Posts tagged ‘Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva’

Cliffs Wine Picks – June 2017 Vol 2

 

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

2001 Boroli Barolo

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir – $22.40

This 100% Pinot Noir is a blend of 56% Carneros and 44% Russian River Valley.  The wine was aged for 12 months in 100% French oak, 30% new.

 

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The slightly shy nose has cherries, baking spices, white pepper, tobacco and dry underbrush.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  This is much more open on the palate with cherries, white pepper and minerals on the front end with tobacco and baking spices coming in later.  The finish has decent length with cranberries and dry underbrush entering the picture.  This wine has 14.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir

2013 Cosa Obra Pinot Noir

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35

Total production was 8 barrels.  This is a blend of 88% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The big and bold nose is full of blackberries, blueberries, baking spices, dying wood embers, dark chocolate, dried violets and dusty minerals.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate layers of fruit, spice and minerals jump out on the front end with wood embers and dark chocolate coming in later.  The finish has great length with a nice dried floral note adding some depth.  This is a big, bold and rich wine that needs a hearty meal.  This is now in a prime drinking window that should last another 4 or 5 years.  What this wine lacks in subtlety it makes up for in taste.  This has 15.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

 

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine – $14.84

This wine is a blend of Zinfandel from 16 different vineyard blocks.  The vines have an average age of 86 years.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, licorice, plums, black pepper, dry earth and a touch of spicy oak.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, black pepper and dry earth jump out on the front end with plums and licorice coming in later.  The finish has nice length with some spicy oak providing depth.  A textbook big zinfandel with sweet fruit and peppery spice that is easy to drink but doesn’t offer much complexity.  This has 15.4% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (89 pts)

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

2014 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

 

2001 Boroli Barolo – $32.99

This 100% Nebbiolo comes from vineyards in the territory of Castiglione Falletto, in the heart of the Langhe and the Barolo area.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color with some bricking at the edge.  The sensuous nose has black cherries, eucalyptus, cedar, tobacco, leather, dusty minerals, dry underbrush, dried roses, road tar and baking spices.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate black cherries, cedar, tobacco and dried underbrush come through on the front end with spices, tar and leather coming in later.  The finish has very good length with a dried floral note and a hint of eucalyptus providing depth.  This is drinking marvelously today and should hold for a few more years.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2001 Boroli Barolo

2001 Boroli Barolo

 

 

 

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $15.09

This wine is a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Alicante and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The vines are an average of 10 years old.

 

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The appealing nose has cherries, scorched earth, underbrush, white pepper, mushrooms and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate cherries, underbrush and dry earth jump out on the front end with white pepper and roasted mushrooms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note providing some depth.  This tastes very nice today but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2012 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard – $46.00

If you follow this blog, you already know I’m a big fan of Brian Loring’s wines.  His Rosella’s Vineyard is generally my second favorite wine behind the Clos Pepe wines.  These are generally made in a bigger riper style, very Californian.  If you’re looking for a Burgundian style of wine, look elsewhere.  If you are looking for a rich and flavorful Pinot Noir, welcome home.

 

The wine is a nice deep garnet red color.  The easy to enjoy nose has black raspberries, black cherries, crushed stone minerals, wild flowers, baking spices, earthy underbrush and a touch of mint.  This has medium to full body, soft to moderate ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy dark fruit and some earthiness hit first, followed by minerals and a hint of mint.  The finish has great length and full of nicely layered fruit, spice and earthiness.  This wine is in its’ prime drinking window now and should hold for a couple years.  This has 14.9% alcohol by volume and is closed with a twist off cap.  (94 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard

 

 

 

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  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:

 

 

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 – January 2017 Vol 2

 

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Villa Creek Avenger

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

 

 

 

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte – $21.99

This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  The wine is aged for 12 months in two year old barrels and oak casks.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very inviting nose has blackberries, raspberries, dusty minerals, dried herbs, white pepper, scorched earth and dried wild flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate berries, minerals and white pepper jump out on the front end with dried herbs and scorched earth coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note providing adding depth.  This is drinking very nicely right now and it should hold through at least the end of the decade.  I really liked this one.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made closure.  (91 pts)

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte

2011 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte

 

 

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $14.84

This is a wine I always keep in the cellar for pizza and pasta nights.  I always grab a few bottles when I visit the local Total Wine when I can get it for under $15 with any frequent buyer sales or coupons.

 

The wine is a light ruby red color.  The very enjoyable nose has cherries, dusty minerals, dry underbrush, spices, white pepper and wild flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate cherries, minerals and spics jump out quickly with underbrush and white pepper coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with a floral note providing depth.  This is very food friendly and young.  This will improve with some cellar time and last for a decade.  This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2011 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

2010 Villa Creek Avenger – $36.00

This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.  There were 400 cases produced.

