Posts tagged ‘Villa Creek Avenger’

Cliffs Wine Picks – April 2017 Vol 2

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger – $33.60

Avenger is my favorite wine being produced by Villa Creek.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Luna Matta, James Berry and Denner Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The open and exuberant nose has blackberries, chalky minerals, baking spices, dried leafy herbs, white pepper, vanilla beans, blueberries and a touch of underbrush.  The wine has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with blackberries, minerals and white pepper jumping out first, followed closely by dried herbs and baking spices.  The finish has nice length with vanilla and a touch of underbrush entering the picture.  This is not a lithe and nuanced wine, more of a baseball bat to the back of your head.  The wine has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with a wax covering.  (91 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard – $32.00

This was a very easy buy from Last Bottle, one of my favorite grapes, from a top notch vineyard, from one of my go-to wineries.  This was another “steal” from Last Bottle wines, my favorite “flash” wine site.  If you use the provided link and sign up, you get an immediate $10 credit and I get a credit if/when you make a purchase.  Check them out, they have awesome deals and their Marathons are always something special.

 

The wine is a deep purple color.  The inviting nose is full of crushed blackberries, dusty minerals, violets, blueberries, white pepper, road tar, dried violets and vanilla bean.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  For a Hayne Vineyard Petite Sirah this is bright and lively on your palate with crushed berries, minerals and white pepper hitting on the front end and blueberries, vanilla and dried violets coming in later.  The finish has very nice length with berries and white pepper seeming to linger forever.  This is on the young side but very easy to enjoy even at this stage in its development.  This has 13.6% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (92 pts)

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

2010 Jacob Franklin Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

 

 

 

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente – $22.00

This  was the 5th vintage of this wine made by Michael Havens (the first person to make Albarino in the New World) and Morgan Twain-Peterson.  The wine comes from two sites in the far southern part of Napa Valley.  This vintage consists of almost 60% grapes from the Watson Vineyard, which is planted in limestone.  The fruit from this vineyard adds density and perfume.  This was fermented and aged in stainless steel tank, with no malolactic.

 

The wine is a nice straw yellow color.  The invigorating nose has ripe apple, dusty minerals, lemon zest, white peach, under ripe melon and orange blossoms.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity.  On the palate apples, lemon zest and white peach take control on the front end with minerals and orange blossoms coming in later.  The finish has nice length with a bit of melon joining the apples and lemon zest.  This has great citrusy acidity with enough apple and peach to balance the tartness.  This has 13% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.  (90 pts)

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Albarino Abrente

 

 

 

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block – $38.00

This wine was not bottled in the 2009 vintage.  Most of the fruit in the previous vintage was lost due to heavy rains on October 13th.  The little fruit that was harvested went into the winery’s Sonoma County Syrah.  Thankfully the vineyard rebounded for the 2010 vintage.  For this vintage, two-thirds of the fruit was destemmed, the remainder was whole-cluster.  The wine was fermented with indigenous yeast.  The wine was aged in all French oak with 26% being new. A total of 410 cases were produced.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The vivid and bold nose is full of crushed blackberries, hot asphalt, black plums, licorice, warm baking spices, black cherries and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has a full body with moderate tannins and nice acidity.  Waves of berries and plums are joined with spice and asphalt on the front end with black cherries coming in later.  The finish has good length with a hint of eucalyptus providing nice depth.  This is a big and bold wine that needs to be paired with a hearty meal.  This has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine – $22.00

This wine is a blend of grapes mainly from the late ripening Stellwagen Vineyard as well as Casa Santinamaria which was originally slated for a vineyard designated bottling.  The remainder of the wine includes grapes from the terraced Los Chamizal Vineyard, some younger vine fruit from Rossi Ranch in Kenwood, a few barrels of Monte Rosso Zinfandel, and a bit of old-vine Carignane and Mourvedre from the winery’s Bedrock Vineyard.

 

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, black pepper, baking spices, black cherries, dry underbrush and wild flowers.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate brambly berries, black cherries, black pepper abd baking spices grab control on the front end with underbrush and a nice floral note coming in later.  The finish has nice length with berries and spice dominating.  Not as complex as earlier vintages but that’s a result of the vintage.  This is very tasty and would be a great pairing with a wide range of food.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (90 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

 

 

 

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard – $28.00

The fruit for this wine comes from the meticulously maintained Abba Vineyard owned and farmed by Phil Abba.  The vineyard is on the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA.  The winery also produces a top notch Grenache from this vineyard.  Both are well worth tracking down.

