Posts tagged ‘Tablas Creek’

Jan 11, 2013 to Jan 13, 2013

 

 

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch – $23.74

 

My comments

JC Cellars is a consistent producer of high quality, full bodied red wine and rich whites.  I grabbed a few bottles of this wine at an end-of-vintage sale at the local wine store.  I think it’s time to open one to see what I have.

 

Winery history

Jeff Cohn, the winemaker, president, and “JC” of JC Cellars got his start in the industry almost 20 years ago.  As an intern at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland, he drove an hour and half each way to prune vines in frigid weather, pick grapes in stifling heat, and scrub everything from barrels to floors.

 

Long before he began his winemaking career he received an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & WalesUniversity, and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from FloridaInternationalUniversity.

 

Cohn had always loved the hospitality industry, and as he worked through several high profile positions after college he found his passion for wine steadily growing.  The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn, until he realized that becoming a winemaker was his ultimate goal.  The job at Boordy was a deciding factor in the trajectory of his career — in spite of all the scrubbing.

 

With the encouragement and support of his family, Cohn moved to California in 1993 to follow his dream.  He earned his master’s degree in agriculture chemistry, with an emphasis on enology, from CaliforniaStateUniversity, Fresno in 1996.  It was here that Cohn discovered French winemaking techniques and the concept of terroir.  “The flavor profile was so different than anything else I had ever tried,” he says of the first Chateauneuf-du-Pape he tried in school.  “It was a shocker.  To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes.”

 

For more info, visit http://www.jccellars.com/about-jeff-cohn.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The big and bold nose had blackberries, black pepper, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, underbrush, melted licorice, and wood smoke.  This has a full body, solid, chewy tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has an overload of ripe, juicy berries, pepper, dark chocolate and ground espresso.  The finish is fairly long and again, like the palate, is loaded with flavor.  The big, mouth coating tannins really kick in on the finish but the fruit and spice still shine through.  If you are not tannin adverse, this can be enjoyed now, if not, let this one sleep for a couple more years.  (93 pts)

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $23.74

 

My comments

The Two Hands wines have been favorites in my house for several years.  The Garden series wines are usually excellent, but have escalated in price.  To me, the second level of the Two Hands wines are the real sweet spot in their lineup.  High quality wines at relatively bargain prices.

 

Winery history (Core Values)

Quality without compromise is central to the Two Hands philosophy, driving all the decisions from fruit and oak selection to packaging and promotion.

 

We strive to differentiate ourselves; to be unique, fun and innovative in our business approach while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and integrity.

 

Our wines are made by a process of barrel classification – selecting the very best barrels for the Flagship range followed by Garden Series then our Picture Series.  This is achieved by sourcing the best parcels of fruit available to us from six premium regions within Australia.

 

We handle every parcel of fruit, however small, separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation to ensure complexity and personality in the finished wines.

 

Fruit will be the primary feature of all our wines, with oak playing a supporting role.

 

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

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky, purple color.  The burly nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, plums, meat juices, black pepper, Asian spices, minerals, melted licorice, charcoal, and fresh wild flowers.  The wine is medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there are loads of spicy, smoky, meaty berries with plums and dark chocolate coming in on the back end to add even more depth.  The finish is long, juicy, and flavorful.  A seamless, balanced, full flavored Shiraz with no rough edges.  Enjoyable now and for the next five years.  (94 pts)

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

 

 

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel – $39.99

 

My comments

I grabbed a couple of these upon release and have been sitting on them for a few years.  This is the flagship wine from one of the highest quality producers and a fantastic vintage, how could this not be outstanding?  Well, opening it too early is the best way to have a less than stellar showing.  I hope I waited long enough.

 

Winery history

Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community’s leading families, the Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands.  They had since the 1970s believed the California climate to be ideal for planting Rhône varietal grapes.  In 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World.  The Tablas Creek Vineyard Partnership was born, with the Perrin and Haas families as majority partners, and French and American wine loving friends as minority partners.

 

The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal VenturaCounty in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel.  In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in west Paso Robles.  They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.

 

The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel.  Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity.

