Posts tagged ‘Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast’

Cliffs Wine Picks – April 2017 Vol 4

 

2014 La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey

2012 Gabriel Meffre Châteauneuf-du-Pape Laurus

2014 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2012 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey – $15.99

This is 100% Pinot Noir from the Monterey appellation in California.  After a three day cold soak, the grapes were “punched down” three times a day during fermentation.  After fermentation was completed the wine was aged for 8 months in 100% French oak barrels, 17% being new.  After aging, the barrels were blended and bottled.

 

The wine is a bright ruby red color.  The comforting nose has black cherries, flinty minerals, forest floor, cola, tart red cherries and baking spices.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate black cherries, minerals and baking spices come out on the front end with forest floor and a touch of cola coming in later.  The finish has nice length with tart cherries providing some needed depth.  Not a lot of complexity but that doesn’t make it less tasty.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.  (88 pts)

2014 La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey

2014 La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey

 

 

 

2012 Gabriel Meffre Châteauneuf-du-Pape Laurus

This was a gift from friends.  Thanks again Charlie & Kristin!

 

In this vintage, this is a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah.  The Syrah vines average 40 years and the Grenache vines are 80 years old.  After fermentation, the wine was aged for 17 months in 275 liter barrels.  The barrels were a mix of one, two and three years old.

 

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The hypnotic nose has blackberries, leather, white pepper, scorched earth, licorice and cocoa powder.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, white pepper and leather come out on the front end with scorched earth, cocoa powder and licorice coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with the savory notes stealing the show.  This is drinking very nicely now but a bit more cellar time will be rewarded.  This has 14.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2012 Gabriel Meffre Châteauneuf-du-Pape Laurus

2012 Gabriel Meffre Châteauneuf-du-Pape Laurus

 

 

 

2014 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast – $22.99

This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from several parcels in Australia’s McLaren Vale region.  The different lots were fermented separately and average 14 days of skin contact.  After fermentation, the wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels with 15% being new Taransaud French oak.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The impressive nose has cassis, blackberries, baking spices, roasted herbs, white pepper, licorice, vanilla bean and a touch of cedar.  This has a full body with soft to moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the fruit and spice grab control immediately with roasted herbs and cedar slipping in later.  The finish has nice length with a touch of vanilla bean coming in.  This is a bit soft so I’d drink this one young.  Not a great vintage for this usually dependable wine.  This has 13.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (87 pts)

2014 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

2014 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

2012 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard – $46.00

This wine is a blend of three Pinot Noir clones, 115, 667, 777.  The wine was aged for 10 months in 100% French oak, 33% new.

 

The wine is a dark ruby red color.  The voluptuous nose is full of black cherries, plums, flinty minerals, black tea leaves, dried wildflowers, blueberries, white pepper and dry earth.  This has a full body with moderate silky tannins and nice acidity.  On the palate waves of fruit and white pepper quickly take control with tea leaves and dried flowers coming in later.  The finish has very good length with blueberries and dry earth providing great depth.  As always, Brian provides his unique interpretation of the Pinot Noir grape.  I know his style turns off some of the purists, but personally, I love his wines…in moderation.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (93 pts)

2012 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2012 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

 

 

 

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast – $16.31

Courtney Benham is a division of Martin Ray Winery.  Courtney Benham Wines are limited release for special offer to their wine club members but obviously some make it into the hands of the Total Wine stores since I can buy these reasonably priced wines at my local store.

 

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The relaxing nose has black cherries, dry underbrush, white pepper, licorice, Asian spices and wild flowers.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate black cherries, underbrush and white pepper come through on the front end with spices and a floral note coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a black tea note providing some depth.  This doesn’t offer a lot of complexity but it is an easy to drink Pinot at a very attractive price.  This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (88 pts)

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast

2014 Courtney Benham Pinot Noir Central Coast

 

 

 

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard – $16.99

I’ve been a fan of St Amant Winery zinfandels for several years.  It was great visiting with the Stuart Spencer, the winemaker for St Amant as well as Jerry Fry, the owner/grower at this vineyard during a recent trip to Lodi.  Even though I’ve loved past vintages of this wine, I think this is their best effort to date.  I’m extremely fortunate to have a Total Wine store in the area that carries this wine so I always have a few bottles in my cellar.  If you live near a Total Wine, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle of this wine on your next shopping trip.

 

The wine is a dark ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has brambly berries, dusty minerals, licorice, black pepper, cherries, charred underbrush, violets and a hint of mint.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, minerals and black pepper quickly take control with underbrush and cherries slipping through on the back end.  The finish has very good length with a nice floral note and just a hint of mint adding good depth.  This is drinking very nicely now with some air but some cellar time will be rewarded.  This has great balance and is easy to enjoy.  A great effort.  This has 15.5% alcohol, which was a surprise to me, not a trace shows through any where.  The bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (93 pts)

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

2014 St. Amant Winery Zinfandel Old Vines Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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!

