Posts tagged ‘Villa Creek’

Cliffs Wine Picks – Sep 27, 2013 to Sep 29, 2013

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Vulture’s Post

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré

2003 Château Bellevue St. Émilion Grand Cru

 

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Vulture’s Post – $40.00

This wine is a blend of 80% Denner Mourvèdre, 15% James Berry Syrah and 5% Denner Grenache.  This in my last bottle out of 7 purchased between 11/08 and 10/09.  I bought a couple bottles and had to do a reload as soon as I opened the first bottle.  Luckily the winery still had a couple lingering bottles during their next release, so I very happily adopted them and kept them safe in my wine cellar.

 

I love the innovative blends coming out of Villa Creek’s Paso Robles based winery.

 

The alcohol for the wine is listed at15.6% and the wine is closed with a twist off Stelvin Lux+ closure.  I think these are the nicest looking twist off closures since this style does not have visible external threads.

 

Winery Comments

The sights and aromas of fall are what this wine is all about; vulture’s airing their wings after the first fall rain, lamb shanks braising with the last tomatoes of the season and home baked bread.  Mourvèdre from Denner Vineyard stars in this meaty, savory and fruit forward blend.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep maroon color.  The big and bold nose has blackberries, cherries, licorice, charred meat, roasted herbs, plums, road tar, violets, and earthy underbrush.  This full bodied wine has moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there is very nice balance between the fruit and savory elements but a touch of the alcohol is starting to poke out on the back end.  The finish has very good length but again is showing a touch of alcohol.  The fruit has faded a touch over the last year so the once concealed alcohol is making an appearance.  This is still very enjoyable but probably needs to be consumed over the next year before the alcohol takes over.  (90 pts)

2006 Villa Creek Vulture's Post

 

 

 

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigré – $29.88

Emigré is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Muscadelle harvested from four vineyards, two in cool climates, Greenock and Eden Valley, and the other two from the northern Barossa Valley.  Wines from The Colonial Estate don’t come cheap.  Their lower end wines start at $30.  This is one of their higher end wines and has a release price around $90.  I’ve been lucky in the past (and this time too) to find their wines either on a clearance sale or via Garagiste for under $30.  If you ever have the chance to get a bottle of this wine or either the Exile Cabernet or Shiraz at a great price, grab a bottle, it will bring a smile to your face.

 

This wine has 14.5% alcohol and is closed with a natural cork.

 

Winery Information

The Colonial Estate is a range of limited-production Australian wines with an old world approach.  The fruit is hand picked and carefully selected; the reds receive cold pre-maceration, fermentation, pressing and maceration on skins prior to ageing in French oak; whilst the whites get whole-bunch pressing, lees stirring and are fermented with naturally occurring yeasts.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The fully open and inviting nose has cherries, blackberries, minerals, Asian spices, fresh ground dark roast coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, dried herbs, wild flowers, and scorched earth.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the big fruit component is matched stride for stride by dusty minerals, dark chocolate, dried herbs, and dark roast coffee, with a meaty element coming in on the back end.  The finish is long with minerals, charred meat, and dried herbs adding a great dimension to the mixed fruits.  This seems to be entering its prime time drinking window.  This is big and bold but not an overly ripe, syrupy style of wine.  (94 pts)

2006 The Colonial Estate Emigre

 

 

 

2003 Château Bellevue St. Émilion Grand Cru – $29.74

The small, 6 hectare, vineyards of Château Bellevue border those of three 1er grand cru classé properties: Angelus, Beausejour-Bécot and Bausejour Dufau-Lagarosse, on the limestone plateau slopes to the west of the town.  For 300 years, the estate was owned by the Lacaze family – it is said the anti-Revolutionary Girondin Gaston Lacaze took refuge here during the French Revolution – but in 1938 was sold to the de Conink and Pradel de Lavaux families of négociants Horeau Beylot.  Today, the Pradel de Lavauxs share ownership with the owners of Château Angélus.

 

The vineyards are planted to about 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.  In this vintage, the wine is about 90% Merlot, the remainder Cabernet Franc.

 

The alcohol is listed at 13.5% and this uses a natural cork closure.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep ruby red color.  The hypnotic nose has cherries, dried leafy herbs, fresh ground dark roast coffee, cedar, tobacco, cassis, dark bittersweet chocolate, baking spices and violets.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there is a nice mix of the fruit and savory elements, with the fruit providing nice sweetness especially on the back end.  The finish has very nice length but a touch of excess oak pokes through and leaves a slightly bitter closing note.  Perhaps a bit more cellar time will help the remaining oak from the finish integrate.  All in all, a very nice and enjoyable bottle of wine.  (92 pts)

2003 Chateau Bellevue St Emilion Grand Cru

 

 

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 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

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

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 – June 10, 2013 to June 13, 2013

 

 

2003 Château Potensac

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County

 

 

The lineup is a bit light this time.  I participated in an online tasting of four Rosé wines from Lodi on Wednesday evening.  I will post a blog on those wines early next week.  A preview – I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wines.

 

 

2003 Château Potensac – $19.99

Over the years Château Potensac has been my “go to” winery for a week night Bordeaux.  Though this is not a sexy or super exciting wine, it is generally a well priced, enjoyable Bordeaux blend.  This vintage is a blend of 43.5% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot and 23.5% cab franc.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby to purple color.  The very open and inviting nose has cassis, minerals, tobacco, licorice, baking spices, leather, dried herbs, cherries, and cedar.  This has medium body, moderate tannins, and very nice acidity.  Nice fruit, spice, and minerals take center stage on the palate with some spicy oak coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length but the oak does pop out a touch and the tannins get a touch chalky.  This is a nice value priced Bordeaux.  (89 pts)

2003 Chateau Potensac

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $29.75

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Villa Creek is one of my favorite California wineries.  I love all the delicious blends they produce every year.  This wine is a blend of 50% grenache, 30% mourvedre and 20% syrah from the Denner and James Berry Vineyards in Paso Robles.  This, as well as The Avenger and Mas de Maha are my top three wines Villa Creek makes.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The gorgeous nose is full of blackberries, minerals, licorice, dried herbs, cherries, vanilla, black pepper, smoke, dark chocolate, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate, mineral laden, peppery berries and some earthiness hit first followed by dark chocolate and a smoky, meaty element.  The long, lingering finish leans more on the savory spectrum but the fruit provides some outstanding sweetness.  This seems to be just entering a very nice drinking window, which should last another 5 to 7 years.  (93 pts)

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee

 

 

 

2007 Jean Edwards Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard – $30.00

I was sent a bottle of this wine by the winery to sample about a year ago.  I loved it and immediately ordered 4 bottles.  After having another bottle, I had to order a few more.  If you like reasonably priced Cabernet and Syrah based wines from California, I highly recommend checking them out.  More information and a mailing list sign up is available on their website.  Mailing list members get advance notice of new releases and exceptional pricing.  Why are you still reading this, you can come back after checking them out.   🙂

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color, almost purple. The very nice nose has blackberries, charred meat, smoke, roasted herbs, licorice, black pepper, minerals, brined olives, wild flowers, and a touch of mint. This has medium to full body with fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity. The palate has a nice blend between the juicy, crushed berries, and the savory elements of black pepper, roasted herbs, and charred meat. The finish is long and layered with nice juicy berries adding sweetness to the savory elements. This is drinking nicely, but will reward some additional cellar time.  (93 pts)

 

(This is a repost of my note from a couple months ago, it is still very accurate)

2007 Jean Edwards Alder Springs Vineyard Syrah

 

 

 

***** 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

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Jan 25, 2013 to Jan 27, 2013

 

 

2007 Anthill Farms Cabernet Sauvignon Timber Crest Farms Vineyard – $25.00

 

My comments

Anthill Farms is much more known for their Pinot Noirs, but they usually make a couple of non Pinots each year.  Like their Pinot Noirs, their other wines have the ripeness toned down and are more finesse driven wines.  With their low production levels, I think everything sells out via the mailing list.

 

Winery history

This new producer has burst on the scene with startling good Pinot Noirs made from purchased grapes.  This project is one of many that has ties with Williams Selyem.  Three young Pinot amigos, who had worked together as cellar hands at the distinguished winery on Westside Road launched their own winery with three Pinot Noir releases in 2004.

 

Anthony Filiberti grew up in SonomaCounty and was lured to wine at an early age.  He learned winemaking at Bergstrom Winery in Newberg, Oregon, Hafner Vineyards in the AlexanderValley, and Williams Selyem.  David Low grew up in Kansas but got hooked on wine while attending University of California Berkeley.  A short stint as a computer programmer was followed by a change of heart and he later worked at both Williams Selyem and Papapietro Perry.  Low is now an assistant winemaker at Papapietro Perry Winery.  Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast and attended college in Virginia.  Here he began working as an assistant winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards.  He then moved to SonomaCounty where he joined Williams Selyem.  Currently he is the winemaker at C. Donatiello Winery in Healdsburg.

 

The trio’s goal is to craft Pinot Noirs that “express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage, and above all else, taste good.”  They disdain the riper style of Pinot Noir, looking more for freshness of flavor and acidity.  Some whole clusters are included in the winemaking.  New oak is limited to about 30%.  Racking, fining and filtering is avoided.

 

The emphasis at Anthill Farms is on the vineyards and have named their winery Anthill Farms to emphasize the many tiny individual vineyards that form “the link between place and product.”  The trio avoid calling attention to themselves, preferring to bring notoriety to their winegrowers.  Their grape sources are NorthCoast vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  They also farm a small vineyard named Abbey-Harris high above Boonville in the AndersonValley.

 

The annual production of 1,400 cases is quickly snapped up by a mailing list.  Anthill Farms Winery is located at 4791 Dry Creek Road, #3-4, Healdsburg (in the Papapietro Perry winery).  Tasting by appointment – phone Dave at 707-490-5191 or e-mail Webster at webster@anthillfarms.com.

 

This winery background is from The Prince of Pinot  Check them out!

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The outstanding nose has cassis, plums, licorice, dried herbs, spice box, minerals, tobacco, and dried wild flowers.  This has a medium body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  This is not a big, overly ripe, heavily extracted style of cabernet, this is much more restrained and nuanced.  Nice fruit and spice take center stage on the palate with minerals, spicy oak, and dried herbs coming in on the sides.  The finish has good length and also showcases the fruit, spicy oak, and dried herbs.  Very food friendly, this could easily be mistaken for a Bordeaux.  (91 pts)

2007 Anthill Farms Cabernet Sauvignon Timber Crest Farms Vineyard

 

 

 

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar – $32.50

 

My comments

This is one of the premiere wineries in Australia.  This will be my first time trying this specific wine, but we go through rivers of their Reiver Shiraz every year.  Savitar is created from only the best barrels of their Shiraz.

 

Winery history

For such a young winery, Mitolo’s history is rich.  It’s one studded with success, wide acclaim, and – most importantly – truly memorable wines.  But that’s only to be expected from a winery which, since the very first day, has been motivated by three potent words:

 

Purity. Elegance. Power.

 

Those were the guiding principles Frank Mitolo wrote down when he created the winery in 1999.  With his Italian heritage and a family history of working the land, Frank was only interested in pursuing excellence.  And the results were there immediately in the release of the first Mitolo wine – the 2000 G.A.M. – named after Frank’s children Gemma, Alexander and Marco.

 

Attracted by this commitment to only create wines of outstanding quality, acclaimed winemaker Ben Glaetzer joined Mitolo as a partner in 2001.  With grapes sourced from two of Australia’s premier wine regions, Mclaren Vale and the BarossaValley, Frank and Ben now work tirelessly to surpass their already impressive achievements.  Mitolo Wines, praised by some of the world’s toughest critics, are now enjoyed in more than 20 countries around the world.

 

And that is just the start.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The rich and luxurious nose has blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, vanilla, smoked meat, dried herbs, and some earthiness.  This has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This is a massive wine on the palate with loads of spicy, peppery berries with a nice smoked meat element followed by spicy oak and dried herbs.  The finish is very long and like the palate, packed with flavor.  No subtlety and not the most complex wine out there, but very tasty.  Not an everyday wine, but on occasion, this one will rock.  This is still on the young side and will improve with another couple years in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2006 Mitolo Shiraz Savitar

 

 

 

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs – $29.99

 

My comments

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 can’t be labeled as a Zinfandel.  This vintage is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 5% Carignan.

 

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 SonomaCounty, 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, dark ruby color.  The very appealing nose has brambly berries, minerals, black pepper, Asian spices, cherries, vanilla, potpourri, and some earthy underbrush.  This has a medium body, fairly solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows great balance with no rough edges or overly showy elements.  The finish has very nice length but seems to be a touch clipped when the tannins and acidity kick in.  I think this will improve with another year or two in the cellar but it is enjoyable today with some air.  (91 pts)

2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

 

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $29.75

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the wines coming out of Paso Robles’ Villa Creek for several years.  Most of the wines are very unique blends and all are of very high quality.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 30% Mourvèdre from the Denner and James Berry Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best.  The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars.  Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage.  The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water.  In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache.  They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color. The sexy nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, dried herbs, vanilla, earthy underbrush, smoke, licorice, and fresh wild flowers. This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity. Ripe, earthy, spicy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and just a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth. The nice acidity and tannins hold the wine together very nicely on the palate. The finish is fairly long with a very nice mixture of the fruit and savory elements. Very tasty today, but this will last in the cellar for several years.  (93 pts)

Note copied from 11/2/2012 since they were very similar.

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee

 

 

 

It was a cold, snowy day today.  We even encountered some “thunder sleet”, so we went the “comfort food” route for dinner.  I channeled the years we lived in Texas to make some Chicken Fried Steak for dinner.  It may not be fancy or healthy, but it was delicious.  We both had seconds.  It was a very nice pairing with the Villa Creek wine.

Chicken Fried Steak

 

 

Is there a better way to kick back and relax on a Sunday afternoon?

Ridge and glass

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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!

 

Jan 4, 2013 to Jan 6, 2013

 

 

2004 Roberto Voerzio Langhe Nebbiolo Vigneti S. Francesco – $36.87

 

My comments

Today is my wife’s birthday, so I wanted to kick up the wine choice a couple of notches.  My last bottle of this wine was a little over a year and a half ago.  At that time, I felt it needed another year or two in the cellar.  It seems like a good time to try it again.  If it still needs some time, there’s still more in the cellar.

 

Winery history

Our winery was established in 1986 in La Morra, a town in the heart of the Langhe that has always been renowned for the greatness of its vineyards, some of which were mentioned in town records going back as far as 1250.

 

We began with 2 hectares, and over the years have managed to acquire the most prestigious, historic crus for the production of Barolo, such as La Serra, Brunate, Cerequio, Sarmassa, Rocche dell’Annunziata and Fossati, and excellent vineyards for Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Merlot.

 

We then decided to increase the number of vines in the new vineyards, and in some of the old ones, to 6000/8000 per hectare and reduce yield for the most prestigious wines to 500/700 grams per plant.  The clusters we leave on our vines are exclusively responsible for the quality of our wine.

 

We have always worked in the traditional way in the cellar, with total simplicity at every stage from vinification to bottling, with no interference, letting the diversity of each terroir emerge and giving each vineyard the chance to make its own wine.

 

Our production is limited: with just over 20 hectares we produce between 40,000 to 60,000 bottles, depending on the harvest.

 

More information is available at:  http://www.voerzioroberto.it/eng/cantina.asp

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color, with a touch of light brick at the edge.  The very enticing and exotic nose has cherries, dusty roses, melted licorice, earthy underbrush, smoke, baking spices, and tobacco.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  The palate has some nice red fruit but the savory notes and spices are in control.  The finish has nice length and like the palate is more tilted towards the savory elements with the red fruit adding a touch of sweetness and depth.  This is still on the young side but opened up nicely after a couple hours in the decanter.  (91 pts)

2004 Roberto Voerzio Langhe Nebbiolo Vigneti S Francesco

 

 

 

2009 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead – $29.00

 

My comments

As I’ve said in the past, I think Big Basin is one big score from one of the big wine reviewing periodicals away from appearing everyone’s radar.  I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin’s Syrah wines and blends for a few years.  I would highly recommend checking them out.  This is a blend of 46% Grenache, 43% Syrah, and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.

 

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.

 

Best known for Syrah, but also makes Pinot Noirs and blends.

 

Much more information is available at:  http://bigbasinvineyards.com/

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby to violet color.  The open and inviting nose has cherries, black raspberries, roasted herbs, licorice, earthy underbrush, violets, white pepper, and a touch of wood smoke.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The wine has much lighter weight on the palate than I was expecting.  The palate shows nice spicy fruit with roasted herbs, pepper, and spicy oak adding depth and filling out the palate.  The finish is fairly long with smoky, roasted herbs and fruit slowly fading.  One of the more “civilized” wines I’ve had from Bradley Brown’s BigBasin.  I’m glad I have a few more to enjoy over the next few years.  (92 pts)

2009 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead

 

 

 

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Santa Rita Hills – $4.75

 

My comments

This was on a super blow out sale at the local store.  I don’t know why there were still available after having been released at least a few years ago.  I didn’t have high expectations in a six year old, appellation Pinot Blanc, but had to try it out.  We sampled a bottle right off the shelf at room temperature.  I was blown away!  It still tasted young and fresh.  I grabbed six bottles, now it’s time to try one at the proper serving temperature from a good stem, at home.  It’s a perfect time to open one since the dish we’re making for dinner requires a cup of a dry white wine.

 

Winery history

Richard Sanford came to the Santa Ynez Valley 40 years ago with the desire to create wines that would rival the best of France.  First to recognize the potential of the Santa Rita Hills (now an officially accredited American Viticultural Area as Sta. Rita Hills), and first to plant Pinot Noir vines there, Richard is a pioneer with a well established reputation for excellence in winemaking.

 

Working in partnership for more than 30 years, Thekla and Richard Sanford founded multiple, successful winegrowing enterprises.  Their latest venture, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, represents the culmination of a lifetime’s experience – an enterprise dedicated to creating high quality wines and setting a benchmark for organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods, and environment-friendly commerce.

 

The winery, owned by Richard Sanford, dubbed the father of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and the first to plant the vine there, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 27.

 

After nearly a half-century of ups and downs in the wine business, Sanford admitted that he’d rather be riding off into the sunset than trying to save the family farm.  “It is true that I have been doing this for 44 years, and Thekla and I were looking forward to having some quiet time,” said Sanford.  “But that’s just not possible yet.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright yellow to straw color.  The light and refreshing nose has lemon curd, apples, stony/flinty minerals, orange blossoms, a touch of spice and a bit of pineapple.  This has light to medium body, is dry and has crisp, citrusy acidity.  This is very bright and lively on the palate with crisp apples, lemon zest, and flinty minerals, on the backend a touch of spice and orange zest add some depth.  The finish has nice length with the citrus, apples, and minerals holding on nicely.  This was an absolute steal on closeout for under $5.  (90 pts)

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Santa Rita Hills

 

 

 

2006 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $35.00

 

My comments

I’ve been a fan of the wines coming out of Paso Robles’ Villa Creek for several years.  Most of the wines are very unique blends and all are of very high quality.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre from the Denner and James Berry Vineyards in Paso Robles.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best.  The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars.  Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage.  The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water.  In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache.  They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly saturated ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, smoke, earthy underbrush, meat juices, black pepper, licorice, cherries, dark chocolate, and dried wild flowers.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  Big, juicy, berries, black pepper, meat, and earthy elements grab the palate initially with some chocolate and cherries coming through on the backend.  The finish is fairly long and full of smoky, peppery berries.  Outstanding now, but will last in the cellar for another 4 to 6 years.  (93 pts)

 

Label modifications in the picture courtesy of my VinoTemp which doesn’t like the slightly larger bottles used by some wineries.

2006 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee

 

 

We paired the Villa Creek wine with a quick and easy recipe we’ve enjoyed several times over the years.  The Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce over Egg Noodles is very wine friendly with minimal fuss and ingredients.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce

 

 

The recipe can be found at:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pork-tenderloin-with-mustard-sauce-10000000521619/

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

The season is starting to heat up, keep an eye on the old inbox.

 

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to get the dreaded Cayuse, “I’m sorry” e-mail last week.  I’ll live, there’s plenty of other great options out there.

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

It’s getting boring, I was good again this week.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

My Top 10 Wines of 2012

 

 

Here are the top wines I sampled or drank in 2012.  It was a hard task since I had tasting notes on over 500 wines this year.  As an added bonus, I included my next 10 wines, but since they aren’t ranked, I’ll  still call this my Top 10.

 

I set a couple of rules going in, the same winery couldn’t have more than one wine in the top 10 and could not have more than 2 in the top 20.  This only came into play for one wine, causing a bottle to fall from the top 10 to the “number 11 to 20” list.  Sorry Carlisle.

 

Unfortunately, since most of the wines I open have been in my cellar for a number of years, most of these wines are not available to purchase today.  Some are probably available on the auction sites, like WineBid.  If you are interested in any specific wine, let me know and I can help you track down a bottle.

 

top10

 

 

10 – 2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

 

My comments

This is perennially one of my favorite Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons.  The Elyse Morisoli Cab generally needs a few years in the cellar to fully open up and reveal all of its layers.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice, deep ruby color, showing absolutely no sign of age.  The outstanding nose has cassis, smoke, well worn leather, fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate, dried herbs, tobacco, and a faint hint of cedar.  This is medium bodied with nice, ripe, integrated tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is very civilized and refined on the palate with a nice fruit to savory balance.  The finish is long and full of cassis, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  Very food friendly, but I’m very much enjoying a post dinner glass.  This can easily rest in the cellar for a few more years, but it is stunning today.  (94 pts)

Elyse

 

 

9 – 2007 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard

 

My comments

This was a new find for me early in the year.  I bought a few bottle based purely on the fact Russell Bevan was the winemaker.  As soon as I had a couple sips, I was online stocking up.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The irresistible nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, charcoal, dried herbs, melted licorice, baking spices, and a hint of violets.  This is fairly full body with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  This is lush and ripe on the palate but not really pushing the ripeness to the edge.  The palate shows nice peppery berries, licorice, and some smoked meat with baking spices and dried herbs in the background.  The finish is very long and highlights the fruit initially but as the fruit slowly fades, the savory elements keep going.  Still extremely young but already outstanding.  (95 pts)

Westerhold

 

 

 

8 – 2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of this Ribera del Duero wine for several years.  It took some cellar time but this outstanding vintage is just now coming out of its shell.

 

My Tasting Note

Decanted about 2.5 hrs.  Deep maroon color.  Blackberry liqueur, licorice, earthy underbrush, cedar, dried herbs, dark chocolate, and dark roasted coffee on the very open and inviting nose.  Medium to full body with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  Loads of spicy, sweet fruit on the palate with no over ripe notes.  Long finish again full of spicy fruit.  This will improve , perhaps quite a bit, with some additional cellar time but it is outstanding now with a couple hours of air.  Delicious!  (95 pts)

Aalto

 

 

 

7 – 2002 Shafer Relentless

 

My comments

Another perennial favorite.  With the current vintage’s number one ranking in the Wine Spectator Top 100 wines, I’m sure more people will come to appreciate this gem.

 

My Tasting Note

Deep, dark maroon color.  Blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, licorice, Asian spices, vanilla, dark chocolate, and fresh ground coffee on the very inviting and exotic nose.  Medium to full body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and nice acidity.  A big hit of berries on the palate then waves of savory elements grab the palate.  Long, lingering finish with the spicy berries giving way to the dark chocolate and espresso.  Outstanding!  (95 pts)

Relentless

 

 

 

6 – 2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan since back when some of the major wine magazines hated this wine.  This vintage was not only named the number 1, Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator but was bestowed very high scores by just about everyone who rates wines.  In my opinion, it is outstanding but will benefit from some additional cellar time.

 

My Tasting Note

I decanted the wine for a couple hours before tasting.  The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The wine has an exotic nose full of blackberries, blueberries, Asian spices, smoky incense, potpourri, black cherries, minerals, cola, earthy underbrush and a touch of alcohol.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and bright acidity.  On the palate the wine reveals itself in layers.  First there is a solid hit of fruit with slowly building Asian spices.  As the fruit begins to fade, some nice earthy elements slowly start to build, later a bit of dark chocolate starts to take over.  The alcohol note on the nose is not noticeable on the palate or the long finish.  100 pts?  Wine of the Year?  I don’t know if I’d go that far at this point in its evolution, but there is still considerable upside.  (95 pts)

Saxum

 

 

 

5 – 2003 Carlisle Two Acres

 

My comments

This is another wine that tastes great upon release, but some cellar time is greatly rewarded.  For all their early richness, Carlisle wines are balanced enough to improve in the cellar.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, saturated maroon color with a touch of bricking at the edge.  The very pleasing and inviting nose features blackberries, licorice, tree bark, leather, meat juices, dried herbs, violets, and a touch of Asian spices.  The wine is fairly full bodied with nice, ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate there are nice, spicy berries with just a touch of earthiness and a hit of dark chocolate.  Even though the nose and palate are top notch, the finish is probably the best part of the wine.  The finish is very long and loaded with berries, chocolate, dried herbs, and earthiness with just a bit of a meaty element.  The length is incredible!  There are absolutely no rough edges or any overly dominant taste or aromas in this wine.  This wine is in a perfect drinking window, if I had more I’d recommend drinking over the next year or two.  (95 pts)

Carlisle

 

 

 

4 – 2008 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s

 

My comments

This is a wine I grabbed off the shelf at my local wine store to try down the road.  Now I wish I had opened it as soon as I got home so I could have stocked up.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  An intoxicating nose with earthy underbrush, black cherry, raspberry, baking spices, vanilla, melted licorice, and violets.  This has medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  Rich and plush on the palate with fantastic, earthy, spicy, fruit that slowly transforms to reveal a new nuance every couple of seconds.  The finish never really seems to dissipate, seemingly lingering forever.   One of the absolute best young California Pinot Noirs I have had the good fortune to enjoy.  Absolutely stunning!  (95 pts)

Melville

 

 

 

3 – 2003 Turley Petite Sirah Hayne Vineyard

 

My comments

For a long time, one of the upper echelon Petite Sirahs from California.  Over the years other wineries have been able to duplicate Turley’s “formula” when it comes to Zinfandels, but no one has been able to replicate the power and finesse Turley generates from this Hayne Vineyard masterpiece.

 

My Tasting Note

Decanted an hour.  Deep, dark, inky maroon color.  An outstanding nose of blackberries, pepper, melted licorice, baking spices, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, with some vanilla, blueberry, and violets.  Full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Rich and spicy on the palate with loads of dark fruit, pepper, and spice.  Ripe tannins grab the palate coating it with velvety plushness.  Long finish that just seems to go on and on, very slowly fading.  One of the best Petite Sirahs I have ever had.  This is still quite young but very drinkable now with some air.  I’ll hold onto my other bottle for a special occasion.  (95 pts)

Turley

 

 

 

2 – 2004 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

 

My comments

Jean Edwards Cellars was another new find for me in 2012.  In this case, my thanks goes to Twitter for leading me to this winery and the wonderful owners.  Check them out on the internet, you can probably still get in on this action before the winery catches on in a big way making the wine extremely hard to get.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to garnet color.  The sensuous nose features cassis, cedar, tobacco, dried herbs, smoke, well worn leather, black cherry, and just a touch of earthiness.  This has medium body with nice, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and velvety on the palate with dried herb laced berries and cherries up front and nice savory notes and spicy oak adding considerable depth and complexity.  The long finish adds a touch of dark chocolate and earthiness to the fruit and dried herbs.  The wine is in a perfect drinking window with absolutely no rough edges or over powering elements, but it should hold for at least a few more years if not longer.  I’ll hold my remaining bottle for another couple years.  (95 pts)

Jean Edwards

 

 

 

1 – 2007 Villa Creek High Road The Long Path James Berry Vineyard

 

My comments

I’ve been buying and very much enjoying the wines from Villa Creek for several years.  This bottle, from a great vintage, and the magical James Berry Vineyard has propelled this wine to the top of my list for the year.  I wish I had bought more of this but my couple bottles will have to make due.

 

My Tasting Note

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

Villa Creek

 

 

 

Number 11 to 20 by winery

 

 

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon Black Ridge Vineyard

This was decanted for about 3 hours.   The wine is a deep, dark, purple color.  The very deep and interesting nose had cassis, blackberries, black cherries, baking spices, licorice, fresh ground espresso, dark chocolate, dried herbs, minerals, and some toasty oak.  This is full bodied with a nice tannic backbone and good acidity.  The wine explodes on your palate coating it with spicy fruit, dark chocolate, and dried herbs.  There is a some nice, spicy oak providing some background “seasoning”.  The wine has a long, lingering finish with just enough toast oak to add interest without over powering the fruit and dried herbs.  This is a big, ripe, rich wine that perfectly conceals the alcohol.  This wine has years of life ahead of it, but it is delicious today with some air.  (94 pts)

 

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard

Decanted about an hour.  Deep, dark maroon color.  Brambly berries, melted licorice, black pepper, smoke, dark chocolate, with a bit of vanilla on the fantastic nose.  Full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Big, ripe, and bold on the palate with loads of juicy, peppery berries.  Long, spicy finish.  Wine still tastes young and has youthful tannins and very nice acidity, this could cellar for several more years.  This is an absolutely stunning zinfandel, one of the best I have ever had. and I think it will still improve with some additional cellar time.  (95 pts)

 

2005 Clos du Mont Olivet Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Decanted about 2 hours.  Deep, dark ruby color with just a touch of lightening at the edge.  Black cherries, raspberries, loads of minerality, dried herbs, spices, scorched earth, a bit of underbrush, black pepper, and meat juices on the rich and luxurious nose.  Medium body with solid but silky tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich, smooth, and velvety with no jagged edges or off notes, it just envelopes the palate with spicy, earthy fruit.  Long, lingering finish.  This may be very young, but with some air it is a knock out.  Top rate and at under $30 a QPR masterpiece!  (94 pts)

 

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

Decanted about an hour.  Deep, saturated ruby color.  Cassis, cherry, licorice, worn leather, cocoa, dried herbs, smoke, tobacco, and just a bit of cedar on the slightly reserved nose.  Medium body with fairly solid but ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Much more expressive on the palate than on the nose, everything seems to be turned up a notch, with the rich and spicy fruit leading the way.  Nice dried herbs are in the background with a bit of dark chocolate coming in on the backend.  Long finish with the dried herbs and dark chocolate seeming to last forever.  I think the nose will open up with another year or two in the cellar.  Very nice now, probably even better in a year or two.  (94 pts)

 

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

Pretty much pop and pour due to a different wine being corked.  The wine is a deep ruby to maroon color.  The fantastic nose has cassis, dried herbs, licorice, baking spices, cherries, cigar box, smoke, and minerals.  This had medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows very nice spicy fruit full of dried herbs and a touch of licorice.  The wine has a long, lingering finish full of sweet berries, spices, and the dried herbs.  This is the real deal, with no rough edges.  This wine is very highly recommended.  (94 pts)

 

2005 Jaffurs Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard

The wine is a very dark purple color, almost black.  The very inviting nose has blackberries, blueberries, white pepper, baking spices, melted licorice, violets, and some dark chocolate.  This is medium to full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  Ripe, juicy, spicy berries dominate the palate with some very nice licorice and dark chocolate coming through on the backend.  The bright acidity and tannins keep the wine in check and actually makes it seem a bit lighter in body than the 15.8% alcohol lead me to expect.  The wine has a long finish with the juicy berries and spices slowly fading.  The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden with just a touch peeking through on the finish.  An outstanding Petite Sirah that is drinking perfectly today but with enough acidity and tannins to easily cellar for several more years.  (94 pts)

 

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir “The Three”

Decanted about 2 hours.  Deep ruby red color.  Black cherries, blackberries, baking spices, white pepper, underbrush, and vanilla on the very intriguing nose.  Medium to full body with fairly solid but ripe and silky tannins and very nice acidity.  Big, rich, and spicy on the palate with loads of dark fruit and baking spices.  Very nice length on the finish with the spicy fruit lingering for a long time.  This is not a Pinot for Francophiles, VERY unique.  I would call this hedonistic, even though I absolutely despise that term in a tasting note because it usually denotes an over ripe, sweet, syrupy wine, which this is not.  Not for everyone, and not an everyday wine, but tonight I absolutely loved it.  (94 pts)

 

1988 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spatlese

The wine is a bright, golden yellow color.  The very pleasing nose has petrol, apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, and some white pepper.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and nice sweetness.  Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir.  The wine has a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime.  This actually still tastes young.  (94 pts)

 

2000 Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile

A bright golden yellow color.  Apple, peach, lemon zest, minerals, lime zest, petrol, and a touch of white pepper on the very luxurious nose.  Light to medium body, dry with outstanding acidity.  Tart and tangy white fruit and citrus on the palate with minerals and a bit of white pepper coming in on the back end.  Long finish with mouthwatering citrus and spicy minerals seeming to last forever.  An truly outstanding example of a dry Riesling.  (94 pts)

 

2007 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvee

Decanted about an hour.  Deep ruby color.  Cherries, blackberries, white pepper, baking spices, some earthiness, licorice, and nice minerality on the very open and inviting nose.  Medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Rich fruit and solid peppery spice on the palate with some minerality and earthiness coming in on the back end.  Long finish with the fruit, spice, minerality, and earthiness all lingering seemingly forever.  I love this wine every vintage, but one seems to have that little something extra.  This is special.  (94 pts)

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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

 

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!

