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What are We Drinking? Blogcast 88

Australia w. Justin McDonald Part 2

Australia w. Justin McDonald Part 1

What are We Drinking? Blogcast 87

Finger Lakes Riesling - Part Two

Finger Lakes Riesling - Part One

What are We Drinking? Blogcast 86

The Mourvedre Podcast - Part 2

Blogcast Tasting Notes

An archive of our tasting notes and reviews from our Blogcasts.

Terry's Blogcast 46 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Bodegas Abadia Retuerta - Sardon Del Duero, Spain

Wine:  2005 Rivola, (60% Tempranillo, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Info:  This 700 hectare vineyard is located in "The Golden Mile" within Castilla y Leon region and is considered by many as being one of Spain's premiere wine regions. Some other vineyards in the area include, Pingus, Mauro, and Vega.  All bottles come from estate grown fruit that is divided into 54 plots.  Angel Anocibar Beloqui is the current wine maker.  He obtained a Ph.D in enology from the University of Bordeaux. The Rivola is near their entry-level wines of their portfolio, a range from $12-200.  The Rivola is aged for 12 months in French and American oak and is comprised from the estate grown fruit. 

Notes: Nice deep garnet color.  This wine has an earthy nose, with hints of leather, and roasted coffee.  From the nose I was expecting a rustic wine, yet this wine has some new world charm. Great integration of dark cherry, plum, blackberry, and hints of cassis and herbs.  A nice clean taste accompanies this wine with somewhat long finish that ends with coffee and licorice notes.  There is a nice acidity to the wine and it would pair well with food. 

Price: $22  Grade: B

Wine 2:

Producer: Chateau Pasquie - Cotes du Ventoux, S. Rhone, France

Wine: 2005 Les Terrasses - (70% Grenache, 30% Syrah) 8,000 Cases

Info: Chateau Pesquie is located on the Rhone delta and it has very similar soil qualities most similar to Chateauneuf du Pape.  Wine is made at the base of Mount Ventoux, the highest peak in southern France.  Grapes are grown on hillside slopes and this area tends to be much cooler than the surrounding AOC's in Rhone.  Ch. Pasquie created their first vintage in 1989.  Paul Chaudiere is the winemaker and he takes a simple approach to making wine.  Most reds are macerated for 15 days, he believes that some of the wine should be exposed to oak.  For instance the 30 % of Terrasses is aged in oak, the rest is aged in neutral conditions.  The wine is imported by Eric Soloman and is made from 30-60 year old vines.

Notes: A brilliant garnet color, not opaque.  This medium bodied wine had a very interesting aroma with hints of herbs, raspberry, and a bit of barnyard.  The fruit is very lively with this wine interesting strawberry rhubarb quality, with raspberry, cherry and the slightest hint of vanilla.  The finish was somewhat long with hints of cassis and raspberry.  A pleasant wine with some lively tannins.  A great value. 

Price: $22  Grade: B

Scott's Blogcast 46 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Ponzi

Wine:  2005 - Pinot Noir Reserve - Willamette, OR

Price: $40  Grade: B+/A-

Wine 2:

Producer: Reynolds Family

Wine:  2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley, CA

Price: $45  Grade B

Terry's Blogcast 42 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Paul Hobbs 

Wine:  2004 CrossBarn Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Ca.

Info:  Paul Hobbs founded his winery in 1991.  He was a winemaker at Opus One and Simi Winery and has consulted for Peter Michael, Lewis, Vine Cliff, Fisher and Chalone. The CrossBarn label is a blend of wines that he uses for his single vineyard Cabernets.  This wine is a fraction of the cost of these single vineyard Cabs and is a excellent value.  The wine is aged for 20 months in declassified French and American oak barrels.  The wine is unfined and unfiltered. 

Notes: This wine offers a great nose with raspberry, currant, and hints of vanilla and cedar.  Nice soft tannin is evident and this wine has a bit a finesse.  I enjoyed the currant flavors that intermingled with nice spice and cedar.  The finish had hints of herbs, interesting.  A well balanced wine and a relative value.  

Price: $40 Grade: B

Wine 2:

Producer: Domaine d'Andezon

Wine: 2006 Andezon Cotes du Rhone (90% Syrah, 10% Grenache)

Info: Andezon is one of the first cuvees created by importer Eric Solomon.  The vineyard is located on the southwest edge of the Rhone Valley.  The wine is made from 60 to 90 year old vines.  Eric's company, European Cellars is known for working with small wine producers that share his passion of quality verses quantity.  He insists that shipments are made in temperature controlled environments.  He currently imports wine from France, Spain, Portugal, and South Africa.

Notes:  Great deep red color with purple hues is the first thing I noticed with this wine.  The nose is earthy with hints of licorice, leather  and a touch of floralness.  Nice terrior in the glass.  On the palate the first taste is a bit puckering and with time the wine softens.  Fruit takes some time to show, I would decant this wine.  Great dark cherry flavors mixed with blackberry.  The finish has hints of black pepper and licorice.  Great Value. 

