Posts tagged ‘Santa Cruz Mountains’

Cliffs Wine Picks – May 13, 2013 to May 16, 2013

 

 

2007 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot NoirSantaLuciaHighlands

2007 Elyse Zinfandel A.K.A.

 

 

2007 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains – $22.79

 

My comments

I grabbed this wine a few years ago when the winery had a tasting at the local store.  The 2002 vintage of this wine was one the best purchases I have ever made.  That vintage took a few years to fill out and open up, so I’m hoping I allowed this vintage to rest in the cellar long enough.

 

Winery history

Martin Ray Winery was established in 1943 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Martin Ray’s mission was to make 100% varietal wines in California that could rival great French Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.  Today, we continue the tradition of making 100% varietal wines from premium mountain vineyards using the same winemaking practices that made Ray a legendary figure in the wine business.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  Cassis and blackberries jump from the glass with vanilla, dried herbs, wild flowers, cherries, licorice, cedar, and a bit of eucalyptus.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  This isn’t as big and rich on the palate as the nose lead me to expect.  The slightly restrained palate has cassis, spicy oak, vanilla, and a floral quality.  The finish has decent length with the minty eucalyptus note making a closing statement along with the cassis, and spicy oak.  The palate was a bit of a letdown after the build up from the exuberant nose, but on the whole, this is a very nice wine.  (90 pts)

2007 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

 

 

 

2010 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage – $18.71

 

My comments

This was another of my Garagiste Wine purchases.  Sometimes I hate having to wait up to a year to get my wine from them, but generally I either order older Rieslings and ensure I have plenty to ship during one of their shipping windows or order wines I don’t plan on opening for a while.  I grabbed a few bottles of this wine and want to try one to gauge how long to sit on the remaining bottles so I can drink most of them in a prime drinking window.

 

Winery history

Domaine du Colombier is located in the Northern Rhône Valley, in the left bank of the Rhône River.  The estate has been part of the family since the First World War.  The owners gradually moved from a sharecroppers status to that of owners.  Florent Viale joined his father in 1990 and decided to bottle part of their production in 1991.  Now they sell 80% in bottle, 20% in bulk.

 

This 12 hectare (30 acres) Domaine spreads over the two communes of Tain l’Hermitage and Mercurol and is comprised of:

 

1.6 hectares (4 acres) of Hermitage

1.2 hectares (3 acres) of white Crozes-Hermitage

9.2 hectares (23 acres) of red Crozes-Hermitage.

Total: 12 hectares (30 acres)

 

The vineyard, located on stony hillside, is planted with old vines (50-55 years of age): Syrah for the red and Marsanne for the white.  The grapes are harvested by hand.

 

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

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – $24.00

 

My comments

To me, the Loring appellation wines are some of the biggest bargains available.  I always grab at least a mixed case when these wines are offered.  These are generally very good to outstanding California Pinot Noirs that cost under $25.

 

Winery history

My philosophy on making wine is that the fruit is EVERYTHING.  What happens in the vineyard determines the quality of the wine – I can’t make it better – I can only screw it up!  That’s why I’m extremely picky when choosing vineyards to buy grapes from.  Not only am I looking for the right soil, micro-climate, and clones, I’m also looking for a grower with the same passion and dedication to producing great wine that I have.  In other words, a total Pinot Freak!  My part in the vineyard equation is to throw heaping piles of money at the vineyard owners (so that they can limit yields and still make a profit) and then stay out of the way!  Since most, if not all of the growers keep some fruit to make their own wine, I tell them to farm my acre(s) the same way they do theirs – since they’ll obviously be doing whatever is necessary to get the best possible fruit.  One of the most important decisions made in the vineyard is when to pick.  Some people go by the numbers (brix, pH, TA, etc) and some go by taste.  Once again, I trust the decision to the vineyard people.  The day they pick the fruit for their wine is the day I’m there with a truck to pick mine.  Given this approach, the wine that I produce is as much a reflection of the vineyard owner as it is of my winemaking skills.  I figure that I’m extending the concept of terroir a bit to include the vineyard owner/manager… but it seems to make sense to me.  The added benefit is that I’ll be producing a wide variety of Pinots.  It’d be boring if everything I made tasted the same.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to garnet color.  The very enticing nose has black cherries, baking spices, raspberries, minerals, white pepper, forest floor, and fresh wild flowers.  This has medium to full body, silky tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the fairly straight forward palate, spices and fruit kick off the show with white pepper and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long again highlighting the spicy fruit and some earthiness.  The Loring appellation Pinot Noirs are some of the best values in the marketplace.  (92 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

 

 

 

2007 Elyse Zinfandel A.K.A. – $20.00

 

My comments

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.

