winery in Healdsburg.

 

The trio’s goal is to craft Pinot Noirs that “express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage, and above all else, taste good.”  They disdain the riper style of Pinot Noir, looking more for freshness of flavor and acidity.  Some whole clusters are included in the winemaking.  New oak is limited to about 30%.  Racking, fining and filtering is avoided.

 

The emphasis at Anthill Farms is on the vineyards and have named their winery Anthill Farms to emphasize the many tiny individual vineyards that form “the link between place and product.”  The trio avoid calling attention to themselves, preferring to bring notoriety to their winegrowers.  Their grape sources are NorthCoast vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  They also farm a small vineyard named Abbey-Harris high above Boonville in the AndersonValley.

 

The annual production of 1,400 cases is quickly snapped up by a mailing list.  Anthill Farms Winery is located at 4791 Dry Creek Road, #3-4, Healdsburg (in the Papapietro Perry winery).  Tasting by appointment – phone Dave at 707-490-5191 or e-mail Webster at webster@anthillfarms.com.

 

This winery background is from The Prince of Pinot  Check them out!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The outstanding nose has cassis, plums, licorice, dried herbs, spice box, minerals, tobacco, and dried wild flowers.  This has a medium body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  This is not a big, overly ripe, heavily extracted style of cabernet, this is much more restrained and nuanced.  Nice fruit and spice take center stage on the palate with minerals, spicy oak, and dried herbs coming in on the sides.  The finish has good length and also showcases the fruit, spicy oak, and dried herbs.  Very food friendly, this could easily be mistaken for a Bordeaux.  (91 pts)

2007 Anthill Farms Cabernet Sauvignon Timber Crest Farms Vineyard

 

 

 

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar – $32.50

 

My comments

This is one of the premiere wineries in Australia.  This will be my first time trying this specific wine, but we go through rivers of their Reiver Shiraz every year.  Savitar is created from only the best barrels of their Shiraz.

 

Winery history

For such a young winery, Mitolo’s history is rich.  It’s one studded with success, wide acclaim, and – most importantly – truly memorable wines.  But that’s only to be expected from a winery which, since the very first day, has been motivated by three potent words:

 

Purity. Elegance. Power.

 

Those were the guiding principles Frank Mitolo wrote down when he created the winery in 1999.  With his Italian heritage and a family history of working the land, Frank was only interested in pursuing excellence.  And the results were there immediately in the release of the first Mitolo wine – the 2000 G.A.M. – named after Frank’s children Gemma, Alexander and Marco.

 

Attracted by this commitment to only create wines of outstanding quality, acclaimed winemaker Ben Glaetzer joined Mitolo as a partner in 2001.  With grapes sourced from two of Australia’s premier wine regions, Mclaren Vale and the BarossaValley, Frank and Ben now work tirelessly to surpass their already impressive achievements.  Mitolo Wines, praised by some of the world’s toughest critics, are now enjoyed in more than 20 countries around the world.

 

And that is just the start.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The rich and luxurious nose has blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, vanilla, smoked meat, dried herbs, and some earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This is a massive wine on the palate with loads of spicy, peppery berries with a nice smoked meat element followed by spicy oak and dried herbs.  The finish is very long and like the palate, packed with flavor.  No subtlety and not the most complex wine out there, but very tasty.  Not an everyday wine, but on occasion, this one will rock.  This is still on the young side and will improve with another couple years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

 

 

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs – $29.99

 

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 can’t be labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 5% Carignan.

 

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, dark ruby color.  The very appealing nose has brambly berries, minerals, black pepper, Asian spices, cherries, vanilla, potpourri, and some earthy underbrush.  This has a medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows great balance with no rough edges or overly showy elements.  The finish has very nice length but seems to be a touch clipped when the tannins and acidity kick in.  I think this will improve with another year or two in the cellar but it is enjoyable today with some air.  (91 pts)

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $29.75

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the wines coming out of Paso Robles’ Villa Creek for several years.  Most of the wines are very unique blends and all are of very high quality.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 30% Mourvèdre from the Denner and James Berry Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best.  The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars.  Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage.  The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water.  In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache.  They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color. The sexy nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, dried herbs, vanilla, earthy underbrush, smoke, licorice, and fresh wild flowers. This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity. Ripe, earthy, spicy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and just a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth. The nice acidity and tannins hold the wine together very nicely on the palate. The finish is fairly long with a very nice mixture of the fruit and savory elements. Very tasty today, but this will last in the cellar for several years.  (93 pts)

Note copied from 11/2/2012 since they were very similar.

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee

 

 

 

It was a cold, snowy day today.  We even encountered some “thunder sleet”, so we went the “comfort food” route for dinner.  I channeled the years we lived in Texas to make some Chicken Fried Steak for dinner.  It may not be fancy or healthy, but it was delicious.  We both had seconds.  It was a very nice pairing with the Villa Creek wine.

Chicken Fried Steak

 

 

Is there a better way to kick back and relax on a Sunday afternoon?

Ridge and glass

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

 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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