 

I tasted this wine in the vineyard with Phil Abba and winery owner/winemaker Mike McCay in late September and loved this wine.  As soon as we returned to the Lodi Wine Visitor Center, I added a couple bottles to a case I was having shipped home.

 

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, scorched earth, dusty minerals, baking spices, blueberries, dried wildflowers and white pepper.  This has medium to full body with moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate blackberries, minerals, baking spice and scorched earth grab your attention quickly on the front end with white pepper and blueberries coming in later.  The finish has great length with a nice dried floral note providing depth.  For such a young wine, this tastes great today but if you can keep your hands off it, some cellar time will be rewarded.  This is a top notch Syrah!  This has 14.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (94 pts)

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard

2014 McCay Cellars Syrah Abba Vineyard

 

 

 

 

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:

 

 

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 – May 4, 2015 to May 10, 2015

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence Russell Family Vineyard

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

 

2009 Villa Creek Avenger – $33.60

Avenger is my favorite wine being produced by Villa Creek.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Luna Matta, James Berry and Denner Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The open and exuberant nose has blackberries, chalky minerals, baking spices, dried leafy herbs, white pepper, vanilla beans, blueberries and a touch of underbrush.  The wine has a full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  The wine is rich and lush on the palate with blackberries, minerals and white pepper jumping out first, followed closely by dried herbs and baking spices.  The finish has nice length with vanilla and a touch of underbrush entering the picture.  This is not a lithe and nuanced wine, more of a baseball bat to the back of your head.  Let this one sleep for another year or two.  The wine has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork with a wax covering.  (91 pts)

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

2009 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard – $18.00

Anthill Farms likes to make a “one off” wine.  In 2005, they made a Syrah with grapes from the Windsor Oaks Vineyard that turned out so well, it was quickly made part of their lineup.  This is a classic cool climate Syrah that shows tart acidity and good savory elements.  The vineyard is only 10 miles from the coast and the grapes struggle to ripen in this area, resulting in longer “hang times”.  This is not a fruit forward, fruit driven, fruit bomb.

 

This has 14.2% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The very open and expressive nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, dried herbs, freshly cracked black pepper, dark chocolate and crushed stone minerals.  This has medium body with moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate spices and black pepper join the crushed berries on the front end with minerals and dried herbs coming in later.  The finish has very good length with dark chocolate and a candied floral note entering the picture.  This still seems to be on the young side but is opening nicely with some air.  This will easily last through the end of the decade.  (92 pts)

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

2008 Anthill Farms Syrah Windsor Oaks Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence Russell Family Vineyard – $39.50

This is one of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced.  Thus far, every one I have tried has been outstanding.  This wine is 75% Grenache and 25% Mourvedre from Paso Robles.

 

This wine has 15.7% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red, much lighter at the edge.  The very pleasing nose has blackberries, cherries, earthy underbrush, minerals, plums, baking spices, mint and some dried herbs.  The wine has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate is loaded with spicy, juicy berries, but it’s not all about the fruit, there is also nice minerality, dried herbs, and earthiness coming in on the back end adding depth and complexity.  The fairly long finish is a nice continuation of the palate with some additional baking spices, mint, licorice and dried herbs kicking into high gear.  This is on the young side, but absolutely delicious today.  (93 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence

 

 

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel – $20.00

The winery was named for the owner’s two grandmother’s, Bella and Grace.  This wine has 14.3% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a twist off cap.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has brambly berries, plums, stony minerals, scorched earth, baking spices, white pepper, cherries and dried flowers.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  Berries, plums and minerals coat the palate on the front end with white pepper and scorched earth coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a dried floral note and a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth.  This is on the young side but very tasty and easy to enjoy.  This is a winery that deserves some attention.  (90 pts)

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

2013 Bella Grace Zinfandel

 

 

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.50

A few years ago the local wine store ran this wine as an e-mail special.  It was a pretty easy decision to grab a case for well under $10 a bottle.  How often can you find a single vineyard Petite at that price?  I don’t know the specifics but according to the winery’s website this was the last vintage for the wine.  I know for a fact they made some in the 2008 vintage, since I have a case in my cellar.  At least I bought a case but I have opened a few bottles.