 

Much more history and info available at:  http://www.tablascreek.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice, ruby red color.  The very inviting nose has blackberry, eucalyptus, kirsch, cherry, flower laden potpourri, minerals, licorice, Asian spices, and just a touch of underbrush.  This is medium to full body, with solid tannins and very good acidity.  Nice, bright, spicy fruit on the palate with minerals and a touch of mint.  The finish is very long and satisfying.  Not a big, in your face style of wine, this could very easily be slipped into a CdP tasting and not be out of place.  This is still on the young side, but still very tasty.  (95 pts)

2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel

 

 

 

2008 Saviah Cellars Une Vallée Walla Walla Valley – $31.76

 

My comments

This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon Pepper Bridge and McClellan Vineyards, 38% Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, and 6% Cabernet Franc.

 

I bought one of these at the local store to try upon release, and immediately went back for more as soon as we opened the bottle.  It was very young but equally as impressive.  Time to see if a couple years in the cellar will be rewarded.

 

Winery history

Saviah Cellars is a family-owned and operated artisan winery located in the acclaimed Walla WallaValley of southeastern Washington.  The winery specializes in producing small quantities of ultra-premium wines that showcase the remarkable qualities of Washington’s finest vineyards.  Founded in 2000, the winery’s first vintage was only 300 cases.  Today, the winery produces approximately 9,500 cases of wine per year.

 

Winemaker Richard Funk and his wife Anita, both natives of Montana, moved to Walla Walla in 1991.  The name Saviah is a family name from Anita’s great-grandmother, a schoolteacher, artist and author, who settled in western Montana in the early 1900s.

 

The family’s heritage is also reflected in its Star Meadows white wine, the location of the original family homestead, its Une Vallée® red wine inspired by the current family homestead called “OneValley”, and its Big Sky Cuvée® in honor of their Montana roots.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The very nice nose has plums, cassis, dying wood embers, dried herbs, cherries, minerals, cedar, dark chocolate, and warm baking spices.  This has medium body with nice tannins and good acidity.  This has a nice melding of the fruit and savory notes on the palate with nothing appearing over bearing and omnipresent, just layers of flavor.  The finish is fairly long and again with no rough ends or out of place elements.  This is just entering a very nice drinking window and with the outstanding balance, should show well for several years.  (92 pts)

2008 Saviah Cellars Une Vallee

 

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Still receiving a lot of “save the date” messages, but not much in the way of releases…yet.

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Picked these up at the local wine store:

(3) 2009 Chateau Des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape

(3) 2010 Margarethenhof Ayler Kupp Riesling Spatlese

(6) 2007 Von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese

(3) 2009 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Sommelongue

(6) 2009 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Sabrine

(3) 2009 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Fayard

 

Not bad, two cases with an average price of under $11 a bottle.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Dec 31, 2012 to Jan 3, 2013

 

 

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection – $91.04

 

My comments

Caymus has long been one of the benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Napa.  Caymus Special Selection is created by selecting the best barrels of wine from the vintage.  The Special Selection is generally a ripe, plush style of wine and is full of velvety fruit and spice.  I have a few bottles of the wine and figured New Year’s Eve would be a great day to check in to see how it is coming along.

 

Winery history

In 1971 Charles F. (Charlie) Wagner and his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner asked their son Charles J. (Chuck) Wagner, who had just graduated from high school, if he would be interested in joining them in starting up a winery.  If Chuck declined the offer, Charlie and Lorna were planning to sell out of their ranch in Napa Valley and move to Australia.  Chuck accepted his parents’ offer to launch the winery, Caymus Vineyards.

 

The Wagners produced their first vintage in 1972, consisting of 240 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Since then, Caymus has focused their efforts in the production of quality Cabernet Sauvignon.  Today’s production is 65,000 cases.

 

Caymus Vineyards remains 100% family-owned by the Wagners.  Charlie, Lorna Belle, and Chuck worked together as a remarkable team for over 30 years building Caymus Cabernet.  Today, Chuck, his two sons, Charlie and Joe, and one daughter, Jenny, have joined the family team. Farming grapes remain the priority with the family farming about 350 acres of choice Napa Valley land.