 

Since that day, Elyse has always been the first winery we visit when we make it to Napa.  I always have several bottles of Elyse wine in my cellar.  A quick check of my cellar on Cellar Tracker shows I currently have 22 bottles of Elyse wines and 12 from their other label, Jacob Franklin in stock.

 

Winery history

In 1983, Nancy and Ray arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure.  After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to NapaValley and became innkeepers for a bed &breakfast. Ray then spent formative time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge working in the vineyards.  Ray’s nine year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker honed his skills in the art of blending and was the inspiration for Ray’s winemaking style today.

 

In 1987, Ray & Nancy started Elyse Winery with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still a cornerstone vineyard source for the winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, in 1997 they purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane, the home of Elyse Winery and tasting room.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color with some bricking at the edge.  The very satisfying nose has brambly berries, black pepper, wood smoke, warm baking spices, leather, minerals, vanilla, and a meaty element.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate this isn’t a typical, big, jammy, in your face style of zinfandel, this is much more graceful and elegant.  The palate has spicy, peppery berries, minerals, and just a touch of earthiness.  The finish has very nice length and leans a bit more on the savory end with the fruit in the background adding nice sweetness.  This is in a very nice place and should hold for another year or two.  (92 pts)

2007 Elyse Zinfandel A K A

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Apr 26, 2013 to Apr 28, 2013

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Grenache Simpson Vineyard

2011 Wine By Joe Pinot Gris Really Good

2008 Stefania Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains

2011 Villa Creek Pink

2007 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Grenache Simpson Vineyard – $14.25

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of the wines Adam Lee has been producing under his Novy and Siduri labels for several years.  Vintage after vintage, no matter the grape used his wines are very good to outstanding, and are sold for a very fair price.  Buying this wine was a no brainer.  This was part of an “open house” e-mail offer for those not lucky enough to visit in person.  I was able to get this at a sale price and then received another big discount based on the three cases I purchased from the offer.  Where else can you get a single vineyard, low production, Grenache from an outstanding winery for under $15?

 

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 bright red to ruby color.  The very appealing nose has cherries, raspberries, white pepper, dried herbs, baking spices, minerals, and just hints of smoke and licorice.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has pepper laced red fruit with dried herbs and a touch of toast oak adding depth.  The finish has nice length with no rough edges.  This is drinking very nicely but should last in the cellar for a few more years.  This is not a typical all fruit California Grenache.  (90 pts)

2009 Novy Family Wines Grenache Simpson Vineyard2

 

 

 

2011 Wine By Joe Pinot Gris Really Good – $9.49

 

My comments

Pinot Gris wines, especially those from Oregon are a Summer staple in my house.  These are usually fresh and rich enough to enjoy chilled on the deck while something on the grill is cooking or to just kick back and enjoy on its own while relaxing.  These wines also usually have plenty of closing acidity to pair up nicely with warm weather, leisurely meals.

 

This was a new one for me.  Samples of this were being poured at the local wine store and for under $10, this was a winner.  I had to grab a few bottles for the upcoming “deck season”.

 

Winery history

Joe Dobbes, owner and winemaker at Dobbes Family Estate, is a pretty laid-back guy, but he couldn’t be more serious about making really excellent wine. This bodes well for the world as we know it, because these dueling demeanors bring forth a true gem: Wine By Joe.

 

This is your go-to wine. Delicious, but never pretentious. A high-quality bottle at a no-nonsense price, meant to be shared with people who make you happy.

 

See, it’s smooth and “drinkable,” as they say. But it’s rich and complex, too. Wine By Joe, priced at less than 20 bucks, is as comfortable at a dinner party as it is on a Thursday evening in your backyard. And its consistency from bottle to bottle ensures you’re going to be happy every time you pour it.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow color.  The fresh smelling nose has apples, pears, lemon zest, honeysuckle, and a hint of white pepper.  This has light to medium body, crisp acidity, just a touch of sweetness.  The palate has nice, tart green apples, pears, and lemon zest.  The crisp, mouthwatering finish has nice length from the juicy apples and lemon zest.  (88 pts)

2011 Wine By Joe Pinot Gris Really Good

 

 

 

2008 Stefania Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains – $45.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of Stefania winery for a few years.  As typical in California, they make a full range of wines from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and everything in between.  They produce one of the better red blends being made in California, called Haut Tubee.  Most of their wines sell out via their mailing list and I highly recommend checking them out on their website at http://stefaniawine.com/?page_id=10.

