Posts tagged ‘Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red’

Cliffs Wine Picks – Red Blends

 

2011 Murrieta’s Well The Spur

2010 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth

2006 Vincent Arroyo Bodega

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia Cuvee 32

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

These are a few bottles from the past couple of months that were missed in that week’s post.  Most were either an emergency replacement for an off bottle, consumed on a business trip or a bottle I was afraid may be past its’ peak.

 

 

 

2011 Murrieta’s Well The Spur – $21.99

This wine is a blend of 31% Petite Sirah, 29% Petit Verdot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, and 5% Cabernet Franc.  The bottle is closed with a screw cap.

 

Each varietal was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 14 months in a combination of American, French, Eastern European, and neutral oak barrels.

 

There were 425 barrels of the wine produced and the final alcohol level is 13.5%.

 

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The nose is big, dark, and serious with smoke, loamy earth, berries, black cherries, minerals, plums, black pepper, licorice, dried herbs and some underbrush.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the berries, smoke, and earthy elements hit first with plums and dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length and closes with a big dash of black pepper.  This wine screams for something hot and juicy right off the grill.  This is drinking very nicely right now, no reason to hold on to it even though it should hold for a couple more years.  (90 pts)

2011 Murrieta's Well The Spur

2011 Murrieta’s Well The Spur

 

 

 

2010 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth – $30.40

This is a blend of 80% Syrah 11% Mourvedre 9% Grenache.

 

The wine is a deep purple color, dark as midnight.  The intoxicating nose is full of crushed berries, crushed stones, ground espresso beans, meat juices, cherries, Asian spices, black licorice, violets and scorched earth.  This is full bodied with moderate to solid tannins and nice acidity.  The palate is greeted with a load of berries, crushed stones and Asian spices immediately.  On the back end meat juices and ground espresso beans grab your attention.  The finish has good length with scorched earth grabbing the spotlight and violets in the wings.  A little alcoholic heat slips through at times but the wine easily conceals most of the 15.6% alcohol.  One of the better McPrice Myers wines I’ve had over the years.  This has 15.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2010 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth

2010 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth

 

 

 

2006 Vincent Arroyo Bodega – $19.99

I’ve been a long time supporter and buyer of the wines from Vincent Arroyo.  This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot.

 

The wine is a medium to dark garnet color.  The very appealing nose features blackberries, baking spices, cedar, tobacco, cherry, vanilla, and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the spicy fruit hits first with some cedar and earthiness in the background adding depth.  The finish has nice length with cherries and spice carrying the load.  A very nice Bordeaux style blend from Napa.  (90 pts)

2006 Vincent Arroyo Bodega

2006 Vincent Arroyo Bodega

 

 

 

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia Cuvee 32 – $16.90

We have visited the Alexander Valley based Trentadue Winery a few times in the past and always had a good time and an even better tasting.  This is a long time favorite wine in my house.  The blend varies each vintage, this one is 49% Sangiovese, 27% Merlot, 8% Montepulciano, 8% Malbec, 7% Petite Sirah and 1% Syrah.  This wine has enough acidity from the Sangiovese to stand up to dishes with tomatoes but the other grapes lend enough body and oomph to stand up to meat.  We like this wine with everything from pasta with meat sauce to Veal Parmesan and baked ziti.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol and is sealed via a natural cork.

 

The wine is a medium to dark garnet color.  The very inviting nose has cherries, warm baking spices, dried herbs, raspberries, black pepper, wild flowers, licorice and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate to solid tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the spicy, peppery fruit jumps out first with dried herbs and earthiness coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with good balance between the fruity and savory elements.  This California version of a “Super Tuscan” is one of the better ones currently being produced.  This is in a prime drinking window but will last in the cellar for another couple of years.  (91 pts)

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia Cuvee 32

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia Cuvee 32

 

 

 

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.29

This is a kitchen sink blend that changes every vintage.  This vintage is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 16% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Sangiovese, 3% Petite Verdot and 1% Carmenere from the Columbia Valley in Washington.  The wine is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  My eyesight may not as good as it used to be but if the alcohol percentage is on the label, I could not find it.