 

The Wagners took the name Caymus from the Mexican land grant known as Rancho Caymus, given to George Yount in 1836, which encompassed what eventually became the town of Rutherford and much of the surrounding area.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The very nice and inviting nose has cassis, roasted herbs, baking spices, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dried herbs, cherry, dark chocolate, vanilla, and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has medium to full body with big, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine is rich and plush on the palate with loads of crushed berries, baking spices, and dark chocolate.  There are dried herbs and cherries coming in on the backend filling out the palate and adding depth.  The finish is long and rich with a bit of vanilla creeping in as well as some eucalyptus and dark chocolate.  This is delicious right now but with all the richness, I don’t know if this will be one to hold long term.  I’d advise enjoying over the next several years.  (94 pts)

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection

 

 

 

2009 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas – $23.24

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the higher end Tablas Creek wines for a few years.  For some reason this single bottle of their wine sat in the cellar for about a year without being opened.  Today seems like a great day to have it with dinner.  This is blend of 43% Grenache, 24% Syrah, 18% Counoise and 15% Mourvedre.

 

Winery history

Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community’s leading families, the Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands.  They had since the 1970s believed the California climate to be ideal for planting Rhône varietal grapes.  In 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World.  The Tablas Creek Vineyard Partnership was born, with the Perrin and Haas families as majority partners, and French and American wine loving friends as minority partners.

 

The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal Ventura County in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel.  In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in west Paso Robles.  They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.

 

The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel.  Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity.

 

Much more history and info available at:  http://www.tablascreek.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The very open and inviting nose has cherry, raspberry, warm baking spices, wild flowers, wet slate, and a touch of earthiness.  The wine has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine provides a nice mouthful of spicy, mineral laden, red fruit with a touch of subtle earthiness.  The finish has good length and again features the spicy, red fruit and minerals.  This is a very refined, elegant, and food friendly Rhone styled blend from Paso Robles that is available at a very reasonable price.  Load up!  (92 pts)

2009 Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas

 

 

 

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – $28.00

 

My comments

I’ve been on the Rhys mailing list for a few years.  A lot of people knock the wines because they don’t taste great upon release.  Rhys wines require a few years in the cellar to smoothen out and open up.  That said, their Alesia wines, which are made from purchased grapes, though also needing some time in the cellar, seem to be ready to drink a couple years earlier.  I grabbed several bottles of this wine when it was offered on their e-mail release.  I’ve had a couple bottles and every bottle has been better than the previous bottle…always a good sign.

 

Winery history

While much of our focus is on wine growing for our Rhys estate-managed vineyards, we also enjoy exploring distinctive California locations outside the Santa Cruz Mountains.  In particular we love the seductive beauty of Pinot Noir and Syrah from the Sonoma Coast and the utterly unique expression of Syrah from the Santa Lucia Highlands.  We call these wines made from purchased grapes “Alesia.”

 

Each Alesia wine is made with the same philosophy as our estate grown wines – concentration from low yields and pure, fresh fruit flavors.

 

More information on Rhys and Alesia is available at:  http://www.rhysvineyards.com/index.html

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The sexy nose has strawberries, raspberries, cola, baking spices, underbrush, minerals, cherries, dried flowers, and a slight stemmy note.  The wine has medium body at most with some tannins and very good acidity.  The very complex palate has layers of fruit, spice, and earthy elements that slowly reveal themselves with each sip, with the nice cleansing acidity evident at all times.  The finish is fairly long and the mouthwatering acidity is ever present.  This is very food friendly and civilized.  There is no excess weight or overly extracted notes evident on the wine.  This is still on the young side and can be enjoyed over the next several years.  (92 pts)

2008 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

 

 

 

2006 Bilancia Syrah – $28.73

 

My comments

I grabbed a few bottles of this wine a few years ago when they were offered by Garagiste Wine for a decent price. I bought these more out of curiosity to see how New Zealand would handle the Syrah grape.  I figured this wine would be a great example of a cool climate Syrah.

 

Winery history

Bilancia is a small Hawkes’ Bay producer of exceptional Pinot Gris, Viognier and Syrah.  It is the label of winemakers Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson and was established in 1997 when Lorraine and Warren returned to New Zealand from winemaking overseas.  The first wines were released in mid 1998.