 

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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

 

 

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!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Sep 9, 2013 to Sep 12, 2013

 

 

2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen’s Big Boy Blend

2010 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah – $15.67

This is generally a good California Syrah at a wallet friendly price.  In some vintages it seems to have that little something extra that propels it to the next level.  In my opinion, 2006 was one of those years.  I bought a half case of this from my local store and after killing two bottles fairly quickly, I’ve been showing some unusual restraint.  Even with the restraint, I’ll only have one bottle left after popping this one.  I have the 2007 in the cellar, but based on the one bottle I had upon release, it dropped back into the merely good category.

 

Winery history

The original property was purchased in 1972 by a group of friends and they started planting the vineyard in 1973.  With few other vineyards in the area to learn from, the vineyard was originally planted with numerous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Chardonnay, and Syrah to see what would work.

 

As the vineyard came into production, a winery was built on the property in 1978 and later expanded in 1981.  1978 was another milestone for Zaca Mesa, planting the first Syrah in Santa Barbara County.

 

By the early-1990’s, we had determined based on our farming experience that the Rhône varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, and Roussanne) grew best on our property.

 

As one of the pioneers in the Santa Barbara County, Zaca Mesa was a training ground for many.  Ken Brown was our first winemaker and later started Byron in Santa Maria Valley.  Adam Tolmach, Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist worked at Zaca Mesa before venturing out on their own to start Ojai, Au Bon Climat and Qupé, respectively.

 

Zaca Mesa was the first Central Coast winery to appear in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 back in 1995.  A year later, our Syrah was served by President Clinton to French President Jacque Chirac at a White House State Dinner.  To show that we are not leaning one direction, our wines were also served at President Reagan’s 80th birthday party at the Beverly Hilton.

 

Since 1997, we have focused on growing the best Syrah, Viognier, and other Rhône varieties.  We have ripped up over half the original vines, replacing them with high-density planting of new rootstock and clone combinations that has significantly improved our quality.  We now have 9 clones of syrah and the most high density vineyard acres in the county.

 

Over time the ownership group diminished to one of the original partners.   Zaca Mesa has been family owned for almost 25 years.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color. The outstanding nose has blackberries, licorice, smoked meat, black pepper, vanilla, plums, violets, dried herbs, and a bit of dark chocolate. This is fairly full bodied with solid tannins and very nice acidity. On the palate the peppery berries lead the way with some chocolaty oak and dried herbs in the background adding depth and complexity. The finish features nice fruit leading to dark chocolate and dried herbs, but it could be a touch longer. An outstanding week night Syrah for well under $20.  (90 pts)

2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills – $25.00

In my opinion, the Loring appellation wines are some of the best bargains out there when it comes to quality California Pinot Noir.  The Loring appellation wines are, at least to me, dialed down a notch compared to their single vineyard siblings.  This and the lower prices, under $25 make them a nice way to kick up a week night dinner several notches without breaking the bank.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The very enticing nose has raspberries, cherries, baking spices, cola, and some nice earthiness.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich but reigned in and it stays in focus.  The finish is fairly long with a nice blend of fruit and savory elements.  This shows nice balance and the closing acidity provides very nice lift.  This is a great value for the price.  (90 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills

 

 

 

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen’s Big Boy Blend – $28.49

The local store brought in a couple cases of this wine and put it on the shelf at a blow out price.  I was happy to relieve them of several bottles.  I know this is on the extremely young side, but I wanted to open one to set a baseline on the wine.

 

This is a blend of 100% Syrah, from the Greywacke Vineyard (Russian River Valley) and the Ray Teldeschi Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley), that spent 17 months in 40% new French oak.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The deep and dark nose is full of smoke, blackberries, charcoal, minerals, melted licorice, black olives, tobacco, and roasted herbs.  This has full body, solid tannins, and nice acidity.  On the palate a boat load of peppery berries, smoke and minerals grab hold and slowly relents enough for some roasted herbs to slip through.  The finish has very nice length but gets slightly clipped when the tannins and acidity kick in.  Let this beast sleep for a couple of years and you’ll be well rewarded for the patience.  (93 pts)

2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Syrah Kalen's Big Boy Blend

 

 

 

2010 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast – $28.49

The Two Hands line of wines are a favorite in my house.  This will be my first Two Hands Cabernet since all past bottles have been Shiraz, Grenache, or blends.  I was able to grab a couple bottles of this at a close out sale at the local wine store.  I’m looking forward to seeing (tasting) what Michael Twelftree can do with Cabernet.

 

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 deep, dark maroon color. The outstanding nose features blackberries, black plums, Asian spices, black pepper, melted licorice, eucalyptus, earthy elements, and vanilla. This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very nice acidity. On the mouth filling palate, loads of fruit and spice fill the mouth with a solid wall of unrelenting flavor right through the long, lingering finish. This is a big, flavor filled wine that has enough tannin and acidity to deftly hold everything together. Not a delicate and nuanced wine. This is a love it or hate it wine, I’m on the love it side.  (92 pts)

2010 Two Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Sexy Beast

 

 

 

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 2013 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

 

 

 

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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!

 

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