 

Some technical stuff from the winery:

Avenger is always Syrah based, but this wine is reminiscent of some of the first vintages of Avenger with its higher percentage of Mourvèdre.  Luna Matta Syrah is the backbone of this vintage.  Mourvèdre grapes come from Denner, James Berry and Luna Matta.  The Syrah was fermented 50% whole cluster and aged in 30% new French barriques.  The Mourvèdre was fermented without stems and aged in second fill French puncheons.  The Denner Grenache was destemmed and aged in neutral puncheons.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose is full of crushed berries, white pepper, crushed stone minerals, underbrush, licorice, baking spices, black cherries and wild flowers.  This has a full body with moderate tanning and nice acidity.  On the palate the crushed berries, white pepper and crushed stones grab hold and take control early with cherries, baking spices and earthy underbrush slipping in on the back end.  The finish is long and nicely layered.  The 15.2% alcohol is buried behind the wall of berries and spice and doesn’t poke through at any time.  This is drinking very nicely now with some air but will last in the cellar through the end of the decade, probably longer.  This has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a wax covered natural cork.  (93 pts)

2010 Villa Creek Avenger

2010 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County – $14.44

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The interesting nose has black cherries, forest floor, eucalyptus, white pepper, roasted leafy herbs, cranberries and chalky minerals.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate cherries, forest floor, white pepper and roasted herbs pop out on the front end with cranberries and minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a hint of eucalyptus providing some depth.  At this time the wine doesn’t show a lot of complexity, perhaps some cellar time will allow some depth and complexity to develop.  None the less, this is a nice Pinot for under $15.  This has 13.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (87 pts)

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County

2015 River Road Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County

 

 

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve – $29.29

This was picked up at a Last Bottle Marathon, always a great source for special wines at every day prices.  See below for information on the site and a discount on your first purchase.

 

I can’t find, with 100% confidence, the exact blend of grapes for this wine but it appears to be 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.  I should note, I have even seen this noted as 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.  This means, your guess is as good as mine.

 

This is a light golden straw color with a steady stream of pinpoint sized, persistent bubbles.  The festive nose has tart apples, lemon zest, stony minerals, toasted yeasty bread, orange blossoms, white peach and a hint of berries.  This has light to medium body with great effervescence, crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness.  On the palate apples, minerals, orange blossoms and lemon zest quickly take control with a hint of white peach and berries slipping in on the back end.  The finish has good length and is crisp and clean thanks to lemony acidity.  This is a joy to sip on its’ own or with a light meal.  This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a standard Champagne cork.  (92 pts)

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve

Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve

 

 

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache – $17.50

This is one of my favorite “new wineries”.  They are well worth your time to check them out on their website.

 

The wine is a garnet red color.  The inviting nose has cherries, white pepper, dusty minerals, licorice, baking spices, scorched earth and dried herbs.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate mineral laden cherries, white pepper and baking spices grab hold immediately with scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried herbs, white pepper and minerals pushing the fruit into the background…in a good way.  This tastes very good today and should hold through the end of the decade.  This has very good balance and it will pair nicely with a variety of meals.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

2012 BellaGrace Vineyards Grenache

 

 

 

last-bottle

 

I am a big fan of the “Flash Wine Sale” site Last Bottle.  You probably noticed some of the wines in this post were purchased from the site.  All of these wines were purchased 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 – Jan 12, 2015 to Jan 18, 2015

 

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2011 Exitus

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

 

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva – $13.59

This was an unfamiliar wine when I saw it on the shelf at a local wine store.  Since I had a coupon worth 20% off on “old world” wine and we always seem to be low on Italian wines, I had to grab a bottle.  Since the bottle already had a couple years of age “under its belt”, I’m hoping it’s good to go.  This wine is 90% Sangiovese, 5% Alicante, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dull ruby color with some bricking at the edge.  The pleasurable nose has cherries, dusty minerals, baking spices, underbrush, roasted herbs, vanilla bean and dried violets.  This has medium body with very good acidity and just a touch of tannins.  On the palate cherry and dusty minerals grab hold first, slowly allowing spices and roasted herbs to slip into the picture.  The finish has good length with some underbrush and a touch of dark chocolate coming in late.  This was a steal at well under $15.  (92 pts)

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

2006 Terre di Talamo Morellino di Scansano Tempo Riserva

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $32.99

In July 2012, the store where we used to live brought this in at a great price, under $25 a bottle.  Those bottles are long gone, but when I saw this on the shelf of a store near our new home, I had to grab a bottle even though the cost was not as low.  Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries so it was nice to open something I knew she would appreciate.

 

Gnarly Dudes is made with fruit sourced from mature vineyards from the Barossa’s western ranges.

 

The lots making up this wine were crushed into and fermented in 3, 5, 7 and 10 ton open top vessels.  Three daily pump overs were performed during the peak of fermentation to extract flavor, color and tannins.  The batches were drained and pressed to tank, then racked to barrel for oak maturation where malolactic fermentation occurred.  All batches were kept separate and blended just prior to bottling.  The wine was aged 14 months in hogsheads, 11% new French oak with the balance in 1 to 4 year old French oak

 

This wine has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

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

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard – $33.60

This wine is 100% Grenache from the Denner Vineyard in Paso Robles.

 

This is the first year Villa Creek used concrete vats for a portion of the Grenache, which was fermented with 50% whole clusters. The other two lots were fermented in steel and aged in 500 liter barrels, 50% new.

 

The wine has 15.2% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with wax coating.  There were 360 cases produced.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color with a ruby tint.  The sensuous nose has ripe cherries, crushed stone minerals, plums, licorice, dried herbs, dried flowers and a touch of scorched earth.  This has medium to full body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the ripe cherries and stony minerals jump out quickly with dried herbs and dried earth coming in later.  The finish is long and lingering with licorice and a nice floral note entering the picture and adding good depth.  This is very easy to drink now and should provide plenty of pleasure over the next couple of years.  (93 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

2009 Villa Creek Garnacha Denner Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast – $39.99

Two Hands is one of my wife’s favorite wineries so I have to grab a bottle or two any time I see them on a store’s shelf.  I bought this bottle at the same time I grabbed the Gnarly Dudes also on this post.

 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s McLaren Vale region.

 

The lots that went into this wine were crushed into and fermented in open top vessels.  There were three daily pump overs to extract flavors, color and tannins.  The average time ‘on skins’ was 14 days.  The batches were then drained and pressed to tank and then racked to barrel for oak maturation.  The wine was aged 14 months in hogsheads: 12% new French oak, balance in one to four year old French oak.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The relaxing nose has ripe cassis, licorice, baking spices, pencil shavings and a hint of roasted herbs.  This has a medium to full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  Ripe, rich fruit and spice coat the palate on the front end with a bit of roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has good length with pencil shavings and a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  This wine is very easy to drink and enjoy.  (90 pts)

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2011 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

2011 Exitus – $9.49

A local wine store had this opened for a tasting.  The wine had a suggested price of $25.99, which far exceeded its value.  To me the wine was simply an easy drinking wine to enjoy with friends at the end of an evening.  For their event price of $9.99, the wine seemed to be fairly priced, so I grabbed a couple bottles.

 

This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah from Monterey, 31% Merlot from Monterey and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon from California.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle was sealed with an artificial cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine was a deep ruby to purple color.  The comforting nose has blackberries, roasted herbs, cherries, white pepper, licorice and subtle earthiness.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate ripe fruit and spice jump out first with roasted herbs coming in later.  The finish has decent length with a touch of earthiness entering the picture.  The wine leaves a slightly sweet final impression on the palate.  (87 pts)

2011 Exitus

2011 Exitus

 

 

 

2007 Ridge Geyserville – $23.74

I always have a hard time choosing a favorite between the Ridge Lytton Springs and the Ridge Geyserville wines.  Both are zinfandel based blends but since Zinfandel generally constitutes less than 75% of the blend, they aren’t labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 58% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 18% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).  This wine is disappearing from my cellar at a fairly fast rate of speed, of the 15 bottles I originally purchased; I now have less than half remaining.

 

The alcohol is listed at 14.4% and this uses a natural cork closure.

 

Winery history

The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge.  He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892.  This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility.  At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard.”

 

In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s.  From these vines — now the “middle vineyard”— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of “estate” cabernet.  That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California’s finest wines of the era.  Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and ’61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage.

 

The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge.  This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel.  The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres.  Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity.  By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership.  A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist.  His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward “hands off” approach pioneered at Ridge.  Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established.  Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage.  Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.

 

Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991.  A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground.  Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals.  Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology.  Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The very enticing nose has brambly berries, cherry, black pepper, licorice, warm baking spices, charred meat, forest floor, and a touch of vanilla.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  The palate has nice up front fruit and spice with more spice, licorice, and meaty elements coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with spice laden fruit slowly giving way to more earthy elements that seem to linger forever.  This is in a very nice drinking window and should hold for at least a few more years.  (92 pts)

2007 Ridge Geyserville

2007 Ridge Geyserville

 

 

I decided to try something different to pair with the Ridge Geyserville.  I have a pellet grill that I use to smoke meat and decided to see how a chicken would turn out.  I started with a five to six pound whole fryer.  After brining it overnight in water with kosher salt and brown sugar, I rinsed it off with cold water, patted it dry and coated it with my spice rub.  The bird then went into the pellet grill for 6 hours at 180 degrees.  For the last hour, I upped the temperature to 225.

Chicken - Before

 

Here is the finished chicken.  It was very tender and extremely juicy with just a touch of spice from the dry rub and it had a very nice smoky aroma and taste.  The chick and the wine worked very nicely together.

Chicken - After

 

 

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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 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!

 

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