 

The word  Bilancia (be-larn-cha) means, in Italian, balance, equilibrium and harmony.  These terms have obvious connections with wine and winemaking, but also, Bilancia is the Italian word for the Zodiac sign Libra which both Lorraine and Warren were born under.  Warren worked in Southern Italy for a number of harvests and the name came to him whilst reading his Horoscope in the Italian newspaper!

 

The philosophy of balance, equilibrium and harmony is something that is carried through all aspects of the winemaking and, hopefully, people will see this when they drink the wines.

 

The viticultural central point for Bilancia is the 6 hectares (15 acres) of land covering the front and back of Roys Hill (west of Hastings on State Highway 50) where, planted only on the North – Northwest facing slope is the vineyard known as la collina (col-ee-na), which is Italian for “the hill”.  The upper most slopes and terraces are planted to Syrah whilst the lower gently rising land and gravels flat is planted to Viognier (and a small amount of Gewurztraminer).  Some of the Viognier was top grafted to Chardonnay in 2007.

 

Fruit has been always been sourced predominantly from Hawke’s Bay although, for the 2000 to 2003 harvests some Pinot Gris was taken from Marlborough.  Since 2004 all fruit has been sourced from Hawke’s Bay vineyards: Syrah and Viognier are from la collina and Syrah from Mere Road (Gravels). Pinot Gris is from Black Bridge Estate at Haumoana.

 

Much more information is available at: http://www.bilancia.co.nz/home.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The bright and lively nose has juicy berries, minerals, white pepper, brined olives, dried herbs, smoke, meat juices, and flowers.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid, chewy tannins and very good acidity.  The front of the palate is dominated by spicy, peppery berries but dried herbs and a touch olives and earthiness kick in on the backend adding depth.  The finish is fairly long with a touch of spicy oak coming in late.  Don’t try this expecting an Aussie style Shiraz, to me this is slanted more towards a nice, midpoint Rhone wine.  (92 pts)

2006 Bilancia Syrah

 

 

 

2006 Albini Family Vineyards Merlot – $0.00

 

My comments

This bottle of wine was a gift from a friend.  I’m not sure of the release price of the wine, but in Cellar Tracker six people have paid an average of $21.64 a bottle.  I’ve been fairly vocal about my opinion of Merlot wines over the last couple of years, but this wine is outside of my normal “rant zone”.  I complain about the lack of a good, week night, Merlot for under $20, this one is assuredly priced over that price point.  I will be the first to admit there are very nice Merlots out there, but most of the good stuff is not priced to be opened with a normal dinner on Monday to Thursday on a consistent basis.

 

Winery history

Albini Family Vineyards was established in 1991 and produces about 500 cases of handmade wine each year.  Although we are small, our Merlot and Zinfandel wines receive national attention for their high quality and unique style.

 

We are proud of our artisan style of wine making, which follows a natural, hands-on approach.  At 2 to 3 tons per acre, our vineyard yields are low and all of our grapes are handpicked and sorted to assure only the highest quality fruit is used.   Fermentation takes place in small, open-top fermenters utilizing indigenous (wild) yeast and the cap is punched down 3 – 4 times a day.  Once the wine is dry, it is pressed in a 1/2 ton basket press and then hand bucked into barrels.

 

Our Russian River Valley Merlot is aged for 20 months in a mix of French and American oak barrels.  The Zinfandel is aged for 18 – 20 months in primarily American oak barrels.  Both wines are unfiltered and hand-bottled at our estate winery in Windsor, California.

 

We very much appreciate your interest in our wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to purple color.  The inviting nose has cherries, blackberries, melted licorice, dried herbs, vanilla, and spice box.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The cherries and berries grab the palate initially but nice spice and dried herbs kick in on the mid palate.  The finish has decent length with spicy fruit and dried herbs, but a touch of excess oak pops through.  All in all, a decent Merlot that would get a big buy recommendation is you can find it for under $20.  (90 pts)

2006 Albini Family Vineyards Merlot

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

Nothing new to report now, but keep an eye on the inbox starting next week.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

I was good over the last few days, so nothing to report.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

%d bloggers like this: