Posts tagged ‘Ruffino Modus’

Cliffs Wine Picks – February 2017 Vol 3

 

2013 Bogle Vineyards Phantom

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Dalla Gasperina Vineyard

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

2004 Casanuova delle Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino

 

 

 

2013 Bogle Vineyards Phantom – $16.99

This is another “red blend” that is a palate-pleaser when you want to try “something different”.

 

This is a blend of 39% Zinfandel, 38% Petite Sirah and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in Lodi, Clarksburg and Amador.  The wine is a dark ruby color.  The outgoing nose has crushed berries, mint, cherries, baking spices, white pepper, toasty oak and dried violets.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Waves of fruit and spice immediately grabs your attention on the palate with white pepper and a touch of mint coming in later.  The finish has nice length with the fruit and spice joined by toasty oak.  This is a take no prisoner style of wine loaded with flavor.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2013 Bogle Vineyards Phantom

2013 Bogle Vineyards Phantom

 

 

 

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Dalla Gasperina Vineyard – $22.40

This is the first white wine produced by Jean Edwards Cellars.  This is a blend of 92% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Semillon.

 

The wine is a pale straw yellow color.  The enticing nose has apples, lemon zest, white pepper, leafy herbs, pineapple, dusty minerals, apricot, orange blossoms and anise.  This has medium body with mouthwatering acidity.  On the palate tart apples, white pepper, lemon zest and an herbal streak immediately take control on the front end with apricot and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with anise and dusty minerals joining the tropical fruit and white pepper.  The crisp acidity will leave your mouthwatering for another sip.  A great initial white wine effort from this formerly red wine only winery.  This is very drinkable now but will last for at least two or three years, maybe longer.  This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Dalla Gasperina Vineyard

2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Dalla Gasperina Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share – $22.99

Two Hands wines are a “house favorite” around here.  Unfortunately the prices have rapidly increased, almost to the point the “Garden Series” wines are now special occasion wines.  This wine is still fairly reasonably priced as log as you shop around.  The price I paid is several dollars below the usual price for this wine.  Its a good value at this price, but for over $30 the value starts to get a bit iffy.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The hypnotic nose has blackberries, plums, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, charred wood, dark chocolate, baking spices, wild flowers and dried herbs.  This has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate crushed berries, minerals, baking spices and white pepper quickly take control with wild flowers and charred wood coming in later.  The finish has nice length with dark chocolate and a floral note providing depth.  This is a big, rich Shiraz that doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but is loaded with fruit and spice.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

2014 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share

 

 

 

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $19.99

This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.

 

Modus was first produced in 1997 from grapes selected in the vineyards of the Tuscan Estates of Ruffino.  It was not, though, a new wine in the real sense of the term.  Ruffino had, in fact, been experimenting with the cultivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The mesmerizing nose has black cherries, blackberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, warm baking spices, tobacco, smoke, subtle earthiness and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features up front fruit and spice with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and some earthiness.  This still tastes young but it will be hard to resist after just one sip.  This has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino – $18.99

This 100% Sangiovese comes from vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, at elevations of 150-350 metres on well-exposed hillslopes south-east of Montalcino.  The wine was aged in a mix of Slavonian and French oak barrels for a minimum of 8 months followed by a minimum of 3 months of bottle aging before it is released.

 

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The intriguing nose has cherries, dusty minerals, dried thyme, baking spices, raspberry, leather and a touch of underbrush.  This is barely medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very good acidity.  Cherries, minerals and spice initially take hold on the palate with dried thyme and leather coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with just a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This is drinking very nicely right now and should continue for a couple years, at least.  This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

2011 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino

 

 

 

2004 Casanuova delle Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino – $25.34

The wine is a red to ruby color with a touch of brick at the edge.  The appealing nose has raspberries, cherries, baking spice, earthy underbrush, dried flowers, roasted herbs, minerals, mushrooms and a touch of mint.  This has medium body, slightly chalky tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the baking spices, red fruit and earthiness kick in first with oak, minerals and more earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with a touch of mint adding a nice closing element.  This is drinking very nicely right now and should hold for a few more years.  This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2004 Casanuova delle Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino

2004 Casanuova delle Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

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:

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 – Aug 4, 2014 to Aug 10, 2014

 

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2008 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman

2005 Meritxell Palleja Priorat Nita

2012 Villa Creek Pink

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

2009 McPrice Myers Cuvée Kristina

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras

 

 

 

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $19.99

This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.