 

This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

 

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The very masculine nose is loaded with blackberries, fresh ground black pepper, smoke, vanilla, eucalyptus, cherries, and wild flowers.  This has a fairly full body, moderate to solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the peppery berries kick off the show with some smoke and vanilla coming in on the back end. A faint herbal note peaks out on the fairly long finish as well as some earthiness.  This tastes marvelous today and should hold for at least a couple more years.  (90 pts)

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

2007 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek

 

 

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 – Apr 13, 2015 to Apr 19, 2015

 

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard – $25.34

I grabbed a few bottles of this from the wine store a few years ago when it was offered at a great price.  This is the last bottle from that purchase and based on the quality of the wine, their asking price was an even better deal.

 

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The relaxing nose features cassis, fresh ground espresso, plums, tobacco, vanilla, dark chocolate, cedar and some eucalyptus.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Spicy fruit on the palate with just a bit of toasty oak hit first with fresh ground espresso and plums coming in on the back end.  The finish has nice length with a bit of the eucalyptus and dark chocolate making an appearance.  This will last in the cellar for a few more years but it’s hard to resist at this point in its development.  This is a very nice Napa cab for $25.  This has 14.8% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  (91 pts)

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard

2004 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin Estate Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands – $34.50

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The enticing nose is full of crushed blackberries, fresh cracked black peppercorns, blueberries, road tar, camphor, minerals, licorice, smoked meat and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate pepper laced black and blue berries grab hold immediately with minerals, licorice and smoked meat slipping in later.  The finish has good length with camphor and dark chocolate adding depth and complexity.  This has really opened up over the last couple of years and is in a nice drinking window but it should hold for several years and perhaps even improve.  This has 14.1% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.  There were a total of 155 cases produced.  (93 pts)

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands

 

 

 

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley – $16.99

This was one of the Garagiste Mystery wines.  In this case, this was the anonymous Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon that was offered for $16.99 last March.  I wasn’t familiar with the winery which left me even more intrigued.  I opened a bottle of this not long after it was delivered and enjoyed it a lot.  It’s time to try another bottle to see how it is coming along.

 

This has 14.2% alcohol by volume and is closed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Located in the world-renowned Walla Walla Valley appellation, Beresan has 27 acres of estate vineyards that we carefully manage to produce premium fruit, and in turn, great wine.  The geologic distinctiveness of our vineyards, combined with fine winemaking, is reflected in the unique character of our exclusive, limited production wines.

 

Owned and operated by the Waliser family, our mission at Beresan Winery is not only to make outstanding wine and satisfied wine consumers, but to live a dream of having a fun, successful and enduring experience with friends and family at our winery.

 

We invite you to enjoy our wines and come see us at our winery in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley.

 

For more information, visit http://beresanwines.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to garnet color. The classic nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, minerals, tobacco, Asian spices, wild flowers, dark chocolate, and a solid hit of earthy underbrush. This has a medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity. The palate has nice fruit on the front end then the dried herbs, minerals, earthiness, and spice kick into high gear dominating the mid palate and backend. The finish has decent length and again leans on the savory elements with the fruit providing a touch of needed sweetness. This is in a nice place today, but should last in the cellar for a few more years.  (90 pts)

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

2007 Beresan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Avenger – $29.75

The Avenger is my favorite wine from the Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  This is generally a full bodied, big boned, and brawny Rhone Ranger blend.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Booker Vineyard in Paso Robles.  I have been and probably will always be a big fan of this winery.  This is the last winery that I get an automatic shipment at every release and usually add on extra bottles.  In my house, there is no such thing as having too much Villa Creek in the cellar.  This wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottles is sealed with a natural cork with a wax coating.

 

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.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby red color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, graphite, incense, cherries, plums, fresh wild flowers, melted licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, crushed stones and some subtle earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, besides a load of nice fruit, there are abundant amounts of dark chocolate, pepper, vanilla, crushed stones and a floral element.  The finish is very long and highlighted by juicy, crushed berries, dark chocolate, and a some earthiness.  This still tastes young and fresh.  There is no hurry on this one, enjoy it over the rest of the decade.  (94 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

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 – Dec 29, 2014 to Jan 11, 2015

 

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

 

 

Due to ongoing unpacking and organizing from our move and the holiday season, most of these wines only have a tasting note without any other text.  These posts should return to normal next week.