Price: $12   Grade: B

Scott's Blogcast 41 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Shibumi Knoll

Wine:   2004 Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley, St. Helena

Info:   Shibumi meaning “effortless perfection” in Japanese.  Founded by Don Ross who was a serious collector of wine for over 20 years.  Shibumi Knoll opened its doors in 2003 just north of St. Helena.  Don hired David Abru as his vineyard manager.  Shibumi Knoll also produces a Chardonnay…with possibly a Gewurztraminer and a Sauvignon Blanc in the future.

Notes: Nose:  Mouth watering dark fruit…dark cherry, blackberry and toasted oak.  Taste:  Wow…it’s a beautiful wine.  Amazing structure loaded with black cherries, dark fruit, toasted oak and earth.

Price: $85  Grade: A-

Wine 2:

Producer: L’Aventure

Wine: 2006 Roussanne – Paso Robles, CA

Info:  Stephan Asseo, a French native, has been making artisan wines for nearly two decades.  L’Aventure is known for it’s syrah blends Optimus, Estate Cuvee and Cote a Cote.  Stephan fell in love with Paso after searching the world for the perfect place to grow syrah…traveled from South Africa to Lebanon, Argentina to Napa.

Notes:   Nose: Fig, Pear, Mushroom.  Taste: Clean bright citrus fruits, slight minerality, long finish of soft oak

Price:  $29  Grade: A- 

Wine 3:

Producer:  Arietta 

Wine:  2002 – Red Wine - H Block Hudson Vineyards-60% Cab Franc 40% Merlot

Info:   A partnership between John Kongsgaard and Fritz Hatton, a wine auctioneer, founded in 1996. In 2005, Fritz bought out the Kongsgaard’s to become the sole owner.  Andy Erickson, the new winemaker, worked with Kongsgaard for a year before taking full reins in the summer of 2006. 

Notes:  Nose: Amazing full bodied nose with cherry, plum, coffee grounds  Taste: Awful… one of the most unpleasant and mouth drying wines that I have ever tasted.  I truly can’t believe that I was drinking the same wine that Parker gave 98 pts.  Maybe it was a bad bottle?  But at $135 per bottle…it’s not worth wasting my money.  

Price: $135   Grade:  D

Terry's Blogcast 41 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: R Wines, McClaren Vale, Australia

Wine:  2006 Strong Arms Shiraz

Info:  Another new label from our friends at The Grateful Palate.  This is the first vintage of Strong Arms, the fruit is sourced from McClaren Vale, Riverland, and Barossa Valley and is aged for 12 months in American and French oak. 

Notes: Beautiful deep red with a vibrant fuchsia rim.  On the nose alcohol is present (15.6%), a bit overwhelming at first.  As the wine opened and my buzz progressed the heat was less apparent on the nose.  There was a nice oak component to the aroma, intermingled with hints of black pepper and spice.  This is a somewhat muted and soft textured wine that has a great balance of acidity, heat, and fruit.  There was a great mix of plum, blackberry, and a nice finish of semisweet chocolate.  A nice value.  Not your typical shiraz under $15.

Price: $12-15  Grade: B

Wine 2:

Producer: Larkmead, Napa Valley, California

Wine: 2005 Meadowlark Cellars Red (73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah)

Info:  This wine is a new label from Larkmead.  The fruit is sourced from an estate grown vineyard and is aged for 17 months in 20% new American oak.  Created by winemaker Andy Smith, who also shares his talents at DuMol.  Prior to working a Larkmead, he had working relationships with Paul Hobbs and Yulumba. 

Notes:  This full bodied wine had a great nose with blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry and nice hints of roast coffee and pepper.  The dark cherry carries over to the palate with raspberry and this nice hint of licorice.  This is a luscious wine with great integration of structure and fruit.  The finish was long with hints of licorice and black pepper.  A great value.

Price: $35-40 Grade: A

Wine 3:

Producer: Henry's Drive, Padthaway, South Australia

Wine: 2006 Pillar Box Reserve, Shiraz

Info:  This is the first vintage of the Reserve addition to the Pillar Box label.  However this is 100% Shiraz and not a blend.  The grapes used were selected from the best Shiraz parcels sourced for the standard Pillar Box Red.   Chris Ringland works as the consultant for all of the Pillar Box varietals. 

Notes:  Right off the bat, great deep red color with purple hues.  The high alcohol content is evident on the nose with mocha, leather, and earthiness.  The taste incorporates the mocha and includes blueberry and dark plum.  A nice soft textured wine with a hint of sweetness provided by the toasted oak.  Great value under $20, over that price there might be better offerings.  On the back label they recommend decanting and I would also would be inclined. 

Price: $17-23  Grade: B

Terry's Blogcast 40 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: La Posta Vinatero, Mendoza, Agrentina

Wine:  2006 Angel Paulucci Malbec (5,000 Cases)

Info:  Angel Paulucci's family has been in the winemaking business since the early 1800's.  When Angel was 21 his family migrated to Argentina.  He has been making wine since 1960 and is a pioneer in Mendoza.  This wine was aged for 10 months in French oak.  The Malbec is sourced from vines that are on average of 34 years old.