 

Modus was first produced in 1997 from grapes selected in the vineyards of the Tuscan Estates of Ruffino.  It was not, though, a new wine in the real sense of the term.  Ruffino had, in fact, been experimenting with the cultivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The mesmerizing nose has black cherries, blackberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, warm baking spices, tobacco, smoke, subtle earthiness and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features up front fruit and spice with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and some earthiness.  This is on the young side but already very tasty.  (92 pts)

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2008 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman – $29.00

I’ve been a big fan of the Turley Cedarman Zinfandels for a number of years.  The mountain grown fruit always gives this wine a bit more backbone and a gritty edge.  The mountain grown fruit also generally highlights the savory, peppery elements of the zinfandel grape.

 

This has 15.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley.  Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.

 

Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.

 

As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.

 

In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.

 

By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars is annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color.  The very inviting nose has raspberries, black pepper, melted licorice, crushed stones, wild flowers, dark bittersweet chocolate, smoke, and some earthiness.  This has full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the sweet berries provide a nice counter balance to the savory notes of black pepper, minerals, and dark chocolate.  The finish is long and very flavorful with some nice earthiness coming into the picture.  The tannins and acidity provide a solid backbone that ensures this will last in the cellar through the end of the decade.  Enjoy this now or let it sleep for a few more years, either way you’ll enjoy this one.  (93 pts)

2008 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman

2008 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman

 

 

 

2005 Meritxell Palleja Priorat Nita – $16.74

I’m a pretty big fan of wines from the Priorat region in Spain.  These wines are generally, like the region, on the rugged and rustic side.  You will just about never hear one of these wines described as smooth and subtle.

 

This is a blend of 45% Garnacha, 35% Carinena, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Syrah.

 

This has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color, almost purple.  The very nice nose is full of minerals, cherries, blackberries, dried herbs, dried earth, well worn leather, vanilla, black pepper, licorice, and wild flowers.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the cherries and minerals hit first, followed by dried herbs, crushed berries, and black pepper.  On the back end and finish dried earth elements emerge and take center stage, especially on the fairly long finish.  This is drinking very nicely, but should last for at least a few more years in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2005 Meritxell Palleja Priorat Nita

2005 Meritxell Palleja Priorat Nita

 

 

 

2012 Villa Creek Pink – $12.80

This wine, as well as the one from Bedrock is our go-to Summer rosés.  I usually supplement my supply of rosés with other labels from the local wine store, but these two are our most consumed ones.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre from Paso Robles.

 

This wine has 13.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

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.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright salmon color.  The fresh and inviting nose has strawberry, cherry, minerals, apples, a touch of orange zest, and a slight herbal note.  This has light body, crisp acidity, and a touch of sweetness.  The palate has tart red fruit, apples, and a distinct streak of minerality.  The finish has nice length with a nice herbal element coming into the picture before some mouthwatering citrus closes the show.  (89 pts)

2012 Villa Creek Pink

2012 Villa Creek Pink

 

 

 

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente – $22.00

Though this wine is offered on the Bedrock mailing list (and listed in Cellar Tracker) as made by Bedrock, the wine is actually the result of a partnership between winemakers Michael Havens (the first person to make Albariño in the New World) and Morgan Twain-Peterson.

 

Like I noted above this is not really made by Bedrock, but is actually a “side project” for Morgan Twain-Peterson.  I think this is the only wine being made by this partnership, but I, for one, would love to see them expand the portfolio.

 

This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright and vibrant yellow to light gold color.  The crisp and refreshing nose has apples, lime, lemon zest, orange blossoms, minerals, melon, and a very slight herbal note.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity, and just a touch of residual sweetness.  The orchard fruit and citrus play off each other very nicely on the palate with a streak of minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with a mouthwatering lime note and minerals slowly fading away leaving you wanting to grab the glass for another sip.  This will really shine on a warm Summer evening over a light meal.  (91 pts)

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente

 

 

 

2009 McPrice Myers Cuvée Kristina – $38.40

I used to be on the McPrice Myers mailing list but dropped off because the wines all seemed the same to me.  These are big, full bodied, take no prisoner wines that just don’t match up to what I like to drink on a regular basis.

 

This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 45% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre.