 

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to maroon color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, smoldering charcoal, vanilla, meat juices, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has a nice mix of fruity and savory elements that play well off of each other.  The finish has decent length leaning a bit more on the savory elements.  This is in a very nice drinking window and is a nice change of pace from the bigger, riper California wines.  This wine has not only survived some cellar time but has improved over the last few years.  The end of the line is near, this needs consumed in the next year.  What more can you ask of a sub $15 bottle of wine?  (89 pts)

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2017 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Mar 16, 2015 to Mar 22, 2015

 

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

2006 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale

 

 

 

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.29

This is a kitchen sink blend that changes every vintage.  This vintage is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 16% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Sangiovese, 3% Petite Verdot and 1% Carmenere from the Columbia Valley in Washington.  The wine is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  My eyesight may not as good as it used to be but if the alcohol percentage is on the label, I could not find it.  The wine is a fairly dark ruby to maroon color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, smoldering charcoal, vanilla, meat juices, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has a nice mix of fruity and savory elements that play well off of each other.  The finish has decent length leaning a bit more on the savory elements.  This is in a very nice drinking window and is a nice change of pace from the bigger, riper California wines.  This wine has not only survived some cellar time but has improved over the last few years.  What more can you ask of a sub $15 bottle of wine?  (90 pts)

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

 

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT – $19.94

This wine has been a favorite Italian wine in my house for several years.  This is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine was #36 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list for 2011.  This wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle us sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color.  The deep and exotic nose has blackberries, cherries, cocoa powder, licorice, underbrush, dried herbs, minerals, cedar and well worn leather.  This has a medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine has loads of spicy, earthy fruit with dried herbs, and cocoa powder adding considerable depth.  The finish has nice length, but a bit of oak pops out.  This tastes very nice now but should be even better in another year, allowing the oak on the finish to better integrate.  (92 pts)

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT

2007 Terrabianca Campaccio Toscana IGT

 

 

 

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch – $23.74

I bought a few bottles of this wine when the store brought in a few cases for an end of vintage sale.  To me, this was a no brainer.  I love JC Cellars and Petite Sirah, so when these were offered at about half off, several followed me home.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The big and bold nose has 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

2007 JC Cellars Petite Sirah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

 

 

2006 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch – $35.00

I’ve been a fan of Copain’s Syrah wine for several years.  The Eaglepoint Ranch wines have always been a personal favorite.  The area gets warm enough the grapes get ripe but cool enough the wines show very good acidity and nice minerality.  I was disappointed when the winery stopped making this wine after the 2007 vintage.  I’m thankful I still have a nice stash of this wine in the cellar going back to the 2005 vintage.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, smoked meat, crushed stone minerals, black pepper, cherries, dried violets and scorched earth.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Peppery berries and cherries jump out on the palate with crushed stones and nice earthiness coming on strong on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried earth and a nice dried violet note entering the picture.  This is in an outstanding drinking window and should hold for a year or two.  (93 pts)

2006 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

2006 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

 

 

 

2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale

Several years ago this wine was a house favorite.  Whether it was changes in the wine or just our palates changing, this wine fell off our radar.  I decided to grab another bottle to check in on this long, lost friend.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, dusty minerals, eucalyptus, dry earth, wild flowers, plums and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate sweet cherries and dusty minerals jump out first with dry earthiness coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of eucalyptus and a floral note entering the picture.  This is on the young side but this is probably as good as it will get.  This has 14.5% alcohol.  (87 pts)

2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale

2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale

 

 

 

Connect with me

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

 

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

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2015 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

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

 

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

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Dec 21, 2012 to Dec 23, 2012

 

 

2006 Peter Lehmann Shiraz The Barossa – $11.39

 

My comments

I bought several bottles of this wine after trying a bottle.  This is a Barossa wine that breaks the mold of the big, fruit forward, syrupy Barossa Shiraz.  This wine, though ripe, is not out to grab your palate in a stranglehold.  This wine is, in my opinion, somewhere between your normal Shiraz and a French Rhone wine.  If you are down on Aussie Shiraz, look around, there are other examples like this one that will pull you in.

 

Winery history

In the face of a serious overproduction of grapes and the real possibility of growers facing financial ruin, Peter Lehmann found some investment partners, established a consortium and built the Peter Lehmann Wines winery.  It was 1979.

 

The first vintage was processed in 1980 and in 1982 the winery was formally named Peter Lehmann Wines.  From then on, its wines have been marketed under the Peter Lehmann Wines label.

 

As an experienced winemaker, Peter Lehmann was all too aware of the challenges facing a young winery in a competitive market.  Growth was well planned, slow and steady.

Initially, the winery facility was built to process fruit purchased from the local growers.  Carefully and strategically, the Peter Lehmann Wines operation moved on from the bulk wine market to become a producer of premium bottled wines with a well-deserved international reputation.

