Posts tagged ‘Scherrer’

Mar 18, 2013 to Mar 21, 2013

 

 

2006 Sterling Vineyards Merlot Three Palms Vineyard

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2007 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace

 

 

 

2006 Sterling Vineyards Merlot Three Palms Vineyard – $20.89

 

My comments

This is a very consistent, single vineyard Merlot that used to be a “house favorite”.  Unfortunately, over the years the price increases took enough of a toll, that I felt it no longer offered enough quality to merit the price.  When the local store was able to secure enough of the wine to offer via an “end of vintage” e-mail offer for a touch over $20, I had to jump in.

 

Winery history

Sterling Vineyards is proud to be a certified Napa County Green Winery, a distinction we achieved in 2009 as one of the first 12 wineries to be included.  This certification is a result of our diligent efforts in conserving water and energy, as well as preventing pollution and landfill waste.

 

In addition, Sterling is also certified as Napa County Green for our land and vineyard practices, which include sustainable vineyard management, water conservation, and fish-friendly farming across 100% of our estate vineyards.

 

Every year we recycle approximately 1,400 tons of waste, resulting in a waste diversion rate of 95%.  This has resulted in awards in the Waste Reduction Awards Program from the California Integrated Waste Management Board for the past three years.  (Proceeds from the award have been donated to local charities each year.)

 

Finally, in December 2008 our iconic tram was converted to solar power.  The solar energy system produces more than 100,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which is equivalent to the energy required to power 5.5 homes for a full year.  This conversion also eliminates 65 tons of CO2 emitted into the environment annually.

 

From vineyard practices to winery operations to the daily activities at our world-famous tasting rooms, Sterling Vineyards is proud to act as a dedicated steward of our environmental riches.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherry, cedar, melted licorice, plums, baking spices, tobacco, dried herbs, dark roast espresso, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate shows no excess weight with nice balance between the fruit and savory elements.  The finish is a touch short and a bit lean but other wise this is a very sound and appealing wine.  A steal at $20 but questionable value at $60.  (90 pts)

2006 Sterling Vineyards Merlot Three Palms Vineyard

 

 

 

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard – $18.21

 

My comments

This wine’s normal price is in the $45 to $49 range, which I feel is WAY too high.  The community average price in CellarTracker for this wine is over $28, which is again pushing the limit.  Luckily I was able to grab half a case for well under $20.  That makes it a good Napa Valley Cab at a price that won’t break the bank when consumed on a week night, especially for an aged Cabernet is in its’ prime drinking window.

 

I’ve had a couple bottles that I liked and rated 89-90 points.

 

Winery history

Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery was founded in 1881 by Henry Hagen.  One of their wines won a Silver Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889.  At that time, Cedar Knoll was one of Napa’s premier wineries.  The winery was a victim of Prohibition and was closed for close to 80 years.  Cedar Knoll is now owned by the Palmaz family.  They have resurrected the vineyards and restored the original Hagen house.  The vineyards occupy 55 acres and are located just northeast of the city of Napa.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby red color, much lighter at the edge.  The very nice and appealing nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, cherry, smoke, tobacco, raspberry, baking spices, and a touch of well worn leather.  This has medium body, good acidity, and fairly integrated tannins.  On the palate the wine has silky smooth fruit up front with spices and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with some spicy oak adding an extra dimension.  Not a lot of complexity but this is in a nice place right now.  This probably should be consumed over the next year or two before the fruit starts to fade.  (89 pts)

2004 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cedar Knoll Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard – $45.00

 

My comments

Loring produces some of my favorite Pinot Noirs made in California and their wine from the Clos Pepe Vineyard is one of my favorite they produce.  To me, this wine always has the rich and lush fruit that is the “house style” for Loring wines and has plenty of acidity and tannins to support the body and depth usually in this wine.  For a wine of this quality, the price actually represents a nice value for a higher end, single vineyard, Pinot from California.

 

Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, underbrush, and a touch of smoke.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and lush with juicy fruit but with plenty of savory elements adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is long and very flavorful with the fruit, spice, and subtle earthiness lingering seemingly forever.  This is outstanding today, but will last for at least a few years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace – $17.50

 

My comments

The Scherrer Winery futures program for their Zinfandels is one of the best mailing lists to join.  The wines are ordered and paid for before they are bottled, several months later the wine is bottled and shipped.  Generally the winery holds their zins in the bottle for a year before releasing them to the restaurants, distribution, or the normal mailing list.  What’s the advantage of paying for wine and waiting for shipment?  How about a big discount, 40% to 50% off regular release price?  This top notch Zin cost me well under $20.

 

The Scherrer Zinfndels are built to age. These are well balanced zins with restrained alcohol levels that age marvelously.  With enough bottle age, these take on the nuances of an aged Claret.

 

Winery history

In the mid-1970’s, due to a normal teenage interest in alcoholic beverages, my family allowed me to make some wine from the family vineyard and beer at home (under adult supervision, of course).  This led to a UC Davis degree as well as concurrent work at a local winery doing the dirtiest and most menial jobs imaginable.  In the mid-1980’s good friends at Duxoup Wine Works (think Marx Brothers for the pronunciation) inspired me to try my hand at my own label so I negotiated cellar space in lieu of a raise by my then-current employer, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley (I got a raise anyway).  Greenwood Ridge was supportive of my project and decided to have some Scherrer Zinfandel produced for their label as well.  Unfortunately, I had a poor business plan and during the first year I realized I was not yet ready for this project.  Greenwood Ridge continues to make a small amount of Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel to this day.

 

Much more information on this outstanding winery and a link to join the highly recommended mailing list available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby color, much lighter than your normal zin, this actually looks like a Pinot Noir.  The very tempting nose has brambly berries, cherries, baking spices, minerals, smoke, white pepper, wild flowers, and some earthiness.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  The palate leans a bit more to the red fruit than black with cherries, spices, minerals, and nice earthiness.  The finish is fairly silky and smooth and lingers nicely.  This is still on the young side and improved with air.  Don’t be in a hurry on this one.  (93 pts)

2007 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Scherrer Shale Terrace

 

 

***** 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:

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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!

 

Dec 3, 2012 to Dec 6, 2012

 

 

2007 Scherrer Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – $0.00

 

My comments

This wine was a gift from a friend.  I don’t know the actual release price, but the average cost for 50 Cellar Tracker users was $38.24.

 

I’ve been a big fan of Scherrer’s Zinfandels for several years.  A couple years ago, I bought 5 half bottles of this wine for my wife to enjoy while I was traveling.  Obviously she loved the wine since all the bottles are gone.  Unfortunately, since I was traveling when the bottles were opened, I have not had the opportunity to try the wine.

 

Needless to say, I am looking forward to trying this bottle.

 

Winery history – Philosophy

Everyone seems to believe in doing minimal manipulation with the goal of letting the vineyard site speak.  Additionally, I try to make good tasting wine that will age well.

 

Since grapes do not walk off the vines and into the winery, let alone into barrels and bottles, we must actually do something with the grapes and wine along the way from time to time.  Rest assured that I do try to get in the way as little as possible while trying to achieve the desired outcome.  Most of our work is done and choices are made during the harvest season.  Afterward, there is little reason to touch a wine on a wonderful trajectory.  With the exception of our Dry Rosé, all our wines are bottled without fining or filtration.

 

Sometimes we bottle wines from single vineyards, or even blocks within a vineyard.  Usually, these vineyard designates are the synthesis of multiple sub-sites within a given vineyard.  Sometimes we bottle ‘Appellation wines’ that are also single vineyard sourced but happen not to have unusually special personality beyond being delicious examples of their appellation.  Other times, these Appellation wines are the result of blending carefully selected vineyard sites.  Occasionally, with our Zinfandoodle we blend between two vintages to achieve balance and harmony.  If any parcels are left over that are not assets to these wines, they find a home in someone else’s program, rather than ours.

 

I regularly underplay the wines’ provenance rather than overplay it.  This causes some confusion and frustrates merchants who sell our wines.  For this, I offer my apologies.  I am, however, unlikely to change this deeply engrained habit.

 

Much more information available at:  http://www.scherrerwinery.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The very refined and elegant nose features black cherries, baking spices, plums, violets, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the spicy, tart fruit adds a touch of earthiness on the backend which continues through the moderately long finish.  Very tasty now, but this will hold and potentially improve with additional cellar time.  (92 pts)

2007 Scherrer Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

 

 

 

2007 Red Car Syrah Boxcar – $16.63

 

My comments

One of the mysteries of life, how could I get this wine for under $17 on a blow out sale?  My only guess is people weren’t expecting a wine that demanded considerable time in a decanter or a few years in the cellar for $25.  Someone took a beating on the bottom line, but it wasn’t me…this time.

 

Winery history

Winemaking Style

Red Car uses meticulous viticulture and transparent winemaking to craft wines with authentic character and originality.  Combining old and new world techniques, we minimize manipulation so the fruit can faithfully express the cool climate personality of the SonomaCoast.

 

History

Red Car was founded by Carroll Kemp and Mark Estrin in 2000 with 50 cases of Syrah from a single ton of grapes.  Besides an enthusiasm for wine, they also shared a Hollywood background – Carroll as producer, Mark as screenwriter.  Their intent was simple: source great grapes, make great wine and market it in an inventive, original way.

 

The winery name is a tribute to the electric trolley cars that ran throughout Los Angeles from the late 19th century through the early 1960’s.  These “red cars” provided transportation in a romanticized time and place.  We strive to make wines that are similarly memorable and transportive.

 

If you find yourself in wine country, the Red Car tasting room is open from 10am to 5pm, seven days a week.

 

More information available at:  http://www.redcarwine.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The very appealing and exotic nose features blackberries, dying wood embers, bacon, black pepper, licorice, dried herbs, wild flowers, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The savory elements are in the forefront on the palate with crushed berries coming in underneath.  The finish has nice length with the peppery, earthy berries slowly giving way to dried herbs.  This is in a prime drinking window, but should hold for a couple years.  Solid, but not really for anyone looking for a fruit forward easy drinker.  (90 pts)

2007 Red Car Syrah Boxcar Sonoma Coast

 

 

 

2009 Caldora Sangiovese Terre di Chieti IGT – $6.02

 

My comments

Although this wine is nothing too special, this Italian Sangiovese is perfect for some week night pizza or pasta.  Nice red fruit with some earthiness and tart acidity is a perfect companion for an informal dinner at home.  What more could you ask from a $6 wine.

 

Winery history (from the Winery)

Not all our partners’ vineyards are fit to become Caldora’s vineyards; in fact, after a careful selection based on over 1,000 total hectares of land, we have chosen less than 200 hectares of very aged vineyards, with the best clones, located on the best lands.  The working rules of our vineyards are very strict, with a very low yield and rapid working time to face the changes of the climatic conditions.  Then, when the time is best, harvest is carried out by handpicking within only 3 working days to avoid dangerous climatic changes.  To keep the yield low, our partners are paid according to the size of the vineyard, not to the amount of grapes, this radically changes the concept of “co-operative” aiming directly to the final quality of our wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  On the fairly straight forward nose there are cherries, earthy elements, baking spices, violets, licorice, and just a touch of raisin.  This has a medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate shows nice tart cherries with some earthiness and spices in the background.  The finish has decent length.  This is a very straight forward, no frills, Italian Sangiovese with little complexity.  That said, for $6, this is fine with some pizza or pasta at home on a week night.  (85 pts)

2009 Caldora Sangiovese Terre di Chieti IGT

 

 

 

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré – $29.88

 

My comments

Emigré is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Muscadelle harvested from four vineyards, two in cool climates, Greenock and EdenValley, and the other two from the northern BarossaValley.  Wines from The Colonial Estate don’t come cheap.  Their lower end wines start at $30.  This is one of their higher end wines and has a release price around $90.  I’ve been lucky in the past (and this time too) to find their wines either on a clearance sale or via Garagiste for under $30.  If you ever have the chance to get a bottle of this wine or either the Exile Cabernet or Shiraz at a great price, grab a bottle, it will bring a smile to your face.

 

Winery history

The Colonial Estate is a range of limited-production Australian wines with an old world approach.  The fruit is hand picked and carefully selected; the reds receive cold pre-maceration, fermentation, pressing and maceration on skins prior to ageing in French oak; whilst the whites get whole-bunch pressing, lees stirring and are fermented with naturally occurring yeasts.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby, but is much lighter at the edge.  The very sexy and inviting nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, Asian spices, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, dried herbs, blueberries, black pepper, wild flowers, and a dusty, earthy element.  This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.   On the palate the dusty, mineral laden fruit shares the top billing with dried herbs and espresso.  The finish has great length and adds a touch of dark chocolate.  This is still quite young but promises a long, flavorful life.  This is not a big, overly ripe, Australian fruit bomb.  (94 pts)

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigre

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Sandler Wine Co

Ed Kurtzman’s Sandler offer hit the inbox.  Generally very nice wines for unbelievable prices, I had to grab:

(3) 2010 Connell Vineyard (BennettValley) Syrah at $20 each

(3) 2010 Boer Vineyard Grenache at $25 each

Two other wines were offered, but I passed:

2010 SantaLuciaHighlands Pinot Noir and

2010 Buck Hill Vineyard Zinfandel

 

As per the winery’s usual policy, the shipping was free.

 

To sign up for the list, visit:

https://www.sandlerwine.com/index.cfm?method=memberCreateAccount.signup

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

The following bottles arrived this week direct from the winery.

(4) 2010 Turley Cabernet Sauvignon The Label

(3) 2010 Loring Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Russell Family Vineyard

(1) 2011 Loring Wine Company Chardonnay Durell Vineyard

 

 

 

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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