 

 

 

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke – $40.00

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark purple color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, olive tapenade, minerals, wood smoke, black pepper, vanilla bean, blueberries and damp earth.  The wine has medium body with fairly resolved tannins and good acidity.  On the palate olives and berries pop out first with black pepper and damp earth coming in on the back end.  The olives and earthy elements linger on the decently long finish.  I’d advise consuming this wine over the next year, maybe two.  (88 pts)

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

2005 Copain Syrah Harrison Clarke

 

 

 

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau – $8.95

I bought several bottles of this wine at the local store at a fantastic price.  I’ve held off opening a bottle for six months, but I really want to open one.  These could probably use another 6 months to a year in the cellar, but it’s time to check in and get a read on how long before these hit their stride.

 

Winery history

Les Vignobles Foncalieu are like no other cooperative.  Their technical teams include international talents who revel in this mosaic of huge terroirs.  So it comes as no surprise to learn that Michel Bataille and the 1,200 winegrowing estate owners made the choice to produce upmarket wines.  In order to achieve excellence in terms of quality, they have invested in cutting-edge facilities.

 

IN THE VINES

Very strict vine management specifications: pruning, green harvesting, picking dates, convocation to the vine plot…

GIS (geographic information system) cartography.

Computerized plot monitoring.

High-tech ripeness tracking.

Grape analysis, segmentation and control over the harvest adapted to the product profile with Dyostem©.

 

IN THE WINERY

Creation of a vinification plan for all the vineyards, taking account of client needs and brand profiles.

Precise definition of aromatic profiles.

Full traceability process guaranteeing regularity in the quality of wines.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark ruby color.  The outstanding nose has black cherries, blackberries, minerals, dried herbs, charred meat, earthy underbrush, and violets.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  The palate has very nice fruit and dried herbs with some spice and earthy elements in the background.  The finish shows considerable promise until the tannins and acidity kick in clipping it a bit.  Give this one another year in the cellar or give it some air.  (90 pts)

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau

2009 Foncalieu Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais La Réserve du Crouzau

 

 

 

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles – $19.79

I grabbed several bottles of this wine, since a social media friend, Mark Adams, was the wine maker.  I’m glad I loaded up since the past few bottles have all been very good.  It’s always nice to get a good Cabernet for around $20.  Mark Adams is also the owner/wine maker of Ledge Vineyards and the Assistant Wine Maker for Saxum.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to maroon color.  The deep and dark nose has blackberries, cassis, cedar, dried herbs, minerals, smoke, licorice, baking spices, and violets.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine is rich and velvety on the palate with spicy fruit, dried herbs, and minerals leading the way.  The finish is fairly long with nice spicy fruit, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness.  A nice, rich, but not over the top Cabernet from Paso Robles.  (92 pts)

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles

2010 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Panjanatan Paso Robles

 

 

 

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon – $40.00

For the last few years I’ve felt Big Basin was one of the wineries to keep an eye on.  I think they are one big score away from popping onto most wine drinker’s radar.  Could they become the next Saxum?  In my opinion, the sky is the limit for this winery.

 

This is a blend of 57% Santa Cruz County Syrah and 43% Monterrey County Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The wine has 15.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

Winery history

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, with a new winery building completed in 2003.  Proprietor and wine maker Bradley Brown sources his wines from three Estate Vineyards – Rattlesnake Rock, Old Corral Block and Homestead Block.  All of the Estate vineyards are planted to Alban Selections on steep hillsides with mudstone and shale soils – 7 acres of Syrah, 2 acres of Grenache and 1 acre of Roussanne – and are farmed organically.  Additionally, Bradley works closely with Coastview Vineyard located at 2400 ft on a mountain top in the Gabilan Mountains overlooking the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay (several miles due south of Mt. Harlan).  He has contracted with the vineyard to purchase Syrah planted in 1998 and to bud over certain sections of the vineyard to Pinot Noir and Grenache (in 2008) and plant a new block to an Alban selection of Syrah.  This vineyard is also farmed organically and managed according to Bradley’s direction.  Beginning in 2006, Big Basin started making Pinot Noir sourced from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  As of 2009, Big Basin is making three different single vineyard Pinots from the Santa Cruz Mountains (Alfaro Family, Lester Family and Woodruff Family Vineyards), plus the Pinot from Coastview Vineyard in the Gabilan Mountains.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose has cassis, charred meat, vanilla, dark chocolate, minerals, blueberries, and a touch of cedar.  This has a full body, moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate this is very big, rich and plush.  Though it pushes the ripeness to the top, it does not go over.  This is loaded with fruit and savory elements on the palate with a nice tannic backbone and just enough acidity to hold it all together.  The finish is impressively long and decadent.  I don’t think I’d want to stash this in the cellar for too long, but this will offer a lot of pleasure over the next few years.  (94 pts)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Avenger – $29.75

The Avenger is my favorite wine from the Paso Robles based Villa Creek.  This is generally a full bodied, big boned, and brawny Rhone Ranger blend.  This vintage is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Grenache from the Booker Vineyard in Paso Robles.  I have been and probably will always be a big fan of this winery.  This is the last winery that I get an automatic shipment at every release and usually add on extra bottles.  In my house, there is no such thing as having too much Villa Creek in the cellar.

 

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.

 

Much more information is available on their website.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, ruby red color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, graphite, incense, cherries, plums, fresh wild flowers, melted licorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, and some subtle earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate, besides a load of nice fruit, there are abundant amounts of dark chocolate, pepper, vanilla, and a floral element.  The finish is very long and highlighted by juicy, crushed berries, dark chocolate, and a some earthiness.  This is still on the young side and improved greatly with some air.  No hurry on this one, enjoy it over the rest of the decade.  (94 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

2008 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah – $28.80

 

This wine has 13.77% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The nose is full of blackberries, crushed stone minerals, vanilla, fresh ground espresso beans, white pepper and a touch of barnyard.  This has medium to full body with good acidity and moderate to solid tannins.  On the palate blackberries, espresso beans, stony minerals and vanilla grab hold first with white pepper coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with some barnyard entering the picture.  This wine is entering a nice drinking period and can be enjoyed over the next several years.  (92 pts)

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah

 

 

 

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 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!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Sep 8, 2014 to Sep 14, 2014

 

 

2008 Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Rockpile Road Vineyard

2011 Delas Frères Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit

N.V. Locations F-2

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

2009 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Villa Creek “White”

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

N.V. Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial

 

 

 

2008 Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Rockpile Road Vineyard – $15.04

Like a lot of people, Rosenblum was my favorite Zinfandel producer for several years.  After the sale of the winery, the wines have suffered.  I don’t know if this was due to loss of the main people in the operation, bad luck, or more likely the desire of the purchases to cash in on the name quickly and recoup the cost of their investment.

 

I’ve really enjoyed wines produced from the Rockpile area for a few years and actively hunted them down.  The local wine store brought this wine in and offered it at a great price via their weekly e-mail offers.  I grabbed a case.  Unfortunately, the wine has been a disappointment the few times I’ve tried it.  One last chance to see if another years in the cellar has helped.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The fairly straight forward nose has brambly berries, vanilla, black pepper, dark bittersweet chocolate, camphor, and spicy oak.  This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine seems a touch thin and driven by the oak related elements with sweet berries coming in from the sides providing needed sweetness.  The finish is a touch short and again highlights the spicy oak and sweet berries.  For a Rosenblum wine, especially one from Rockpile, this could use a bit more extraction and depth.  A decent week night Zin to be consumed over the next couple of years.  (87 pts)

2008 Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Rockpile Road Vineyard

2008 Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Rockpile Road Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Delas Frères Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit – $10.99

This is a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Grenache.

 

This has 14% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The inviting nose has crushed berries, stony minerals, smoke, cherry pits, licorice and dried flowers.  This has medium body, moderate silky tannins and good acidity.  Crushed berries and minerals coat the palate on the front end with smoke and cherry pits coming in later.  The finish has nice length with more smoke and a dried floral note adding depth.  Not as rustic as some Côtes du Rhône wines, much smoother and easy going.  Probably not one to sit on for too long, enjoy this one over the next year or two.  (89 pts)

2011 Delas Frères Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit

2011 Delas Frères Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit

 

 

 

N.V. Locations F-2 – $15.38

Even though this is labeled as non vintage, all the grapes are from 2012. This is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and assorted Bordeaux varietals from various regions in France.

 

This has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep dark ruby to purple color.  The very open nose has blackberries, currants, dried herbs, licorice, charred wood and dried flowers.  This has a fairly full body with moderate ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate an overload of ripe fruit and spicy oak jump out first with licorice and dried herbs slipping into the picture on the back end.  The finish has good length and is very fruit driven.  This doesn’t offer much complexity but that doesn’t make it any less tasty.  This would be a big hit at a party with a platter of meats and cheeses.  (89 pts)

NV Locations F-2

NV Locations F-2

 

 

 

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.

 

This has 14.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

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

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

 

 

 

2009 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon – $9.49

This is one of the better, value priced, Cabernets out there.  This won’t rock your world, but it is generally a very nice, varietally correct, dry, structured, Cabernet that can be found for under $10.

 

This has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.

 

Winery history

 

Waterbrook Winery was founded in 1984 by Eric and Janet Rindal and is located in Washington State’s lovely Walla Walla Valley.

 

Waterbrook continues to be one of the Walla Walla Valley’s largest producers of premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Melange wines.  Production is around 35,000 cases a year.  Waterbrook was selected by the editors of Wine Spectator as one of 50 great producers every wine lover should know for smart buys.  The tasting room in downtown Walla Walla pairs fine wine with fine art, providing a destination point of distinctive style.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose features plums, cassis, dried herbs, earthy elements, baking spices, minerals, and cherries.  This has a medium body with soft tannins and good acidity.  There is a nice mix of savory and fruity elements on the palate with the savory elements up front and the fruit coming in on the back end.  Decent length on the finish which again has nice fruit, but the savory elements carry the load.  A very nice change of pace if you are tired of fruit forward California Cabernets.  (89 pts)

2009 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

2011 Villa Creek “White” – $20.80

This is one of my favorite White California Rhone Ranger wines.  This is a blend of 70% stainless steel fermented Grenache Blanc and 30% James Berry Vineyard Roussanne that was fermented in concrete and neutral oak.

 

This has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden yellow color.  The light and summery nose has melon, peach pit, minerals, white flowers, orange zest and a touch of spice.  This dry wine has medium body and very nice acidity.  On the palate melon and apricot flavors occupy the front end with some building minerality and citrus coming in on the back end.  The finish has very nice length with minerals and some spice seeming to linger forever.  This tastes very good now and will last in the cellar for a couple more years.  (90 pts)

2011 Villa Creek White

2011 Villa Creek White

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00

As anyone who has followed me on Twitter or read this blog for very long knows, Villa Creek is one on my top 5 favorite wineries.  Of all the wines offered by the winery, vintage after vintage, The Avenger is my favorite wine they produce.  This is a blend of 75% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.

 

This has 14.7% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The absolutely stunning nose has blackberries, cherries, minerals, eucalyptus, violets, Asian spices, licorice, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium to full body, moderate ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This delivers a mouthful of juicy berries and spice up front with minerals, eucalyptus, and some earthiness kicking in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with nice lingering sweet fruit, spice, and minerals.  (92 pts)

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

We paired the Avenger with a personal favorite meal from our prior life living in Texas, Chicken Fried Steak.  If properly prepared, the meat is tender and juicy with a the breading adding nice flavor and texture.  The cream gravy provides nice richness.

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak

 

 

 

N.V. Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial – $36.99

This is roughly a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay.

 

This has 12% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork Champagne stopper.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light golden straw color with very persistent, pinpoint bubbles.  The very inviting nose has baked apples, pears, lemon zest, fresh baked bread and a touch or nuttiness.  This has a light body with considerable effervescence, tart citrusy acidity and is just about bone dry.  On the palate baked apple with nutmeg and cinnamon pops out first with yeasty notes and lemon zest coming in later.  The finish is crisp with a touch of nuttiness joining the yeasty notes and lemon zest.  This is very easy to sip while just sitting back and relaxing.  (89 pts)

Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial

Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial

 

 

 

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 2014 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 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!

 

Cliffs Wine Picks – Aug 18, 2014 to Aug 24, 2014

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2007 Core Ground Around

N.V. Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

 

 

 

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard – $19.94

The owner/winemaker is Cody Wright, the son of well known and popular Oregon winemaker/owner Ken Wright.  This was a new winery to me when the local wine store had an e-mail special on the wine.  In my opinion, any time you can get hold of a good Pinot Noir for under $20, you buy.

 

The wine has 13.5% alcohol and is sealed with a twist off closure.

 

Winery history

Purple Hands winery strives for the expression of genuine inherent terroir of soil and grape.  We search for ideal moments of ripeness and complexity balanced with authentic strength of soil character.

 

Our wines are windows into dynamic breadths of terroir, extracting and unlocking a code of sweet and savory from our rich Oregon soil.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright red color with a slight ruby tint.  The soft and nuanced nose has black cherries, raspberries, fresh flowers, baking spices and subtle earthiness.  This is medium body at most, with racy acidity, and soft but persistent tannins.  The silky palate has tart, juicy fruit, spice, and a bit of earthiness which carries through on the slightly short finish.  This is a nice, light weight style of Pinot with juicy acidity and a touch of earthiness and spice to balance out the fruit.  This is a nice change up from the broad shouldered California Pinots.  (90 pts)

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2010 Purple Hands Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

 

 

 

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $18.00

This vintage uses Zinfandel grapes from Russian River Valley 44%, Sonoma Valley 24% Dry Creek Valley 17%.  15% Petite Sirah was blended in for structure and complexity.  There were 390 cases produced.

 

This has 15.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The deep and dark nose has brambly berries, black pepper, melted licorice, dried herbs, cedar, tobacco, earthy underbrush, dried flowers and dark chocolate.  This has a full body with solid tannins and good acidity.  Spicy, peppery berries coat the palate with dried herbs and earthy elements coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with more black pepper and berries seeming to linger forever.  This does show a touch of alcohol on the nose and on the finish but it is barely noticeable and does not detract from the overall experience.  (90 pts)

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County

 

 

 

2007 Villa Creek Avenger – $35.00

As anyone who has followed me on Twitter or read this blog for very long knows, Villa Creek is one on my top 5 favorite wineries.  Of all the wines offered by the winery, vintage after vintage, The Avenger is my favorite wine they produce.  This is a blend of 75% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 10% Grenache.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The absolutely stunning nose has blackberries, cherries, minerals, eucalyptus, violets, Asian spices, licorice, and a touch of earthiness.  This has medium to full body, moderate ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This delivers a mouthful of juicy berries and spice up front with minerals, eucalyptus, and some earthiness kicking in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with nice lingering sweet fruit, spice, and minerals.  (92 pts)

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

2007 Villa Creek Avenger

 

 

 

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard – $45.00

Loring produces some of my favorite Pinot Noirs made in California and their wine from the Clos Pepe Vineyard is one of my favorite they produce.  To me, this wine always has the rich and lush fruit that is the “house style” for Loring wines and has plenty of acidity and tannins to support the body and depth usually in this wine.  For a wine of this quality, the price actually represents a nice value for a higher end, single vineyard, Pinot from California.

 

Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The very nice nose has cherries, baking spices, raspberries, underbrush, minerals, licorice and a touch of smoke.  This has medium to full body, moderate, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and lush with juicy fruit but with plenty of savory elements adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is long and very flavorful with the fruit, spice, and subtle earthiness lingering seemingly forever.  This is outstanding today, but will last at least a few more years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

2009 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard

 

 

 

2007 Core Ground Around – $20.59

Core is quickly becoming one of my “go to” wineries when I want something a little different.  Dave Corey is making several straight varietal wines that are outstanding, but he shines with his blends, like this one.  Most of these blends are along the standard lines like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, but they also make unique and distinctive blends.  This wine is a blend of predominantly Tempranillo with Grenache and Syrah.  Even the Tempranillo isn’t from one single vineyard; it comes from two separate vineyards, Santa Barbara Highlands and Laetitia Vineyards.

 

This is a blend of 41% Tempranillo from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, 23% Tempranillo from Laetitia Vineyard, 18% Grenache from Alta Mesa Vineyard and 18% Syrah from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard.