 

Winery history

Stefania was born in Minnesota.  Her father was an officer in the U.S. Army and she grew up in California, Nevada and Santiago, Chile.  She uses her background in accounting to run the day to day business of a small winery as well as handling wine making duties, vineyard construction management, purchasing, and of course vineyard work.  She loves to entertain friends at home or in the winery.  She painted the art work used on our labels and takes most of the photos used in our blogs and website.

 

Paul is a California native who has lived in San Jose for over 40 years.  He has worked at various high tech companies in Silicon Valley for 20 years specializing in Technical Support Management.  He handles wine making duties, planning, vineyard design, vineyard management, and acts as the official tour guide.  He loves to cook and host visitors to the winery or home.

 

Stefania and Paul were married in Jackson Square in the the French Quarter of New Orleans in 2003.  They return every year to celebrate their anniversary with friends in New Orleans.  They began  making wine in 2005 and were most interested in finding a business that would combine their love of food, wine and entertaining.  They are hands on in all parts of the grape growing and wine making process. One of their greatest joys has been the growing number of friends across the country who enjoy their wine.

 

Stefania Wine is supported by a small group of part time employees, family members and close friends who volunteer to help with labor intensive tasks.   We are lucky to have such great friends who are always willing to trade a day of hard work for a good meal and an ample supply of wine.

 

Much more information and their interesting blog can be found at:

http://stefaniawine.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The appealing nose has cherries, earthy underbrush, raspberries, warm baking spices, violets, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate is full of earthy, spice laden, juicy red fruit.  The finish is fairly long with tart cherries and earthy elements seeming to hang on forever.  This tastes great today but will last in the cellar and possibly improve over the next several years.  (93 pts)

2008 Stefania Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains

 

 

 

We used some of the Pinot Gris on Saturday to make this delicious dish for dinner on Saturday.  The leftover Pinot Gris and the Stefania Pinot Noir both went well with the dish.

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

 

The recipe for this Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta is available on the Comfy Cuisine website.

 

We added a bit extra cayenne to the “breading” since we wanted a little extra kick.

 

 

 

2011 Villa Creek Pink – $12.80

 

My comments

This wine as well as the one from Bedrock are 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 is a “leftover” from last year and I want to consume these before dipping into my stash of 2012s.  This is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan from 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.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright salmon color with just a touch of a pink tint.  The fresh and relaxing nose has strawberries, white peaches, crushed stones, citrus zest, and some cherries.  This has light body, crisp acidity, and just a touch of lingering sweetness.  The palates features juicy fruit and minerals with lemon zest coming in on the back end.  The finish is long and full of sweet fruit and minerals with just enough citrusy acidity to leave your mouth watering for another sip.  (90 pts)

2011 Villa Creek Pink

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – $34.00

 

My comments

In my opinion, the Zinfandels Mike Officer makes from his “home vineyard” are always one of the top California zinfandels produced in just about every vintage.  This bottling always has that Carlisle richness and power but plenty of backbone to support the full bodied flavors.

 

Now that Carlisle has their own winery and won’t be using outside crush facilities, I look forward to even greater things coming from them in the upcoming years.

 

Winery history

We are a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.

 

Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has brambly berries, black pepper, smoke, licorice, violets, a touch of earthiness, and a slight note of eucalyptus.  This is fairly full bodied with fairly solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  The finish is very long and flavorful.  This is in a prime drinking window but should last a few more years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2007 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

 

 

 

We’re finally getting some Spring like weather here in the upper Midwest.  It has been quite a while, so we decided to have some BBQ Chicken with potato salad and deviled eggs.

 

I don’t know about you, but this looked (and tasted) great to me.  Nothing fancy, but top not “comfort food” in my book.

BBQ Chicken

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Worked at the local wine store and had to grab a few bottles.

(4) 2011 Wine By Joe Pinot Gris Really Good

(1) 2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

(2) 2011 La Crema Pinot Noir

(1) 2011 Calera Pinot Noir

 

 

 

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!

 

Nov 23, 2012 to Nov 25, 2012

 

 

2005 Jaffurs Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard – Gift from friend

 

My comments

This was a birthday gift from a friend a few years ago.  I don’t know the release price, but the average cost on Cellar Tracker is about $30.