 

This has 15.2% 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 big and bold nose has cedary oak, blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, baking spices, vanilla and candied violets.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and decent acidity.  An overload of oak driven berries coat the palate with just a hint of baking spices and vanilla able to slip through.  The finish has good length with some dark chocolate entering the picture.  This is a massive wine that could use some restraint and complexity as well as a bit less oak.  This would be a favorite at a party but gets a touch boring.  (87 pts)

2009 McPrice Myers Cuvée Kristina

2009 McPrice Myers Cuvée Kristina

 

 

 

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras – $16.62

I’ve been a fan of this wine for several vintages.  To me a nice Vacqueyras is a solid step up from a Côtes du Rhône but with only a slight increase in price.

 

This is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault.

 

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

 

Winery history

Domaine La Garrigue is set in the heart of the Vacqueyras appellation area (Southern Côtes du Rhône), in the Vaucluse department of France.  The estate buildings are just 2.5 km from the main village, on a plateau called Les Garrigues.

 

The estate was created in 1850, and has always been worked by the same family, spanning 6 generations.  The Bernard family has always worked in respect of tradition, crafting authentic natural wines that are typical of the terroirs they came from.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The warm and relaxing nose has black cherries, blackberries, red raspberries, dried herbs, brined green olives, licorice, minerals, earthy elements and wild flowers.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has nice, spicy fruit and olives with a touch of earthiness and chalky minerality coming in on the back end.  The finish has filled out nicely with a year in the cellar and now shows good length.  This one is rocking today and will hold for several years.  (92 pts)

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras

2010 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Apr 14, 2014 to Apr 20, 2014

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek – $9.50

Perennially a value priced favorite.  In this vintage, it seems to have a bit more oomph than most vintages.  Perhaps there was a surplus of very good grapes from some of the better vineyards or some grapes headed for single vineyard wines were declassified.  Either way, we’re the winners.  This is a jammy, fruity blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Syrah and Nebbiolo.

 

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

 

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.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby with a slight brick tint.  The enjoyable nose has blackberries, cherries, vanilla, baking spices, dark chocolate, dried flowers and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium body,  soft tannins and good acidity.  This has nice up front jammy fruit with spices and a touch of eathiness.  On the back end the fruit thins out a touch allowing the savory notes to take over.  The finish has decent length with the spicy oak and earthiness in control with the fruit in the background providing a bit of sweetness.  I’d advise drinking this one up over the next year or two before the fruit fades more on the back end and finish.  Even showing some age, this is still a nice bottle of wine for $10.  (88 pts)

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek

 

 

 

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – $19.99

This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.

 

Modus was first produced in 1997 from grapes selected in the vineyards of the Tuscan Estates of Ruffino.  It was not, though, a new wine in the real sense of the term.  Ruffino had, in fact, been experimenting with the coltivation of non-traditional grape varieties on Tuscan soil since the eighties.  Some of the most encouraging results had been obtained with Cabernet and Merlot.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The mesmerizing nose has black cherries, blackberries, dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, warm baking spices, tobacco, smoke, subtle earthiness and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features up front fruit and spice with dark chocolate and toasty oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and some earthiness.  This is on the young side but already very tasty.  (92 pts)

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

2010 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

 

 

 

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 steel tanks with capacities that range from 11 to 260 hectolitres, for a total of 7000 hectolitres.

 

More information is available on the winery’s website.

 

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

2009 Borgo Scopeto (Tenuta Caparzo) Borgonero Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines – $23.71

To me, one of the better values out there is the Turley Old Vines Zinfandel.  Along with the appellation wines from Carlisle and Bedrock, these prove you can get a great bottle of California Zinfandel for $25 or less.

 

This is a blend of Zinfandel grapes from some of the older vineyards in California that don’t produce enough wine to allow for a single vineyard bottling.

 

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

 

Winery history

In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley.  Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.

 

Starting out with just one location in St. Helena, Turley Wine Cellars soon expanded to Templeton with the purchase of the historic Pesenti winery, where Zinfandel had been planted since 1923.

 

As of 2000, Turley Wine Cellars has had a two-year waiting list for new wine club customers.

 

In 2007, Turley Wine Cellars was producing approximately 14,000 cases a year of both single-vineyard and regional Zinfandel wines.