Notes: This wine had nice dark purple hues with a nice glycerin halo at its peak.  The nose was muted at first but opened to reveal smoke, chocolate, black pepper, dark cherry, and blueberry.  This medium to full bodied wine had a nice burst of dark fruit, black berry with hints of spice.  The finish was short, but ended with mocha.  The wine lacks structure and is soft.  Very forgettable.

Price: $18  Grade: C+

Wine 2:

Producer: Saint Gregory, (Graziano Family), California

Wine: 2005 Pinot Meunier - Mendocino

Info: Pinot Meunier is a mutated version of Pinot Noir and it's name is derived from the french word "The Miller" because of the white underside of the grape leaf.  The grape is used as a blending component in Champagne to add fruitiness and softness. The Grazino family has resided in Medocino County where they grew and sold grapes since 1918.  They currently make wine under 4 different lables, Saint Gregory, Monte Volpe, Enotria, and Graziano. 

Notes:  Color resembles Pinot Noir,  vibrant red.  This wine had a savory nose with hints of cherry, cola, mineralitly, earth, and toasted oak.  Nice structure with medium tannin.  The initial flavors remind me of pinot noir, but then their are rustic qualities to the wine.  This medium bodied wine had interesting flavors, cherry, asian spice, roasted herbs.  The acidity provided a nice "lift" and finished with toasty notes.  Interesting wine. 

Price: $20  Grade: B

Wine 3:

Producer: Larkmead, Napa Valley, California

Wine: 2005 Meadowlark Cellars Red (73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah)

Info:  This wine is a new label from Larkmead.  The fruit is sourced from an estate grown vineyard and is aged for 17 months in 20% new American oak.  Created by winemaker Andy Smith, who also shares his talents at DuMol.  Prior to working a Larkmead, he had working relationships with Paul Hobbs and Yulumba. 

Notes:  This full bodied wine had a great nose with blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry and nice hints of roast coffee and pepper.  The dark cherry carries over to the palate with raspberry and this nice hint of licorice.  This is a luscious wine with great integration of structure and fruit.  The finish was long with hints of licorice and black pepper.  A great value.

Price: $35-40  Grade: A

Scott's Blogcast 39 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Consilience

Wine:   2005 Roussanne, Santa Barbara County

Info:   Their Roussanne grapes come from the Camp 4 Vineyards which also grows Cab Sauv, Viognier, Riesling, Grenache Blanc, Cinsaut…a total of 14 different grapes.  The vineyard is owned by the Parker Family.  The vineyard has a Rhone like weather cycle…cool mornings , warm days and then returning to cool evenings.  The vineyard is farley new w/ producing it’s first successful harvest in 2003.

Notes: Nose:  Peachy, Honey.  Taste:  Clean, Good Acids, Pineapple, Pear, Honey…into a solid clean finish.

Price: $27.00  Grade: B+

Wine 2:

Producer: Domaine de Las Pousse d’Or

Wine: Volnay 1 er Cru Clos De La Bousse d’Or - 2004

Info: Vineyard located in just downhill from the Volnay town hall.  Grapes are hand picked, completely de-stemmed…spends 15 months in 30% new oak.  No pesticides are sprayed on the vines and only organic fertilizers are used…weed killers are avoided.  Vines are from 1958 (24%), 1967 (16%), 1970 (19%), 1974 (21%) and 1991 (20%).

Notes:   Nose:  Oak, Bright Red Fruits, mouth watering.  Taste:  Really young, some tartness, Oak, Cherry.

Price:  $50 to $80  Grade: C+

Wine 3:

Producer:  Lynmar Estate Wines

Wine:  2005 Quail Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

Info:   Lynn Fritz and family purchased the Quail Hill Vineyard in 1980.  (His background was in global logistics…Fritz Companies purchased by UPS in 2001…listed in the Fortune 1000 ranking in 1997 and humanitarian relief efforts…now runs the Fritz Institute, non-profit organization.)  Lynn founded Lynmar in 1990 with the goal of producing world class Pinots and Chardonnays.  First commercial release was in 1996 with their 1994 vintage.  Quail Hills is around 47 acres of land.

Wine is aged 16 months in 45% new French Oak.  Hugh Chappelle is their Winemaker. Paul Hobbs, one of my favorite Winemakers, is their Wine Consultant.  

Notes:  Nose: Cherry, Floral, Spice and Pomegranate  Taste: Cherry, Earth, Mineral…even Orange Rind as pointed out by … Great Call.  This falls into the “Sexy” wine category.

Price: $60  Grade:  A-

Terry's Blogcast 39 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Patrick Lesec, Rhone, France

Wine:  2000 Cornas Le Vignon, Syrah  (100 Cases)

Info: The Cornas AOC is located in northern Rhone.  This small appellation covers only 235 acres and produces around 200,000 bottles annually.  Syrah is the most widely planted grape and is used in 100% of bottles labeled Cornas. 

Notes:  Muddy and murky this wine exhibits a dense red color.  The aroma is earthy with hints of leather, oak, and anise.  On the palate you notice the oak immediately and then hints of smoked bacon, blackberry.  Over time, licorice was present on the finish. A great wine, always evolving and truly enjoyable.