 

As well as purchasing grapes from about 185 local independent growers, Peter Lehmann Wines has its own vineyards, which produce about 2% of its requirements.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The very nice nose has blackberries, cherries, tobacco, dried herbs, meat juices, dark chocolate, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This is not a big, in your face Aussie Shiraz, it is actually on the subtle and nuanced side of the aisle.  Nice spicy, earthy fruit on the palate with some dried herbs coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length, again featuring the same elements from the palate.  This is very tasty and enjoyable.  (90 pts)

2006 Peter Lehmann Shiraz The Barossa

 

 

 

2009 McPrice Myers Altas Vinas Alta Mesa Vineyard – $30.40

 

My comments

The wines made by McPrice Myers, aren’t light weight, timid, and subtle, these are big, bold, and in your face.  Are they made for every day consumption?  Probably not, but once in a while a bottle of these wines will make you say, WOW.

 

Tonight’s wine is a blend of 42% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, and 29% Syrah.

 

Winery history

We work.  We work hard to make good wine.  You work.  You work hard and need good wine.  You might have money, but maybe you’re like us.  We make McPrice Myers wines for people like us.  If you work, and we mean work hard, and you need to drink good wine, and still make your mortgage payments, car payments, kid payments and pet payments, we’re here for you.  Our goal is to make wine that works hard at helping hard working America relax for a minute, take a load off, and remove the nose from the grindstone for a while.  We hope you enjoy them.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark violet color.  The intense nose has blackberries, cherries, earthy underbrush, plums, smoked meat, dried herbs, stony minerals, licorice, and black pepper.  This is very full bodied with sold tannins and decent acidity.  The palate features an overload of minerals, fruit, and spice that put a stranglehold on the taste buds.  Intense.  The finish is fairly long and adds a bit of dark chocolate to the mix.  This is still on the young side and could use another year or two in the cellar.  (92 pts)

2009 McPrice Myers Altas Vinas Alta Mesa Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard – $45.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of the Pinot Noir wines being made by Brian Loring for several years.  These will never be confused with a French Burgundy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Loring’s Pinots are ripe, fruity, and delicious.  That’s really all that should matter.

 

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

This is a fairly dark ruby color.  The very enticing nose has black cherries, baking spices, boysenberries, black tea, and some earthiness.  This is fairly full bodied with ripe tannins and good acidity.  The palate is full of mouth coating, rich and spicy fruit with a bit of earthiness coming in behind the fruit.  The finish is long and lingering with the earthy, spic, fruit.  Not the most complex wine made by Loring, but very tasty.  This will probably improve and gain some additional complexity with some additional time in the cellar.  (91 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard

 

 

 

2008 Hobo Wine Company Zinfandel Branham Vineyard Rockpile – $22.53

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of wines form the Rockpile region in the SonomaValley for a number of years.  I am not alone in my appreciation of the area.  A guy named Robert Parker once said this about the Rockpile region – “…One of the finest Zinfandel sites in Northern California…”

 

If you want to learn more about this up and coming AVA, check out:  http://rockpileappellation.com/viticulture.php

 

Winery history

The Hobo Wine Company is the brainchild, side job, menace to the wine industry, hedged bet, cash strain, mental anguish, late night musing, bruised hands, dirty t-shirts, and constant companion of Kenny Likitprakong.  Despite knowing better, he started his own label in 2002 with the simple idea to have some good fun.

 

Much more information including the origin of the name Hobo available at:  http://www.hobowines.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color.  The big and bold nose has brambly berries, freshly cracked black pepper, melted licorice, smoke, meat juices, vanilla, dark chocolate, and some dried leafy herbs.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity.  The spicy, peppery, berries hit the palate first followed by dried herbs, chocolate, and a touch of black cherry.  The finish is fairly long with just a touch of earthiness adding a nice dimension with the flavors from the palate carrying over.  (92 pts)

2008 Hobo Wine Company Zinfandel Branham Vineyard Rockpile

 

 

 

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red – $13.37

 

My comments

This is a perennial house favorite and best buy.  The blend changes every vintage, but the quality is always in the bottle.  This is always a blend of several grapes that always seems to work.

 

This vintage is a blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Syrah, 12% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 4% Sangiovese, 2% Zinfandel, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carmenere, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.  Oops, got a bit carried away there, have to kill the Christmas music for a bit.   🙂

 

Winery history

Whether it’s our highly acclaimed Firehouse Red or one of our limited-production single vineyard reserve blends, Tamarack’s wines offer a delicious expression of Washington vineyards’ style and elegance.

 

When you visit the winery, you won’t find us in a fancy chateau.  Instead you’ll find yourself immersed in the everyday workings of a family-owned winery, racking, blending and bottling wine, in a renovated firehouse located in a World War II Army Air Base.

