Watch for a special blog to be posted, hopefully on Tuesday  of the wines we served at a small dinner party we hosted on Saturday.  We opened four bottles and the worst one was still outstanding.




2008 Fetish Wines Playmates – $17.09


My comments

This is a GSM blend from the BarossaValley in Australia, the blend is 80% Shiraz, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache.


In my opinion, the sexy label does a disservice to the quality wine in the bottle.  This is generally your typical Aussie wine, the ripeness is pushed to its limit, but it doesn’t cross the line to the point of no return.


Winery history

Fetish Wine was introduced with the release of the 2004 vintage “The Watcher”, a Barossa Valley Shiraz made by Rolf Binder at his acclaimed Veritas Winery. The brand combined high-quality wine, a prestigious appellation and a celebrity winemaker all wrapped up in cutting edge packaging.


Shortly after this initial release a new project came together, this time partnering with Wayne Dutschke to produce the “Field of Dreams” Barossa Moscato. This wine brought a new, and very different, facet of Australian winemaking into the Fetish portfolio. The distinctive blue bottle and colorful label contributed to the Fetish Wines theme of being consistently different.


2007 saw the second release of “The Watcher” Shiraz, which received an even greater reception in the USA marketplace than its initial release, and the introduction of “Playmates”. An additional wine made for Fetish by Rolf Binder, “Playmates” is a BarossaValley blend of Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro with eye-catching black-and-white artwork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark garnet color.  The big and in your face nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, cherries, vanilla, earthy underbrush, plums, dried herbs, and a faint eucalyptus note.  This is fairly full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a load of juicy, spice, peppery berries with some plums, dark chocolate, and dried herbs in the background.  The finish has nice length and again highlights the spicy fruit, dried herbs, and dark chocolate.  This is fairly straight forward but nice, especially as a “cocktail wine”.  With extended air, the fruit did recede a bit allowing more spice, dried herbs, and dark chocolate to show through, but I still lean towards this being a very nice before or after dinner wine.  (88 pts)




2005 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch – $35.00


My comments

This was always one of my favorite Copain Syrahs.  I was disappointed then they stopped making this one.  Granted, this wine was generally fairly ripe which is one of the reasons it was phased out, but it always had nice minerality and maintained good acidity.  The style change at Copain which was either praised or cursed depending on your preferred style of wine caused Copain to lose some of their “buzz”, in my opinion.  I still drink Copain and buy a few bottles, but escalating prices and other buying options has resulted in them having a less prominent place in my cellar.


Winery history

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s RhôneValley in particular. So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best. For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s RhoneValley. During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life. At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him. He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby color, lighter at the edge.  The wine has blackberries, stony minerals, smoke, eucalyptus, wild flowers, black pepper, earthy elements, and a touch of licorice on the enticing nose.  This is medium to full body with ripe, fairly integrated tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows spicy, peppery berries, minerals, and some nice earthy elements.  Nice length on the finish which turns fairly savory after an initial jolt of peppery berries.  This wine is now in its prime drinking window and should hold for a couple of years.  (92 pts)




2005 Terre del Marchesato Emilio Primo Toscana IGT – $18.83


My comments

This is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah (with a small amount of Petit Verdot) from Tuscany.  I grabbed three of these from a Garagiste Wine offer a few years ago but never got around to opening one.  This should be in a good place by now, so it’s time to check it out.


Winery history

The following was translated from Italian to English by Google Chrome, so at places something gets lost in the translation.  🙂


It was 1954 when Emilio Fuselli, a farmer Marches, acquired a plot of land from the Marquis Incisa della Rocchetta essentially for agricultural production, but they are planted the first vineyards. After him, his son Aldo – with their children, Maurice and Giancarlo – continues the expansion of business with the introduction of oil production, but it is definitely that Mauritius becomes the destination, planting only screws. The great passion for the production of wines and high already well developed in the field allow Mauritius to hone their abilities and lead to the first vintage in 2003 and the construction of the cellar: small but innovative and functional, designed to combine the genuine tradition most advanced winemaking technique.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The sensuous nose has black cherries, charcoal, minerals, dark chocolate, mint, cassis, dried herbs, and violets.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  The wine is rich and plush on the palate with smooth red to black fruit and is loaded with dark chocolate and dried herbs, with just a touch of oak peeking in from around the edges.  The finish is fairly long and continues the fruit, chocolate, and spicy oak from the palate.  My first experience with this wine and I’m glad I still have a couple more to enjoy down the road.  (93 pts)




2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard – $67.00


My comments

I’m lucky enough to have been on Saxum’s mailing list since the 2004 vintage.  Since I’ve been a pretty big supporter of their wines, I was allocated three bottles of this wine, which as usual, I snapped up.  Then the scores started pouring in, the magical 100 from Robert Parker followed by it being named Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator.


My three bottles have been sleeping in the cellar since they arrived on my doorstep about 3 years ago.  I pulled this bottle to open at a dinner party last night, but we never got around to opening it.  Since it was already pulled and it will go with our planned dinner this evening, the decision to open it was very easy.


Winery history

Saxum Vineyards is focused on producing Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre based blends from the Templeton Gap/Willow Creek area of Paso Robles. We let our rocky calcareous soils, steep hillsides, sunny days, and cooling ocean breezes speak through our wines by keeping our yields low, picking the fruit at the peak of ripeness, and using a minimalist approach in the cellar. We respect our land and farm everything sustainably without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. Because our vine’s roots penetrate deep through the fissures in the calcareous soil irrigation is rarely needed. Production is kept at 3000-4000 cases a year divided between seven different cuvees, Broken Stones, James Berry Vineyard, Bone Rock, Booker Vineyards, Paderewski Vineyard, Heart Stone Vineyard and Terry Hoage Vineyard.


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)




Mailing Lists



Westerhold Family

I received the offer for their Extended Barrel Aged Syrah.  I have not responded yet but I am leaning towards passing on this offer.  I love their regular syrah and I’m not sure the extended barrel aging is actually worth the 50% uptick in the price.




Wines bought or received this week

It was a busy couple of days receiving wine.


Samples courtesy of Elyse:

2007 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard

2008 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard

2010 Elyse Petite Sirah Barrel Select


Received from Garagiste Wine

(6) 2005 Frenchman Hills Syrah Sentinel Gap Vineyards for $7.99 a bottle

(This was one of their “Mystery Wines”)

(6) 1995 Weingut Franz-Joseph Justen-Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese fuder 9 for $28.93 a bottle


From WineWoot

(3) 2007 Core Tempranillo C3 Reserve

(3) 2008 CoreGrenacheSanta BarbaraCounty

(3) 2008 Core Grenache Reserve Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard

(3) 2007 Core Ground Around




Remember to support your local wine store!




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  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.