Price: $35 at release  Grade: A-

Wine 2:

Producer:  Kinton, Santa Barbara, California

Wine:  2005 Syrah (5,900 Cases)

Info:  Kinton’s winemaker is Peter Fraser.  Peter also is the winemaker for Yangarra, located in McLaren Vale, Australia.  Prior to joining Kinton, Peter made wines at St. Hallet, Borassa and Normans Wines, Clarendon.  

Notes:  This medium to full bodied wine had has nice ruby red color, with purple hues.  The nose reveals blueberry, forest floor, and rosemary.  Nice integration of  dark ripe fruit, blackberry, black cherry, and blueberry.  The wine finishes with pepper, blueberry, and a touch of cocoa .  A nice value.

Price: $20 Grade: B

Scott's Blogcast 37 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Moraga Vineyards

Wine:   2002 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot

Info:   Moraga is located in Bel Air, California…suburb of L.A.  Bel Air is said to have similar characteristics of Bordeaux’s microclimate and soil.  The 16 acre vineyard is owned by former CEO of Northrop Aviation, Tom Jones and his wife, Ruth. The property was originally purchased by Tom and Ruth in 1959 as a horse farm.  It’s said that Tom has spent around $2.5 million to plant the vineyard twice.  The vineyard mainly contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  Wine is aged in 100% new French oak for 20 months.  Grapes were first planted in 1978.  To the best of my knowledge, Moraga is the only wine solely grown and produced in Bel Air, CA.  The also make a Sauvignon Blanc.

Notes: Nose:  Black cherry, tobacco, smoke, spice and oak.   Taste:  Full bodied (on the light end of the full spectrum) with really good balance of fruits, acid and tannins.  Flavor notes are currant, black cherry, spice.

Price: $125 and up

Grade: B+

Wine 2:

Producer: Babcock Winery and Vineyard 

Wine: 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon “New Epoch Reserve” (88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot)

Info: Babcock Winery and Vineyard is located in Santa Ynez Valley in Northern Santa Barbara County.  Winemaker Bryan Babcock has been chosen as one of the prestigious James Beard Foundations “Top Ten Small Production Winemakers in the World”.   The property was bought by his parents in 1978…who were looking for a retreat from his dental practice and restaurants they owned in Seal Beach and Corona del Mar.  The winery is still family owned today producing Chards, Sauv Blancs, Pinot Noirs, Pinot Gris, Syrahs, Cab Sauvs.   This specific wine has a production of 365 Cases.  18 months in the barrel w/ 33% New French Oak.

Notes:   Nose: Cherry, Alcohol burst, slight oak.  Taste:  Cherry, Spice, Raspberry, Heat – Didn’t drink like a Cab…more Zin like than anything.

Price: $40

Grade: C

Wine 3:

Producer: Justin Vineyard and Winery

Wine:  2005 Savant – 56% Cabernet Sauvignon – 44% Syrah

Info:   Justin Vineyard and Winery is located in Paso Robles, CA…California’s Central Coast. The central coast area was first planted by Franciscan missionaries in the late 1700’s.  The property by bought by Justin Baldwin and his wife, Deborah, in 1981.  They planted 160 acres of Bordeaux varietals.  They were one of the first 10 wineries in the Paso Robles area.  Now they produce Reds, Whites and Desserts…just about every common varietal you can think of.  Specs on this wine:  18 months in American and French Oak, 68% New.

Notes:  Nose: Dark Fruits, Cassis, Cherry, Spice and Oak.   Taste: Really tight at first…DECANT it!!!  This needs to open…then Dark Fruit, Black Cherry, Earth, Pepper, Spice…complex and elegant w/ nice hints of oak.  

Price: $50.00

Grade: B  (I like Justin’s Cabernet Franc based Justification better

Terry's Blogcast 36 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Celler Can Blau, Monsant, Spain

Wine: 2006 Can blau (40% Carinena, 40% Syrah, 20% Garnacha) (6,500 Cases)

Info: Imported by Jorge Ordonez this wine is from Monsant.  Monsant is horseshoe shaped and surrounds the famed Priorat D.O.  on 3 sides.  This is the lower priced alternative to their Mas De Can Blau.

Notes:  This medium bodied wine possesses a beautiful complex nose.  Smokey at times with hints of blueberry and dark cherry, this wine at first seems to be big and powerful.  This has great structure with medium to firm tannin structure.  Blackberry rolled up with a hint of spice.  A very elegant balanced effort.

Price: $17-20  

Grade: B+

Wine 2:

Producer:  Bodegas Borsao, Campo De Borja, Spain

Wine: 2006 Tres Picos, Garnacha (5,000 Cases)

Info: Made from !00% old vine Garanacha from Campo Borja, located in N. Central Spain.  Named after Alfonso de Borja, who later became Pope Calixtus III.  The wine it self is made from 35-40 year old vine Garnacha. 

Notes:  A real nice clean aroma with hints of cherry, smoke, and a bit of smoke.  The smoke carries on to the taste with a hint of stewed plum and blueberry.  The blueberry is evident on the finish with at hint of spice.   Nice balance of acid and tannin.  Would pair well with food, but is also great on it’s own. 