 

Nov 2, 2012 to Nov 4, 2012

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $29.75

 

My comments

Villa Creek holds the number 1 position in my cellar with 85 bottles, 84 as soon as this one opens.  I love the very nice and varied blends coming out of their Paso Robles winery.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage. The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water. In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache. They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, dried herbs, vanilla, earthy underbrush, smoke, licorice, and fresh wild flowers.  This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Ripe, earthy, spicy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and just a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth.  The nice acidity and tannins hold the wine together very nicely on the palate.  The finish is fairly long with a very nice mixture of the fruit and savory elements.  Very tasty today, but this will last in the cellar for several years.  (93 pts)

Label tears courtesy of my VinoTemp which doesn’t like the slightly larger bottles.

 

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese – $34.81

 

My comments

A German Reisling with some (24 yrs is some, right?) cellar age is one of my greatest wine pleasures.  The sugary sweetness transforms into more of a richness in the wine as it melds with the acidity.  I can’t have enough of these wines in my cellar.

 

Winery history

Since the 12th century, the Counts von Schönborn have been part of the Rhenish knightage. Around 1349 their vineyards in Winkel in the Rheingau were registered documentary for the first time. Until the middle of the 17th century, the Counts von Schönborn were living in their area of origin in the Rheingau and in the Taunus. During this time, many vineyards were purchased in Rheingau boundaries. As of the middle of the 17th century, the brothers Johann Philipp and Philipp Erwein von Schönborn laid the foundation stone for the material prosperity and cultural wealth of the family.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright, golden yellow color.  The very pleasing nose has petrol, apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, and some white pepper.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and nice sweetness.  Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir.  The wine has a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime.  This actually still tastes young.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

2005 Miller Wine Works Syrah Sage Canyon Vineyard – $17.99

 

My comments

I love a deep, dark syrah that highlights the non fruity aspects of the grape.  I consider this to be the polar opposite of the fruit bomb style of syrahs made in some parts of the wine world.

 

Winery history

Growing up in rural New YorkState, simple, fresh, homegrown food was an everyday experience. Our meats, milk, bread, fruit, and vegetables were from local farms. Many of my earliest memories are the tastes and smells of my mother’s kitchen – bread, Christmas cookies, apple pies, smoked ham, and Thanksgiving turkey. Just picked, juicy, finger-staining huckleberries were hard work, but memorable.

 

My first cooking job was a humble, short-order lunch cook but I was hooked. After attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, I took advantage of numerous culinary opportunities at world class restaurants in White Sulphur Springs, Chicago and Aspen.

 

I always considered winemaking to be “cooking”. Through my entire time as a chef, I wanted to work with the flavors, textures, and aromas of grapes from the California coast. Finally I took the plunge and moved to NapaValley.

 

NapaValley is an amazing place, but not just for its history, natural beauty, and perfect conditions for winegrowing. The people are truly amazing, placing a premium on food, family, friends, and farming.

 

As a winemaker, it is my intent to make balanced, nuanced wines that speak clearly of their locations, and have affinity for carefully raised and prepared food.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very dark maroon, almost black color.  The deep, dark, brooding nose features dark chocolate, smoked meat, blackberries, black pepper, dried herbs, A1 steak sauce, smoky embers, and some earthiness.  The wine fairly full bodied and has solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows some nice fruit but the savory elements are the stars.  Loads of charred, smoked meat, pepper, and dark chocolate take center stage.  The finish is fairly long with the dark chocolate and meaty elements slowly fading.  A really nice bottle of wine, in my opinion.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands – $30.50

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of Carlisle for several years.  I still have a few bottles in the cellar from as far back as the 2003 vintage.  Mike Officer puts out a very high quality product at very consumer friendly prices.  This is why it is now next to impossible to get onto the mailing list.  A friend recently, after a few years on the waiting list, was offered a few bottles of wine.  If you have patience, check out the website and get on the waiting list, down the road you will be happy you did.

 

Winery history

We are a small SonomaCounty winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah). We have also recently added our first whites, both blends from historic, old-vine vineyards. While we like our wines to be bold and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and nuance. Our goal is always the same – grow and source outstanding fruit, do as little as possible to it, and bottle outstanding, pleasurable wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky maroon color.  The very open and inviting nose has blackberries, cracked black peppercorns, road tar, blueberries, camphor, minerals, licorice, dried flowers, dark chocolate, and some earthiness.  The wine is full bodied with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  In my opinion the wine is still too young, and needs a few more years in the cellar.  This is still a bit ragged on the palate with scratchy oak and chalky tannins.  The finish is clipped when the tannins kick in.  The wine has all the necessary components for a long life but patience will be required.  (88 pts, potential to 92 down the road)

 

 

 

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Santa Rita Hills – $4.75

 

My comments

This was on a super blow out sale at the local store.  I don’t know why there were still available after having been released at least a few years ago.  I didn’t have high expectations in a six year old, appellation Pinot Blanc, but had to try it out.  We sampled a bottle right off the shelf at room temperature.  I was blown away!  It still tasted young and fresh.  I grabbed six bottles, now it’s time to try one at the proper serving temperature from a good stem, at home.  It’s a perfect time to open one since the dish we’re making for dinner requires 2/3 cup of a dry white wine.

 

Winery history

Richard Sanford came to the Santa Ynez Valley 40 years ago with the desire to create wines that would rival the best of France.  First to recognize the potential of the Santa Rita Hills (now an officially accredited American Viticultural Area as Sta. Rita Hills), and first to plant Pinot Noir vines there, Richard is a pioneer with a well established reputation for excellence in winemaking.

 

Working in partnership for more than 30 years, Thekla and Richard Sanford founded multiple, successful winegrowing enterprises.  Their latest venture, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, represents the culmination of a lifetime’s experience – an enterprise dedicated to creating high quality wines and setting a benchmark for organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods, and environment-friendly commerce.

 

The winery, owned by Richard Sanford, dubbed the father of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and the first to plant the vine there, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 27.

 

After nearly a half-century of ups and downs in the wine business, Sanford admitted that he’d rather be riding off into the sunset than trying to save the family farm.  “It is true that I have been doing this for 44 years, and Thekla and I were looking forward to having some quiet time,” said Sanford.  “But that’s just not possible yet.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a clear light straw color.  The very light and refreshing nose has apples, lemon curd, minerals, orange zest, spring flowers, and a touch of pineapple.  This is a touch fuller than light body, has crisp, citrusy acidity, and is dry.  Nice apples and flinty minerality greets the palate first followed by bright lemon and orange citrus.  The finish has decent length ending with mouthwatering citrus and minerals.  This tastes young and fresh for a six year old white.  I don’t know what the release price was on this wine, but it was an absolute steal for under $5.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

 

2008 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s – $37.14

 

My comments

I have to admit, I bought this wine purely on the basis of a review given by one of the big time professional reviewers.  I’ve eyed the bottle several times over the two years it has been in the cellar.  I think a nice Pinot Noir should pair well with tonight’s dinner, so I finally get to sample it tonight.

 

Winery history

In 1989, Melville Vineyards, a family owned and operated enterprise was founded in SonomaCounty’s KnightsValley, where Ron Melville grew high quality, much sought after Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  In 1996, Ron’s desire to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought Melville Vineyards to Lompoc’s Sta.RitaHills, located in the western Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California.  The Sta.RitaHills appellation is where Ron Melville and his sons Brent and Chad Melville decided to develop their estate vineyards and winery.  Since then, they have also developed an interest in Rhone varietals, particularly Northern Rhone Syrah and Viognier.  The Melville estate achieves quality through the integrity of its farming practice and its respect to the microclimate.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  An intoxicating nose with earthy underbrush, black cherry, raspberry, baking spices, vanilla, melted licorice, and violets.  This has medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  Rich and plush on the palate with fantastic, earthy, spicy, fruit that slowly transforms to reveal a new nuance every couple of seconds.  The finish never really seems to dissipate, seemingly lingering forever.   One of the absolute best young California Pinot Noirs I have had the good fortune to enjoy.  Absolutely stunning!  (95 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Turley Wine Cellars

The offer for the first Turley Cabernet offer couldn’t be ignored, so I ordered a few bottles.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

It was a busy week receiving previously ordered wine.

 

Direct from Bedrock (2 bottles each)

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin’s Lair

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Dolinsek Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Saitone Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock Heritage Wine

 

Direct from Herman Story via friend’s allocation (1 bottle each)

2010 Herman Story Casual Encounters

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

2010 R.P.F. Wines The Signmaker

 

Winery Samples

2011 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Moscato

2011 One Time Spaceman MCA Rose

2009 One Time Spaceman Moon Duck

 

From local wine store

2009 One Time Spaceman Reserve Airspace James Berry Vineyard (2 bottles)

2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau (6 bottles)

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc SantaRitaHills – Sta.RitaHills (3 bottles)

 

From WineBid

2005 Turley Petite Syrah Hayne Vineyard (2 bottles)

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Oct 19, 2012 to Oct 21, 2012

 

 

 

2006 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz Jimmy Section – $19.00

 

My comments

One of my wife’s all time favorite wines.  How much does she like it?  Per Cellar Tracker I bought a total of 33 bottles, and his will be the 24th bottle we’ve opened since December 2009.

 

I should add I like this wine as well.  I still do not understand how it was such a slow mover at the local wine store.  This is part of my last case which only cost me $19.00, a bottle.  A steal based on the $35 release price.

 

Winery history

Stuart Miller is the winemaker and caretaker of the vineyard: this is truly a hands-on winery where every step of production from vineyard to bottling is overseen by Stuart himself.  His family are involved in all stages of the process, picking grapes, pruning vines, bottling, packaging and more.

 

Oliverhill was established in the early 1970s and the Miller family moved in during the early 1990s.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The very inviting nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, vanilla, smoldering charcoal, licorice, leather, wild flowers, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine gives a big blast of ripe, juicy berries with spicy oak and black pepper adding nice savory elements.  This is a big, bold, and ripe wine that pushes the ripeness but does not cross over into the sweet or syrupy level.  (93 pts)

 

 

 

2011 Villa Creek Pink – $12.80

 

My comments

Having a little Rosé tasting with a friend today, so my contributions are this wine and the Bedrock listed below.  These two along with the One Time Spaceman MCA Rosé were the work horse wines this Summer in my house.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage. The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water. In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache. They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice looking pinkish salmon color.  The very crisp and clean nose has strawberries, white peaches, cherries, Asian spices, citrus zest, and a touch of earthiness.  Light to medium body with crisp acidity and just a touch of sweetness makes for a very nice, easy drinking wine on a warm evening.  The palate has nice crisp, sweet fruit and spices with some earthiness lurking in the background.  The finish shows nice length with the fruit and spice slowly giving way to a touch of mouthwatering, citrusy acidity.  A very nice Rose with or without food.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé – $18.00

 

My comments

Having a little Rosé tasting with a friend today, so my contributions are this wine and the Villa Creek listed above.  These two along with the One Time Spaceman MCA Rosé were the work horse wines this Summer in my house.

 

 

Winery history

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop. Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.

 

The winery’s objectives are:

.  To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.

.  To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the NorthCoast.

.  To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.

.  To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.

.  To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.

.  To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.

.  To dream big but keep production low!

 

My Tasting Note

A nice, light, pinkish salmon color. Minerals, strawberry, white pepper, melons, orange zest, and a bit of dusty earthiness on the very appealing nose.  Light body with crisp acidity.  A very dry rose with nice minerality and fruit with the white pepper and citrus making an appearance on the back end.  Nice, lingering, mouthwatering finish.  The real deal.  Even those who like a crisp French Rose will find pleasure in this wine.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2005 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino – $26.91

 

My comments

I’ve been wanting to check in on this wine again.  We had a bottle about a year and a half ago and though it was enjoyable, I felt it needed some additional cellar time.

 

Winery history

The “Caparzo” name seems to originate from Ca’ Pazzo, as seen in several ancient maps.

The vineyards, cellars and all wine-making equipment were developed towards the end of the 1960s, with progressive adaptation and constant up-dating of both the land and the cellars.

Innovative cultivation systems and, in particular, several clones are still experimented today on the estates – extending over an area of 200 hectares (470 acres), comprising 90 hectares of vineyards, 4 of olive groves, 87 of woodlands and 19 of sowable land.

 

Caparzo aims to ensure top quality products through meticulous, craftsmanlike techniques while equally taking a modern approach to management, efficiency and business relationships.

More than forty years have passed from the first rows of vines and from the first wine-shop experiences.

Caparzo has since grown while keeping faith with the traditions of Brunello and the various local terroirs, at the same time as enhancing its wines with creative spirit and dedication to innovation as a means of ensuring the highest possible quality.

This is why Caparzo wines are served by the most famous restaurants in the world, as well as at international meetings and on official State occasions.

 

My Tasting Note

This was decanted for about two hours.  The wine is a ruby to garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  On the very nice nose there is cherry, raspberry, well worn leather, cedar, sautéed mushrooms, baking spices, dried herbs, wild flowers, and earthy underbrush.  This is medium body with moderate, ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine has a nice initial attack on the palate but the oak eventually takes over.  The finish had nice length but the oak once again dominates.  A bit of excess oak can be over looked, but this is a couple steps beyond just excess.  Hopefully I’m just catching it at a bad time and the other elements will show up, but for now, let this one sleep unless an abundance of oak is not a problem for you.  Checking an earlier tasting note, I didn’t list excess oak as being a problem.  I’m leaning towards catching the wine at a bad point in its evolution.  If that is the case, my score will be dreadfully low.  (86 pts)

 

 

 

We had the Brunello with some Tortellini in Marinara Sauce with Italian Sausage, Mozzarella, and fresh Basil.  A fantastic pairing!

 

 

 

2008 Wild Hog Vineyard Petite Sirah Cache Creek – $9.97

 

My comments

The 2007 vintage of this wine was a show stopper for under $10.  When the local received a small cache of the 2008 vintage and made it available for $10 via an e-mail offer, I had to grab a case.  My first bottle wasn’t up to the level of the 2007, but it showed considerable promise.  I don’t know the story behind this vintage since the winery’s website says the 2007 was the last one produced.

 

Winery history

At Wild Hog Vineyard it is difficult to separate the wine from the winemaker. Daniel Schoenfeld began making wine as a home winemaker in 1977. He loved good food and wine and wanted to share his enjoyment with friends. He and Marion, his wife and co-owner, are both gardeners with a passionate belief in sustainable living. Marion tends a three acre organic garden which produces the vegetables and fruits that the family consumes. Daniel farms the five acre vineyard above the house. Together with their two children, Iris and Ariel, they harvest the bounty from the land. They take from the land only what they give in return.

 

As a winemaker, Daniel has a very simple view-allow the fruit to speak for itself. All Wild Hog wines are unfiltered allowing the full flavor to be extracted. The grapes are picked ripe and crushed (or de-stemmed) into open top fermentors-1 to 4 ton size. Yeast is added and the must will ferment 10 to 21 days, until dry. The must is then pressed and the juice held in American oak barrels. After 12 months in the barrel for Pinot Noir and 18 months for Zinfandel, the wine is bottled at the winery, using our own equipment. Since we do no filtering, the wine is racked two or three times during its time in the barrel. The winery produces between 3000 to 4000 cases per year, depending on harvest and availability of good fruit.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, black pepper, minerals, eucalyptus, licorice, violets, dried herbs, and some earthy underbrush.  This is barely medium body with fairly solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows peppery, crushed berries, some earthiness and minerality, and the eucalyptus note on the back end.  The finish has very nice fruit and savory elements, and has decent length.  I really like the mint/eucalyptus note that carries through from the nose to the finish.  The label says 15% alcohol, but it seems much lower.  This is not a big, ripe, fruit forward wine like the 2007.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

2001 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard – $30.00

 

My comments

The Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Cabernets have been a personal favorite for several years.  The Mosisoli Cabernet, like a lot of the great Napa Valley Cabs taste very nice upon release, but some time in the cellar helps bring out the nuances and terrior, transforming them into something special.

 

Winery history

NapaValley’s Elyse Winery has two causes for celebration this harvest. In addition to a stellar looking 2012 vintage in NapaValley, it is the 25th harvest for the winery.

 

It was back in 1987 that Ray and Nancy Coursen crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine. While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food. Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

 

Winemaking is cooking without a flame. Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in NapaValley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table. Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.

 

“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event. It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner

 

“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very nice, deep ruby color, showing absolutely no sign of age.  The outstanding nose has cassis, smoke, well worn leather, fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate, dried herbs, tobacco, and a faint hint of cedar.  This is medium bodied with nice, ripe, integrated tannins and very nice acidity.  The wine is very civilized and refined on the palate with a nice fruit to savory balance.  The finish is long and full of cassis, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  Very food friendly, but I’m very much enjoying a post dinner glass.  This can easily rest in the cellar for a few more years, but it is stunning today.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Loring Wine Company

This could get costly.  Loring is one of our favorite wineries.  They are mainly into making big and ripe Pinot Noirs, but have branched out a bit.  Now they are going about three steps beyond just branching out.  In their next release on October 24th, they will be releasing five wines, none of which is Pinot Noir based.  This release will include the following:

 

2011 Grenache

Amazingly pure high notes of blackberry, plum, and red and black cherry. Plush and rich, but the acidity keeps it bright and focused. Concentrated but not heavy. Spice and minerality round out the finish.

 

2011 Mourvedre

A symphony of blackberry, coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Great intensity and precision, with depth and richness. Once again, great acidity holds everything together in one seamless chorus of deliciousness.

 

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

A dizzying array of blackberry, red and black cherry aromas and flavors, along with deep crème de cassis. Nice elements of baking spice and toasty oak. Muscular, dense, and concentrated on the palate, but still bright with a surprisingly elegant finish due to great acidity.

 

2010 Convergence (75% Grenache / 25% Mourvedre)

Super intense with layers of ripe raspberry, blackberry, baking spice, and vanilla that jump out of the glass. Deep and concentrated on the palate, with additional notes of smoked meat and minerality in the finish. An immense wine that’s still light on its feet.

 

2010 Divergence

The 2010 is a little less crazy than our past two vintages, but it’s still one of the biggest, baddest wines you’ll ever come across. Massive in every way, but still amazingly balanced. Blackberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla cascade over your palate. Insanely concentrated and mouth-coating, but with stunning acidity that keeps the finish bright and focused.

 

Visit http://loringwinecompany.com/ for more information or even better, to sign up for the mailing list.

 

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

Direct from the winery:

(6) 2007 Graeser Cabernet Franc Estate Grown DiamondMountain

(4) Villa Creek Mas de Maha

(3) Vila Creek Avenger

(2) Villa Creek High Road James Berry Vineyard

 

From local wine store:

(6) 2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc SantaRitaHills – Sta.RitaHills

(3) 2007 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino

(2) 2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvée 32”

(1) 2009 Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Riviera

 

 

 

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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