 

Founded in 1998 by Ron and Jamie Coleman, Tamarack’s first vintage consisted of 300 cases of Merlot.  The goal was to make elegant, balanced, delicious wines and offer them at a fair price.  Years later, and now up to 20,000 cases each year, the focus remains the same. Tamarack Cellars hand-crafts consistently outstanding wines for a great price.

 

My Tasting Note

This is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The pleasant nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, minerals, cherries, baking spices, dried herbs, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with soft tannins and good acidity.  Nice, juicy, spicy fruit hits the palate first with some dark chocolate and earthiness coming in on the back end.  This has decent length on the finish which is showing a touch of excess oak.  This is tasty today, but could use a bit more cellar time to fully open up and help the oak integrate on the finish.  (88 pts)

2010 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek High Road The Long Path James Berry Vineyard – $44.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the wines coming out of Paso Robles’ Villa Creek for several years.  Most of the wines are very unique blends and all are of very high quality.

 

This is a “extended barrel aged” version of one of my favorite wines made by Villa Creek.  I’m very interested in seeing (tasting) what the extended time adds to the wine.

 

This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre from the world renowned James Berry Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

Winemaker notes:

High Road has historically been aged in barrel for 14-18 months.  With this vintage, I wanted to see how the wine would evolve with additional time in the barrel.  After the initial blend was assembled I held back four puncheons as an experiment.  The Long Path is two of those puncheons aged 34 months.  I tasted the wine with Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar publications and thought his notes were spot on.

 

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.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The nose on this wine is absolutely incredible with blackberries, intense stony minerals, violets, smoke, briny olives, blueberries, and dark, bittersweet chocolate with just a hint of earthiness.  This is medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Like the nose, the palate on this wine is incredible, loaded with spicy, smoky, mineral laden berries with olives and dark chocolate in the background adding depth and complexity.  The finish is very long, never seeming to end with spicy berries and just a bit of earthiness seeming to last forever.  In a perfect world, this would be cellar worthy for a decade, but realistically it will be next to impossible to resist for more than a year or two in my cellar.  (96 pts)

 

Note:  I just checked the website to place a quick order for a lot more, but it is sold out.  I’ll have to make do with my couple of bottles.

 

I’d highly recommend joining the mailing list to get your hands on gems like this.  Visit http://www.villacreekstore.com/the-clubs to join a club like me, or browse around.  This is one of my top 5 wineries.

2007 Villa Creek High Road The Long Path James Berry Vineyard

 

 

 

We paired the Villa Creek wine with a homey dinner.  I coated boneless pork loin chops with a mixture of mayo and grainy Dijon mustard and coated with Panko bread crumbs.  A quick sauté and finished in the oven.  Wife made some cheesy scalloped potatoes and quick sautéed asparagus.  Add some Asiago Cheese/Garlic bread and a Parmigianino-Garlic dipping sauce.

Dinner - chops

 

 

 

 Featured Recipe

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup (see my notes at end)

 

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (4 ounces) chopped, mild green chiles, drained

1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and black pepper, to taste

4 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1 avocado, peeled, diced and tossed with lime juice to prevent browning

lime wedges

 

1 –        Place chicken in slow cooker.

Combine tomatoes with juice, chiles, 1/2 cup broth, onion, garlic, and cumin in a bowl.  Pour mixture over chicken.  Cover, cook on LOW 6 hours or on high 3 hours, or until chicken is tender

 

2 –        Remove chicken from slow cooker, shred with 2 forks.  Return to cooking liquid.  Adjust seasonings, adding salt, pepper and more broth, as desired.

 

3 –        Just before serving, add tortillas and cilantro to slow cooker.  Stir to blend.  Serve in soup bowls, topping each serving with cheese, avocado and a squeeze of lime    juice.

 

Makes 4 servings

 

NOTES – I cut the chicken breasts in half for more even cooking and to make the shredding a bit easier.  This will need a fair amount of salt and pepper if you use low sodium broth.  We generally add additional cumin and the extra broth in step 2.  We also like to add a bit of onion powder and garlic powder in step 2.  Depending on your tastes, we prefer medium or hot chiles.

 

Regular corn tortillas pretty much disintegrate in the soup, so we prefer to use crunchy tortilla strips from the store.  These are generally either with the Mexican foods or in the salad area.  We just add them to the bowls with the cheese.  If you use these, they are a bit salty, so cut back on salt a bit.  You can use regular tortillas, but I’d recommend spraying them with some cooking spray and putting in a hot oven for a few minutes to make them crispy after cutting into strips.

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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