Price: $13-15

Grade: B

Terry's Blogcast 35 Notes

2005 Bordeaux Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Chateau Beaumont, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux

Wine: 2005 Cru Bourgeois Superieur (50,000 Cases)

Info:  Located in Medoc this Chateau is nestled between 260 acres of vineyards.  The average age of the vines are 20 years old.  The vineyard is comprised of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot.  The wine is aged for 16 months in oak barrels. 

Notes:  Medium garnet red in color.  A little tobacco and earth is noticeable on the nose, with a hint of floralness, a strange mixture.  Nice soft structured wine.  A bit of tartness on the finish.  Good value wine, would probably pair better with food than on its own.

Price: $15   Grade: B -

Wine 2:

Producer: Chateau Durfort-Vivens, Margaux, Bordeaux

Wine:  2005, Grand Cru Classe, (8,300 cases)

Info:  In 1775, Thomas Jefferson visited France and was a big fan of their wine.  The history of the vineyard dates back to the 12th century.  The vineyard has been under it’s current ownership since 1961 by the Lurton family. The vineyard sits on 32 hectares and is comprised of 70% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cab. Franc.  The winemaker is Gonzague Lurton.

Notes:  Dark deep opaque with purple hues.  Somewhat muted fruit on the nose, oak was present with a bit of earth.  This is a medium bodied wine that has is light on fruit.  However, there is a hint of blackberry, licorice, and spice on the palate.  This is a soft wine with complexity. Very unique, not

Price: $40  Grade: B

Wine 3:

Producer: Chateau Larcis-Ducasse, Bordeaux, St. Emilion,

Wine: 2005 Grand Cru, (78% Merlot, 20% Cab. Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon) (3,000 Cases)

Info:  Created by the winemaking duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Darenoncourt. This is their 3rd vintage after acquiring the vineyard in 2002.  The vineyard is located in Cote Pavie.  The vineyard was acquired in

Notes: This was my personal favorite at the tasting.  The wine displayed an amazing nose with layers of mocha, licorice, cedar, muted herbs, and a hint of floralness.  The nose carries on to the palate except it includes this beautiful liquored cherry and blackberry come through.  Velvety and smooth, this is a big powerful fruit driven wine with unsurpassed complexity.

Price: $130  Rating: A

Terry's Blogcast 34 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Rosemount 

Wine: 2000, Balmoral Syrah, McClaren Vale, Australia

Info:  The Balmoral line from Rosemount is their signature line.  This wine is composed of grapes from vines that are up to 100 years old.  Found this bottle at Whole Foods for the low price of $16.  

Notes:  The wine exudes vanilla, cedar, and a hint of light spice on the nose.  Dark opaque red with purple hues.  The wine still has excellent color, with out any bricking.  This is a soft wine with a strong oak presence. The fruit is somewhat muted.  There is a hint of blackberry, plum, and vanilla.  The vanilla again comes through on the finish with a hint of mulling spice.

Price: $40  Grade: C+ (B- for the price I paid)

Wine 2:

Producer: Mendel, Mendoza, Argentina

Wine:  2005, Malbec

Info:  Mendel has been consistently creating some of the best Malbec in the world.  This was created by Roberto de la Mota, formerly from Cheval des Andes.  Using old vines and new techniques.  The wine is sourced from a 77 year old ungrafted vineyard.  The wine is aged for one year in 40% new French oak. 

Notes:  Dark deep opaque with purple hues.  The nose at first was floral with hints of smoky bacon.  Over time the floralness subsided with hints of blackberry and raspberry.  This wine needs time to open.  The initial taste is dominated by a huge tannic structure.  Over a 3 hour period and decanting the fruit began to show.  Blackberry fruit is nicely intertwined with plum, spice and vanilla.  The finish has a bit of salinity to it with hints of mocha.  I would recommend approaching this wine in 2009-11.

Price: $23  Grade: B –

Terry's Blogcast 33 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Joseph Swan Vineyards, Sonoma

Wine: 2001 Mancini Ranch Zinfandel (665 Cases)

Info:  Joseph Swan founded the vineyard in 1968.  After his passing in ’89 his family have carried out his vision of making small lot wine.  A very affordable portfolio is available from their website.  Zinfandel’s begin a $22 and top at $30.  Mostly available to restaurants, they also offer many selections online.

Notes:  Medium garnet red in color.  The nose integrates nice sweetness and with subtle black pepper. Soft textured the wine offers light to moderate tannin.  Raspberry, black cherry and hint of black fruit is evident on the palate.  A great example of how a zinfandel can be elegant.

Price: $25   Grade: B

Wine 2:

Producer: Clos de los Siete, Mendoza, Argentina

Wine:  2005, Clos de los Siete (%40 Malbec, 20% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah) (50,000 Cases)

Info:  Clos de los Siete was established by world renowned winemaker, Michael Rolland in 1998.  The venture was financed by some of Bordeaux’s famous families.  The idea behind the project was that each investor would build their own winery and also contribute to Clos de los Siete.  Only three vineyards have been established, Monteviejo, Cuvelier los Andes, and Flechas de los Andes.     

