Posts tagged ‘Syncline’

Cliffs Wine Picks Mar 25, 2013 to Mar 28, 2013

 

 

 

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Maipe Malbec Reserve

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

 

 

 

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon – $19.00

 

My comments

Something I knew way back but forgot was that Freemark Abbey was the only winery to have two bottles of wine in the 1976 “Judgment in Paris” tasting that put California on the world’s wine map.  After a few lean years, I think the winery has righted the boat and are again producing very nice, bargain priced wines.

 

Winery history

In 1967, seven partners purchased Freemark Abbey, setting the stage for a new era of creativity.  The winery earned the nickname the “University of Freemark” due to the sheer number of innovations and significant winemakers that emerged from our cellars.

 

In 1976, wine expert Steven Spurrier conducted a legendary blind tasting in Paris – pitting the upstart wines of California against the establishment of France.  Of the 12 American wineries chosen to compete, only Freemark Abbey had two wines represented – a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon.  In an upset that shocked the wine world, California wines won every category of the tasting, putting Napa Valley firmly on the world stage.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby red color.  The very comforting nose has cassis, warm baking spices, tobacco, dried herbs, plum, licorice, and a touch of smoke.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate features bright and juicy berries, baking spices, dried herbs and a touch of oak.  The finish has nice length with the berries and dried herbs joined by a touch of excess spicy oak.  I would be nice if the touch of extra oak would integrate, but I really don’t see that happening.  No hurry on this one, enjoy it over the next several years.  This was a steal for $19.  (90 pts)

2007 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2009 Maipe Malbec Reserve – $11.39

 

My comments

When we’re having a beef based dinner but I’m in the mood for something different, more times than not, I grab a Malbec from Argentina.  The Malbec grape is one of the Bordeaux grapes, but it found a home in Argentina.  As with most other grapes, Malbec wines run the spectrum from easy drinking week night wines to full blown special occasion wines.  These Malbecs from Argentina should not be passed if you had one that didn’t meet your tastes, shop around and you’ll find a great wine that won’t break the budget.

 

Winery history

At the time of the financial crisis in 2001 that caused the replacement of 4 presidents in a month, violent attacks on bank offices and devaluation of the Peso to a quarter of its worth, Juan Pelizzatti was a telecommunications marketing professional in his mid thirties with a passion for wine, thinking of a project where he could invest his soul and his dreams.

 

The crisis, for a short period of time, gave many Argentines the impression that there was not much left to loose and that only a radically new vision of the future could help them survive it.  Juan was one of them: armed with his family’s life savings and a legacy of winemaking from his Italian grandfather, he took a month’s vacation from his job and literally walked the province of Mendoza in search of a new land.

 

Luck and some good advice helped him find the perfect place in Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo: 150 ha of almost bare land formerly planted with Malbec vines where only 30 hectares had survived the very bad years preceding the crisis.

 

Many years and a lot of work later, this estate has become one of the most promising new wine projects in Argentina, representing one of the most successful business models of the new wine landscape in Argentina.  In the meantime, Argentine exports have sustained double digit growth, whilst Malbec, once a rare local grape, has achieved the status of an internationally demanded variety.

 

Much more information on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, licorice, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate, baking spices, and plums.  This has medium body, soft but persistent tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has nice juicy berries but the savory notes of dark chocolate and fresh ground coffee and a lot of depth.  The finish has nice length and is an extension of the palate.  This is drinking very nicely but isn’t really built for the long haul, drink this over the next year, maybe two.  (90 pts)

2009 Maipe Malbec Reserve

 

 

 

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan – $19.94

 

My comments

If you’ve been reading my posts for more than just a couple of weeks, you’ll see I love just about all wines.  That said, my heart belongs to the grapes from the Rhone in France.  I think these are some of the most versatile grapes in the world.  These grapes seem to be able to adapt to where ever they are planted and can produce many different styles of wine.  I found this specific wine when a  friend tweeted he had this in his glass one evening.  I was able to track down a few bottles from a store in Washington.  A few days later, they were in my cellar.

 

Winery history

Birth of Syncline Winery: James and Poppie Mantone.

Poppie and James met during the harvest of 1997 while working together in the cellar at LaVelle Vineyards (Willamette Valley, Oregon).  Shortly after, they had fallen madly in love, married and began plans for a new endeavor: a winery of our own.

 

Four years later they relocated their home to the Columbia Gorge; where passion for Rhône wines led them to explore the emerging potential of vineyards in the Columbia Valley, Washington.

 

Inspired by early efforts of Rhone and Burgundy varietals sampled from Washington wineries, Syncline’s first vintage consisted of 76 cases of Celilo Vineyards Pinot Noir from vines planted in 1972.  The next year, production was increased to include Columbia Valley Syrah and Grenache.  At the same time they began working with vineyards to plant Viognier, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Cinsault, Counoise and Carignan.

 

They have kept production under 6,000 cases annually to ensure intimacy with each barrel and every vine.

 

Much more information is available on the winery’s website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shade lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The bright and cheerful nose has raspberries, cherries, minerals, baking spices, licorice, wild flowers, and just a touch of underbrush.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has nice red fruits, spice, and some earthiness with no rough edges.  The finish has decent length and again features the red fruit, spice, and a touch of earthiness.  This should hold for a couple more years, but is very tasty today.  (90 pts)

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan

 

 

 

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County – $30.00

 

My comments

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the Napa Valley.

 

Winery history

We are the owner/vintners of Jean Edwards Cellars – we share a passion for wine, a similar palate and a singular vision on the style of wines we produce.  We live by our motto that “you should only make wines you love to drink” and focus our production on artisan red wines that are full-bodied and classically styled.

 

Quality and heritage are important to us – our wines are reflective of their origins and are sourced some of the most prestigious vineyards (and vineyard blocks) throughout Napa Valley including Stagecoach Vineyard (on Pritchard Hill); vineyards on the valley floor in Rutherford, Oakville and Coombsville; and mountain vineyards on Howell and Spring Mountain.

 

Time really flies – we started producing commercial wines in 2004 but our dream of producing high quality Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon wines started much earlier when we traveled to the valley in 1985.  During that trip, we developed a true appreciation for cabernet sauvignon wines and decided we would some day be a part of the business and produce a wine called Jean Edwards Cellars (our two middle names).  It was a goal worth waiting for and twenty plus years later we released our first wine in the Spring of 2006.

 

For more information, to order wine, or to join the Jean Edwards mailing list, visit their website.

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color, almost purple.  The very nice nose has blackberries, charred meat, smoke, roasted herbs, licorice, black pepper, minerals, brined olives, wild flowers, and a touch of mint.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has a nice blend between the juicy, crushed berries, and the savory elements of black pepper, roasted herbs, and charred meat.  The finish is long and layered with nice juicy berries adding sweetness to the savory elements.  This is drinking nicely, but will reward some additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

 

 

***** 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

 

 

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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!

 

Sept 10, 2012 to Sept 13, 2012

 

 

 

2009 Domaine Roche Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne – $16.14

There’s nothing, in my opinion, better than a nice Côtes du Rhône when you want something interesting without dropping a load of money.  I grabbed three of these from the local wine store several months ago but until tonight, have not opened one.  This is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah that aged in mostly cement, with a small portion in older barrels.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  There are cherries, licorice, roasted meat, dried herbs, minerals, black pepper, raspberry, and nice earthiness on the open and expressive nose.  This is medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Loads of fruit, spice, and minerals on the palate with some dried herbs and earthiness in the background.  The finish is fairly long and again showcases the spicy, mineral driven fruit.  Very nice today, but will last in the cellar for a few years, at a minimum.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

 2007 Clos La Coutale Cahors – $13.29

I’ve been a big Cahors fan for several years, but due to lack of a decent selection locally, I got my Malbec fix from Argentina the last few years.  I always loved the big and tannic 100% Malbecs from Cahors.  Unfortunately, I was in the minority.  Over the last several years, a lot of the wineries in the region have begun blending in varying amounts of Merlot to tame the tannins and allow for earlier drinking.  This one is 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot.  I took the plunge on this one purely due to the #76 ranking in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2009 and the killer price.  I guess I’ll find out tonight if the risk paid off.

 

The wine is a dark, inky purple color.  On the deep and dark nose there are blackberries, fresh ground espresso, Asian spices, dark chocolate, black cherry, and some nice earthiness.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and zippy acidity.  Not as big and bold on the palate as the nose led me to expect, it is much more restrained and laid back.  There are nice fruit and spice flavors on the palate with the acidity brightening it up considerably.  In the background some dark chocolate, walnut, and earthiness add nice depth.  Decent length on the finish, where I wish it had a bit more length and complexity.  All in all, very nice for the price, but not what the nose lead me to expect.  (88 pts)

 

 

 

2009 Novy Family Wines Four Mile Creek – $9.50

I perennial 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.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  Blackberries, black cherries, baking spices, licorice, underbrush, with some earth and violets on the very open and interesting nose.  This is medium body with soft, ripe tannins and nice acidity.  Loads of jammy, spicy fruit grab the palate, followed by some toasty oak and earthiness.  Decent length on the spicy fruit filled finish.  Not much complexity but very tasty.  Killer QPR for under $10.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

2009 Syncline Grenache-Carignan – $19.94

Just got back home from a business trip and was in the mood for something a little different.  This is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Carignan from the ColumbiaValley in Washington.  I’ve had a couple bottles of this wine over the last year, but felt it would be better with a bit of cellar time.  I guess it’s time to check in to see how it’s going.  As an added bonus, the wine is closed with a glass stopper.  In my opinion the best stopper for wines that will be consumed in three to eight years.  I need to see some research before I can extend the top end of that range.  I think these stoppers are a bit too costly to use on wines meant to be consumed not long after release.

 

The wine is a bit lighter than a medium ruby color.  This has a very nice nose with raspberry, meat juices, cherries, minerals, underbrush, licorice, fresh wild flowers, and baking spices with just a hint of an herbal note lingering in the background.  The wine is medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine has a nice mix of fruit and spices with some earthiness and toasty oak adding depth and some complexity.  Decent length on the finish where the slight herbal/stemmy note reappears.  Not a big, overly ripe, and bold style of wine, but very tasty and refined.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

I was out of town on a business tip most of the week.  Instead of having my wife live without wine, I have a pretty nice selection of 375ml half bottles.  I currently have 20 different wines for her to choose from when I am away.  Here are the wines she enjoyed this week.  2004 Copain Garys’ Vineyard Syrah, 2006 Scherrer Old and Mature VinesScherrerVineyardAlexanderValley Zinfandel, and a 2006 ScherrerRussianRiverValley Pinot Noir.  Sorry, no notes on these wines, all I got from her was, “they were all good”.  Luckily I have at least one bottle of all of these, so maybe I’ll be able to try them the next time one is opened.

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

 

Helioterra

Helioterra is a new discovery for me.  I met the owner/winemaker, Anne Hubatch, when she came back to visit her family in Wisconsin.  We tasted through her whole line up and I was very impressed.  I recommend getting in on the ground floor of this exciting Oregon winery.  Their next release is coming shortly, for more information, visit http://bit.ly/Q5TmSl

 

 

Elyse Winery

This is Elyse’s 25th year.  You can help them celebrate the momentous occasion.  They are offering 25% off all purchases made through September 25th.  I have been a big fan of the winery since my first visit there in 2000.  They make some of my favorite, mid-priced, red wines.  I think their Cabernets, Zinfandels, Petite Sirahs, and Rhone blends are all very good to outstanding.  Visit http://www.elysewinery.com/25.html for more information.

 

 

Ledge Vineyards

This is one of my latest “finds”.  Mark Adams is the owner/winemaker for this family owned winery.  He releases one wine, and the grapes all come from the family owned vineyard.  The vineyard is about 7 acres currently and is located in Paso Robles not far from Denner and the James Berry Vineyards.  Mark is also been the assistant winemaker at Saxum where he has worked since 2004.  I highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this exciting list.  Visit http://www.ledgevineyards.com/index.php for more information or to join the list.

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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