 

I’ve been a big fan of Jaffurs for close to a decade.  In my opinion, the winery has hit the right formula for success.  Their wines are impressive across the board.  I’m really looking forward to trying this wine.

 

Winery history

Jaffurs Wine Cellars is dedicated to producing great Rhone varietal wines with a new-world independence.  Our wines -Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Viognier, and Roussanne – are among the best in the county.  Owner/winemaker Craig Jaffurs, produced his first professional wines during the 1994 harvest.  All our wines are carefully made in small lots.  Only about 3500 cases are produced each year – production is limited.  We work closely with our growers in the Santa Ynez, Santa Rita, Los Alamos, and the Santa Maria growing regions.  We limit vineyard yields and require that optimal farming practices are observed.  All our wines are crushed, pressed, cellared and bottled in our Santa Barbara facility.  Visit us for a glimpse of world class winemaking in the heart of the city.  2007 is our 14th harvest!

 

In September of 2001 we completed construction of our new winery facility in the city of Santa Barbara.  This modern, climate controlled facility allows us to make wine at a natural and careful pace.  (Plus, it is only seven minutes from home!)  We process all the fruit for our harvest here and the resulting wines show the benefits of this improved process.

 

For more information, visit http://www.jaffurswine.com/index.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very dark purple color, almost black.  The very inviting nose has blackberries, blueberries, white pepper, baking spices, melted licorice, violets, and some dark chocolate.  This is medium to full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  Ripe, juicy, spicy berries dominate the palate with some very nice licorice and dark chocolate coming through on the backend.  The bright acidity and tannins keep the wine in check and actually makes it seem a bit lighter in body than the 15.8% alcohol lead me to expect.  The wine has a long finish with the juicy berries and spices slowly fading.  The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden with just a touch peeking through on the finish.  An outstanding Petite Sirah that is drinking perfectly today but with enough acidity and tannins to easily cellar for several more years.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

2008 Stefania Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains – $45.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of Stefania winery for a few years.  As typical in California, they make a full range of wines from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and everything in between.  They produce one of the better red blends being made in California, called Haut Tubee.  Most of their wines sell out via their mailing list, but on occasion, there may be a few leftovers available on their website at http://stefaniawine.com/?page_id=10

 

Winery history

Stefania was born in Minnesota.  Her father was an officer in the U.S. Army and she grew up in California, Nevada and Santiago, Chile.  She uses her background in accounting to run the day to day business of a small winery as well as handling wine making duties, vineyard construction management, purchasing, and of course vineyard work.  She loves to entertain friends at home or in the winery.  She painted the art work used on our labels and takes most of the photos used in our blogs and website.

 

Paul is a California native who has lived in San Jose for over 40 years.  He has worked at various high tech companies in Silicon Valley for 20 years specializing in Technical Support Management.  He handles wine making duties, planning, vineyard design, vineyard management, and acts as the official tour guide.  He loves to cook and host visitors to the winery or home.

 

Stefania and Paul were married in Jackson Square in the the French Quarter of New Orleans in 2003.  They return every year to celebrate their anniversary with friends in New Orleans.  They began  making wine in 2005 and were most interested in finding a business that would combine their love of food, wine and entertaining.  They are hands on in all parts of the grape growing and wine making process. One of their greatest joys has been the growing number of friends across the country who enjoy their wine.

 

Stefania Wine is supported by a small group of part time employees, family members and close friends who volunteer to help with labor intensive tasks.   We are lucky to have such great friends who are always willing to trade a day of hard work for a good meal and an ample supply of wine.

 

Much more information and their interesting blog can be found at:

http://stefaniawine.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The appealing nose has cherries, raspberries, baking spices, forest floor, vanilla, and some violets.  This has a medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine had juicy, spicy, red fruit with some earthiness adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long with the spicy oak adding to the core of earthy, red fruit.  This is very tasty today but will reward another year or two in the cellar.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2005 Viñas del Cenit Vino de la Tierra de Zamora Venta Mazarrón – $13.99

 

My comments

I bought this bottle a few years ago at the local wine store, but for some reason I haven’t gotten around to opening it.  It’s time to rectify that situation.  I’m a big fan of Spanish Tempranillo wines, so I’m looking forward to trying this one.