Notes:  Dark deep opaque with purple hues.  The nose at first was earthy with dark chocolate.  Over time the aroma evolved showing more black fruit and prune.  The tannin envelopes the palate yet it velvety.  Rich blackberry and hint of sweetness on the taste.  This one needs some time to age.

Price: $16  Grade: B

Stevo's Blogcast 32 Notes

Wine 1:

Fonthill 'Sea Air' Verdelho  McLaren Vale, 2006 
Info:  This wine is being brought into the Chicago area market by Todd Hess.  Todd was the former Wine Director at Sam's.  He left to form his own import/distribution company called H2Vino.  Fonthill is a fairly new winery in southern Oz.  Fonthill makes a shiraz, a grenache and this, their sole white.  The good news for us is that the owner, Mo Ansaar, creates most of these wines for import so they should be in your market or hitting your market soon.
Notes:  Pale straw coloring.  Aromatic nose....Stone fruit...white flowers...lemon grass.  Fruitier and rounder on the palate than I expected.  Crisp but quite tropical.  I'd love to have this again in springtime...or with some Vietnamese Springrolls.  Think of a riesling/viognier blend and you've got it in a nutshell.  I'd like to have this wine in my portfolio.  Looking forward to finding & trying the reds.
Price:  $15   Grade:  B+/A-
Elk Cove Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, 2006
Info:  Founded by Pat & Joe Campbell 30 years ago.  Now in the hands of their son Adam Godlee Campbell for the past 10.  They tend to 120+ acres on 3 separate sites in northern Willamette.  They hit all the Pinot's; gris, blanc, single vineyard noir...and they have a special blend called Ultima, a riesling, gewurtz, muscat blend.  We've been a big fan of their Pinot Noir and I was pretty eager to try this from an excellent vintage.
Notes:  Garnet red...a littler deeper in color than your typical ruby colored pinot.  Red fruits and a nice earthy/loamy-ness.  Not funky or barnyardy.  Nice fruit and spice on the palate.  Good structure due to the balanced acidity and nice minerality.  Light oak influence on the palate with some licorice and spice.
Price: $26  Grade: B
La Spinetta, Campe, Vursu, Barolo 2003
La Spinetta translates to "Top of the hill" & refers to their 1st location in Castagnole Lanze since 1977.  Carlo, Bruno & Giorgio Rivetti own the label.  Giorgio is the head winemaker. He has 5 members in his winemaking team.  These guys produce roughly 650,000 bottles of wine a year.  Almost half from the Piedmont & about 200k from Tuscany.  75% of their production is for export and we, here in the states take half.  Yes, we're greedy bastards!    Their philosophy in the vineyard is to tend extensively to the sites year-round.  Produce extremely low yields.  Tend to the vines without chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides of any kind.  They are in fact 75% bio-dynamic.
Notes:  100% Nebbiolo, 14.5% Alcohol. 2,500 bottles produced.  Vines 35-45 years old.  Medium toasted French oak barrels for  2 years.  Stainless steel vats for 9 months prior to bottling.  Then another year in bottle prior to release.
Very dark ruby red.  Crazy nose;  Menthol/mint,  Tar-scorched earth.  Dark fruits.  Definitely taste the new oak influence..  Vanilla & Licorice meld with the wonderful ripe plum/strawberry flavors.  Tannic but terrific.  Needs another 5 years but is a f*cking dynamo.  Should last 'til my 75th birthday.
Price:  $125   Grade:  A

Terry's Blogcast 31 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Domaine Raspail Ay, Gigondas, France

Wine: 2004, Gigondas (80% Grenache,

Info:  Te Kairanga has six vineyards located in Martinborough.  They are one of NZ’s largest producers of wine.  Website lacks info about winery and history. 

Notes:  Light to medium garnet red in color, there is no disguising this is a Pinot.  The nose has nice floral and cherry qualities with a hint of light leather.  The texture leaves little to be desired, thin.  Light cherry flavors intermingle with oak on the palate.  This is as typical as you can expect from new world pinot. 

Price: $40   Grade: C-

Wine 2:

Producer:  Heartland Wines, South Australia 

Wine:  2005, Heartland Shiraz, (56% Limestone Coast 44% Langhorne Creek)

Info:  Heartland wines was created by a small group of South Australian wine identities.  They have 3 labels under management, Stickleback, Coast & Creek, and their flagship Directors’ Cut.   

Notes:  Dark deep red and very opaque in color.  This wine has a very complex nose with layers of mocha, leather, black currant and vanilla.  Tasted nice dark fruit with blackberry and plum and some sweetness from the oak.  The wine finishes with black currant and hint of pepper.  Lacks acidity and alcohol (14.5%), still would consider it a good value.

Price: $14  Grade: B

Wine 3:

Producer:  Chateau Reynella, McLaren Vale, Australia 

Wine:  2002, Grenache McLaren Vale Basket Pressed, 1000 cases

Info:  Named after the Reynell family who pioneered the McLaren region in the 1840’s.  The vineyard was family owned until the 1970.  Hardy’s wine group purchased Reynell in ’82. 

Notes:  Nice earthy nose with a hint of mint and cherry.  The earthiness comes thorough on the taste with nice raspberry, cherry and currant.  Great tannin structure provides a nice light finish.  Interesting wine that should be decanted at minimum for 1 hour.