 

This wine has 14.9% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

The Winery

Dave Corey’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in Entomology and Plant Physiology from Kansas State University, which was completed in 1995. Prior to entering the wine industry in 1996 , Dave worked in Salinas and the Central Valley in agricultural fields including cole crops, cotton, almonds, citrus, walnuts, kiwi, table grapes, apples and stone fruit. His first position in the wine industry was as a Pest Control Advisor with Cambria Winery and Vineyards and later at Kendall-Jackson Vineyards of Santa Barbara County.

 

Dave left Kendall Jackson Vineyards in 1999 to begin Vital Vines, a viticultural company providing technical support for vineyard property owners, vineyard managers and winemaking personnel in the promotion of sustainable agriculture. He has worked with clients that include Laetitia, Barnwood, Beckman, Melville, Stolpman, Gainey, Zaca Mesa, Sea Smoke, Le Bon Climat, Sine Qua Non, Rideau, Carhartt, Rusack, Westerly, Fiddlestix, Vogelzang, Andrew Murray, Evergreen, Arita Hills and Royal Oaks.

 

With a major commitment and a second mortgage, Dave gradually decreased his vineyard consulting work to focus on vineyard sourcing, winemaking duties and winery direct sales for CORE wine company which he started in 2001 with his wife, Becky. Dave passionately continues working in the same capacity today in addition to several new wine projects with family members. He can also be found pouring wine for customers at the CORE wine company tasting room in Old Orcutt, California.

 

Much more information about Dave, the winery and their wines is available on their website by clicking here.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep garnet color.  The inviting nose has blackberries, dried cherries, dusty minerals, warm baking spices, licorice, dried herbs, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, eucalyptus and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium to full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate nice blackberry and cherry supply good sweetness up front with the minerals, spice, licorice and coffee coming in later, adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long with the fruit and spice carrying the load with the eucalyptus making a nice closing appearance.  This still tastes young and may improve down the road.  (91 pts)

2007 Core Ground Around

2007 Core Ground Around

 

 

 

N.V. Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut – $29.99

Over the last year we’ve gone from not really being big bubbly fans to actively building a nice collection in the cellar.  This wine is a total unknown, I grabbed a couple bottles from a Garagiste Wine offer but there are no Cellar Tracker notes on the wine.

 

This wine is a blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.

 

This has 12.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with the usual sparkling wine natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color with abundant persistent pinpoint bubbles.  The very enticing nose has green apples, freshly baked biscuits, minerals, lemon zest and orange blossoms.  Tart apples, minerals and lemon zest grab hold initially, slowly allowing yeasty notes and a floral element to slip into the picture.  The finish has good length and leaves your mouth watering for another sip.  (90 pts)

Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

Nicolas Maillart Champagne Marie-Hanze Eaux Belle Brut

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $39.00

Morgan sources the grapes for this wine from the same block his father used for his sought after Ravenswood Monte Rosso Zin.  This famous vineyard on the Sonoma side of Mt Veeder was planted in 1886.

 

This wine was fermented via native yeasts and was aged in 35% new French oak from four Burgundian coopers.

 

This wine has 14.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The intoxicating nose has brambly berries, plums, dark chocolate, dusty minerals, black pepper, dried herbs, dried wildflowers and a hint of eucalyptus.  This has full body, moderate to solid tannins, a creamy texture and good acidity.  Berries, plums and minerals thoroughly coat your palate slowly allowing black pepper and dried herbs to enter the picture.  The long, lingering finish adds a dried floral note as well as a touch of eucalyptus.  For such a young wine, this is drinking marvelously right now.  This one can be opened now or left in the cellar for a decade.  (94 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.00

I joined the Bedrock mailing list a few years ago to get access to the red wines they were producing.  Even though I really like those reds, I love their white wines.  In my opinion, Morgan Twain-Peterson is currently producing some of the best white wines coming out of California and selling them at killer prices.

 

The wine has 13.4% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright straw color with glints of green and gold.  The nose is a fresh and refreshing, full of apples, white peaches, stony minerals, citrus zest, eucalyptus, fresh cut grass, with a nice floral note.  This is light to medium body with crisp, citrusy acidity.  This is bright and very lively with the fruit, citrus, and herbal notes taking turns enticing the palate.  The finish is fairly long with the eucalyptus making an appearance to lend a savory element to the fruit and citrus.  This is in a real nice place right now, but should hold for another year, maybe longer.  (92 pts)

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch

 

 

 

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.

 

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Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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 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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