 

Winery history

 

I could not find a website for the winery, the following was courtesy of wine.com at

http://www.wine.com/v6/Vinas-del-Cenit/learnabout.aspx?winery=17680

 

 

Tierra del Vino de Zamora is a historic region that goes back much further than other regions which posses DO status.  No other wine-producing region in Spain has a similar title, and in fact some of the 56 towns that are located within the area include ‘del vino’ in their title: Morales del Vino, Corrales del Vino, El Cubo del vino…

The Tierra del Vino is dissected by the famous Vía de la Plata, which dates back to the Roman Empire.  It originally ran through the cities of Mérida and Astorga, serving as a route used by Roman troops and merchants.  The region’s climate is unique within the northern plateau, its temperature being the highest on average in Castilla y León.

 

Viñas del Cénit’s vineyards are organized in small parcels of land planted with a substantial amount of old Tempranillo vines, some of which are over a hundred years old and ungrafted.  The soil is calcareous, gravel and sand-based, with a layer of red clay underneath.

 

The young oenologist Almudena Alberca from Salamanca has had ties to Viñas del Cénit since its inception in 2003. She is in charge of supervising the vineyards and also of the vinification processes.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark garnet color.  The very nice nose has black cherries, vanilla, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, and hints of dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, and wild flowers.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice spicy, earthy fruit on the palate with dried herbs, espresso, and dark chocolate adding nice depth and complexity.  The finish is very tasty but a touch short.  A pretty nice lower end Tempranillo that will not disappoint.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

2000 Château La Tour Carnet – $26.32

 

My comments

I grabbed a couple bottles of this wine upon release as part of the purchase of a few cases of the “vintage of the century”.  The last couple bottles of 2000 Bordeaux wines have seemed to be entering a nice drinking window.  Hopefully this one will keep the good drinking streak going.

 

Winery history

Ongoing efforts since 1962 have brought the wines of Château La Tour Carnet to a point of perfect expression of the qualities of its unique terroir.  This drive for quality has accelerated since April 2000 thanks to the new owner, Bernard Magrez.

 

The cohesion of a team dedicated to perfectionism, plot-by-plot management, and respect for tradition associated with the most advanced techniques, are the guarantee of a new objective: to reveal the full potential of the terroir.

 

Much more background and history available at:

http://www.latour-carnet.com/reveler-le-potentiel-du-terroir-us

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was badly corked!  Backup bottle time.

 

 

 

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley – $30.00

 

My comments

My original choice to go with dinner was badly corked, so I needed to grab a last minute replacement bottle.  I’ve had a few bottles of this wine in the past and though it does improve with some air, it’s generally good to go.

 

This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot.

 

Winery history

As many of you know, when we started making our own wines in 1987, we named the tiny, 200 case operation after our daughter, Elyse.  Not wanting to leave our son, Jake, out of loop, we eventually named our Rhone blend after him – anyone remember “Jake’s Cuvee”?  It wasn’t enough, because at the ripe age of eight Jake asked, “When do I get my own label without her name on it?”  Good point!  And as parents not wanting to show favoritism, why not create a namesake label for him as well?

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars debut bottling was in 1998 and we fondly and literally refer to it as the brother label of Elyse Winery.  By this time, we had gained access to small quantities of extremely allocated fruit from some highly desirable vineyards in the valley and this label was the perfect place to showcase them along with our only estate wine, Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Jacob Franklin Cellars is focused on small production, low yield, vineyard designate wines from NapaValley. Due to the extremely limited production, these wines are available exclusively through the winery at: https://www.net10.net/ShoppingCart/buy/ProductList.asp?sid=64&xs=Y&pcids=548

 

or via the wine club at:

http://elysewinery.com/club.html

 

My Tasting Note

Pretty much pop and pour due to a different wine being corked.  The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The fantastic nose has cassis, dried herbs, licorice, baking spices, cherries, cigar box, smoke, and minerals.  This had medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows very nice spicy fruit full of dried herbs and a touch of licorice.  The wine has a long, lingering finish full of sweet berries, spices, and the dried herbs.  This is the real deal, with no rough edges.  This wine is very highly recommended.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Bedrock

It sounds like the Bedrock Winter release may hit the inbox this week.  The vast array of wines being made by the winery always makes it tough to select a case of wine.  This is one winery where it is too easy to get carried away and have multiple cases show up on your door step.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

The short week due to the holiday meant no shipments coming in from California.  Even though I stopped in the local wine store, I held off on any purchases until their big tasting event next weekend.

 

 

 

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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