Price:  $24   Grade:  B-

Terry's Blogcast 30 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Novelty Hill, Columbia Valley, WA.

Wine: 2004, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Info:  Novelty Hill introduced their first vintages in 2002.  They recruited winemaker Mike Januik to oversee production.  Mike was the head winemaker at Ch. Ste. Michelle for ten years before starting his own winery in 1999.  Their wine is categorized from fruit from either  Columbia Valley or Stillwater Creek.  Stillwater is their estate grown fruit. 

Notes: Nice earthy aroma with blackberry, vanilla, and cinnamon spice.  Spice is predominate on first taste, yet it fades over time.  Cassis and blueberry flavors are light and thin.  On medium to full wine that is a bit thin on fruit and high on tannin. 

Price: $22   Grade: B-

Wine 2:

Producer:  La Posta del Vinatero, Mendoza, Argentina

Wine:  2005, Malbec, Angel Paulucci Vineyard

Info: Angel Paulucci's family has produced wine in Italy since the early 1800's, and Angel arrived in Mendoza 1953 at the age of 21. In 1960, he planted his first Malbec vineyard, and in 1970 he planted a special block of Malbec vines in Ugarteche at the southern limit of the Lujan de Cuyo.

Notes:  Rich garnet in color.  On the nose this wine has nice dried cherry and raspberry aroma and light clean oak aroma.  The cherry is evident on that palate yet viscous raspberry liquor dominates the flavor profile.  Medium tannin structure with low acid. 

 Price: $15  Grade: B-

2007.11.09 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 29

Scott's Blogcast 29 Notes

Wine 1:

Wine 2:

Wine 3:

Coming Soon....

Stevo's Blogcast 29 Notes

Wine 1:

Wine 2:

Wine 3:

Coming Soon....

Terry's Blogcast 29 Notes

Wine 1:

Wine 2:

Wine 3:

Coming Soon....

2007.09.14 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 28

Scott's Blogcast 28 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Culler Wines 

Wine:   2004 Syrah,  Griffin Vineyard, Yountville, CA

Info: Culler Wines is owned by Karen Culler.  She started producing her own wines in 1997 after spending over a decade at Robert Mondavi Winery.  Culler produces mainly Syrah and Cabs.  This specific vineyard is shared with Pax Mahle…I would assume that Pax uses the site to produced his Griffin’s Lair Syrah.

Notes:  Nose:  Dark Fruit, Smoky Oak and Spice   Taste:  Gets better with time to breath…decant, decant, decant.  Big tasting dark fruit…blackberry, Oak, Mouth Warming and a really long finish of pepper/heat. 

Price: $35  Grade: A-....great deal for a baby Pax

Wine 2:

Producer: Climbing Wines  

Wine: 2005 Shiraz – Orange, Australia

Info: Made by winemaker, Philip Shaw, in the Orange region on Australia.  Simply put…Philip Shaw is a wine stud.

Notes:  Nose:  Oaky Plumb…mild      Taste:  Surprisingly balanced for an under $10 wine.  Young.  Fruit is very lively…full of Plum and mild pepper.  Wow, an age worthy wine under $10  

Price:  $9  Grade: A-

Wine 3:

Producer:  Martinelli 

Wine:  2004 Zinfandel – Jackass Vineyard – Russian River, Sonoma County, California

Info:  Martinelli family has been making wine for 5 generations in Sonoma.  This '04 Jackass Vineyard is crafted by Winemaker, Helen Turley. 

Notes:  Nose:  Great Nose of bright strawberries  Taste:  First off…it’s 17.1% Vol.!!!!  Surprisingly Balanced…I really didn’t pick up on heat until it had been open for over and hour.   Crazy Legs on the glass.  Strawberry, Cherry Coke and Spice

Price: $65 to $70  Grade: A-

Terry's Blogcast 28 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Te Kairanga, Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Wine: 2003, Pinot Noir, Reserve

Info:  Te Kairanga has six vineyards located in Martinborough.  They are one of NZ’s largest producers of wine.  Website lacks info about winery and history. 

Notes:  Light to medium garnet red in color, there is no disguising this is a Pinot.  The nose has nice floral and cherry qualities with a hint of light leather.  The texture leaves little to be desired, thin.  Light cherry flavors intermingle with oak on the palate.  This is as typical as you can expect from new world pinot. 

Price: $40   Grade: C-

Wine 2:

Producer:  Heartland Wines, South Australia 

Wine:  2005, Heartland Shiraz, (56% Limestone Coast 44% Langhorne Creek)

Info:  Heartland wines was created by a small group of South Australian wine identities.  They have 3 labels under management, Stickleback, Coast & Creek, and their flagship Directors’ Cut.   

Notes:  Dark deep red and very opaque in color.  This wine has a very complex nose with layers of mocha, leather, black currant and vanilla.  Tasted nice dark fruit with blackberry and plum and some sweetness from the oak.  The wine finishes with black currant and hint of pepper.  Lacks acidity and alcohol (14.5%), still would consider it a good value.