 

By 2011, Turley Wine Cellars is annually producing approximately 16,000 cases of award winning Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines using multiple “small” vineyards located in Napa and Sonoma counties, and other Paso Robles locations.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color.  The very nice and inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, incense, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the well behaved palate the spicy berries and black pepper take charge with some dark chocolate, vanilla, and earthy elements coming in later.  The finish has nice length and again highlights the spicy berries and earthiness.  If you think Turley zins are all overblown, you should give this one a try, it will change your opinion.  (92 pts)

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

2009 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $33.60

If you check out this blog very often or follow me on Twitter, you already know I’m a big fan of Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  Vintage after vintage produce outstanding blends revolving around the grapes from France’s Rhone Valley.  The Willow Creek Cuvée as well as their Avenger are two of my favorite VC wines.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from the Denner and James Berry vineyards.

 

This has 15.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and was dipped in wax.

 

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.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The big and bold nose has raspberries, blackberries, minerals, licorice, dried herbs, warm baking spices, cherries, wood smoke, and a bit of earthiness.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit kicks off the show with minerals and some earthiness waiting in the wings.  The finish is long and

layered with nice fruit and savory elements taking turns stealing the show.  This is a touch young but still drinking very nicely with some air.  (92 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2009 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

 

 

 

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir – $16.14

I had to grab a bottle of this when I saw it on the local wine store’s shelf.  I’m a fan of Tony Soter’s much more expensive Pinot Noir wines, so I wanted to see how this much more affordable offering would compare.

 

This is from a VERY environmentally friendly project from Tony Soter.  “We work with growers that are Organic, Biodynamic, LIVE and Food Alliance certified — all of whom meet the Salmon Safe criteria in the process.”

 

This has 13.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

Behind this label is Tony Soter, an Oregon-born winegrower who is best known for making precious quantities of exquisite and often expensive wines of world-class status.

 

Tony is a passionate winegrower who has long been committed to sustainable farming.  He first began organic grape growing back in 1985.  Soter continues leadership today with his role in guiding the Oregon wine industry’s pursuit of verifiable carbon accounting and the labeling of certified sustainable Oregon wines.

 

Planet Oregon is his chance to make wines for a broader audience and make a bigger positive impact on the planet.  He wants Planet Oregon Wines to embody the conscious choice we all have to endorse and support sustainably produced wines.

 

Much more information on this project is available on their site by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The sexy nose has black cherries, crushed berries, white pepper, baking spices, violets and subtle earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, soft silky tannins and good acidity.  Cherries and spice initially grab hold on the palate, slowly allowing a floral note and white pepper to join the show.  The finish has good length with a touch of earthiness coming into focus.  The warmer vintage is obvious with the rich, ripe fruit.  This may not pack a lot of complexity in your glass, but it is mighty tasty.  (89 pts)

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

2012 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

 

 

 

Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation

 

https://www.undergroundcellar.com/c/6/226099/grand_sonoma_winecation

 

 

Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.

 

The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.

 

While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.

 

The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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:

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN MARCH 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks – White wines for spring.

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014-5296/?viewall=1#ixzz2z411esZO

 

Snooth

WINES WE’VE LOVED!  Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-we-yve-loved/?viewall=1#ixzz2yOsinkhN

 

Snooth

OUR FAVORITE REDS FOR SPRING – The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

http://www.snooth.com/articles/our-favorite-reds-for-spring/?viewall=1#ixzz2xkH0dfSj

 

Snooth

WHAT’S A GREAT GRENACHE? – Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-ys-a-great-grenache-5209/

 

Snooth

SPRING TIME IS FOR PAIRING – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/spring-time-is-for-pairing/

 

Balzac

Balzac Communications & Marketing – News & Views

http://balzaccommunications.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/948F113D27729D90/DF475947E7F379DE2A1BF84ACBDD178B

 

Snooth

WHAT WE’VE BEEN DRINKING – News and Reviews from Around the Blogosphere

http://www.snooth.com/articles/what-we-yve-been-drinking/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4idw7a

 

Snooth

WINES THAT RANG OUR BELL IN FEBRUARY 2014 – Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-that-rang-our-bell-in-february-2014/?viewall=1#ixzz2vy4DCh5L

 

Crave Local

California Wine Reviews: Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/california-wine-reviews-cline-cellars-and-jacuzzi-family-vineyard/

 

Crave Local

Sample Boutique Wines at Affordable Prices with Tastingroom.com

http://www.cravelocal.com/all-favorites/sample-boutique-wines-at-affordable-prices-with-tastingroom-com/

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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