Price: $14  Grade: B

Wine 3:

Producer:  Chateau Reynella, McLaren Vale, Australia 

Wine:  2002, Grenache McLaren Vale Basket Pressed, 1000 cases

Info:  Named after the Reynell family who pioneered the McLaren region in the 1840’s.  The vineyard was family owned until the 1970.  Hardy’s wine group purchased Reynell in ’82. 

Notes:  Nice earthy nose with a hint of mint and cherry.  The earthiness comes thorough on the taste with nice raspberry, cherry and currant.  Great tannin structure provides a nice light finish.  Interesting wine that should be decanted at minimum for 1 hour.

Price:  $24   Grade:  B-

Stevo's Blogcast 28 Notes

coming soon....

2007.08.24 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 27

Terry's Blogcast 27 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Twisted Oak, Vallencito, Calaveras AVA, Ca.  

Wine: 2004, Murgatroyd, Calaveras County (54% Cab, 25% P. Verdot, 13% Tempranillo,  7% Grenache) 

Info:  Twisted Oak is located in Calaveras County 20 miles west of Los Angeles.  Their wine is primarily sold directly.  Owner, Jeff Stai has a real good sense of humor and sends a rubber chicken per case order. Established in 2004, they planted mostly Tempranillo, Grenache, Granciano, to take advantage of their climate. Awesome website with great information. 

Notes:  Deep red with slight purple color is what is first noticed on this wine. A fairly aromatic wine with blueberry, raspberry, and hint of floral notes.  When tasting this wine the blueberry and raspberry come through ending with a drying herbal finish.  A bit flabby, very little acid.  Interesting wine, tasted a bit rustic. 

Price: $18-24   Grade: B-

Wine 2:

Producer:  Laurel Glen, Sonoma, Ca.

Wine:  2002, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Mountain

Info:  Laurel Glen was established 30 years ago in Sonoma.  They own vineyards in Sonoma, Lodi, and Argentina.  There wines are widely available world wide.

Notes: Bright ruby red, not opaque.  Complex nose combines licorice, mocha, leather, and a bit of floral-ness.  Nice firm tannins envelope the palate.  Black currant, red cherry are nicely integrated with soft vanilla.  A long finish with cherry and licorice.  Interesting wine, still young.  Wish I waited at least a year.  This is an elegant wine with velvety tannins.

Price: $55  Grade: B-

Scott's Blogcast 27 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Dusky Goose 

Wine:   2004 Dusky Goose Pinot Noir

Info:  Dusky Goose is a limited production Pinot Noir, created for the Carter (3rd Generation Wheat Growers & Cattle Ranchers) and Lundgren families by winemaker, Lynn Penner-Ash.  Winery is located in the Dundee Hills of Oregon

Notes:  Nose: layers of Cherry and    Taste:  Balanced, Red Fruit forward w/ hints of blackberry, mineral and spice…elegant,  with an Excellent Cherried finish

Price: $49  Grade: A-

Wine 2:

Producer: Kenefick Ranch

Wine:  2003 Cabernet Sauvignon – Estate Grown

Info: Founded by Dr. Thomas Kenefick, a former Chief of Neurosurgery at California Pacific Medical Center & St. Mary’s Hospital & Medical Center in San Francisco.

Notes:   Nose:   Dark Fruit, Vanilla, Oak and Chocolate   Taste: Dark Fruits, Plum, Dark Chocolate, Spice…BALANCED…must buy more…must drink more

Price: $60  Grade: A-

Stevo's Blogcast 27 Notes

Wine 1:

Louis Chenu, Savigny "Haut-Jarrons",  Savigny les Beaunes 1er Cru, 2005
Info: www.louischenu.com  Imported by Weygandt-Metzler
The Winery is being run by the daughters, Juliette & Caroline.  They currently make 5 reds and 2 whites.  All of their wines are from Savigny les Beaunes.  Aux Clous, Hauts Jarrons, Les Lavieres & Les Talmettes are their 1er Crus and all show different personalities based on their location, age of vines and soil content.  The Haut-Jarrons comes from the sandiest of the soils and tends to be full, rich & tannic,  The girls recommend a few years for this one to open.
Notes:  Nice aromatics right from the start...Cherry, Violets, slight forest floor & a surprising hint of sweetness.  Excellent balance of fruit and crispness.  Oak comes into play on the lightly spiced finish.  Nice fade of flavors on the palate.  Ready now.  Will be dynamite in a few years...
Price:  $30  Grade:  B+/A-

Wine 2:

Bouchard (Pere et Fils), Grand Vin de Beaune Greves, "Vigne de L'Enfant Jesus", 2005
Info:  Imported by Henriot Inc,  www.bouchard-pereetfils.com
One of Burgundy's oldest and most respected houses is responsible for this wine, derived from one of the best vineyards in the Beaune-Grèves appellation. Prior to the French Revolution, the Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus vineyard belonged to an order of Carmelite nuns especially devoted to the Infant Jesus. I first heard of this wine a few years ago from Tina Caputo on Wine X.  She tells of the legend that the nuns were so enamored of the wine's silky texture that they exclaimed, "It slips down the throat as easily as the Infant Jesus in velvet pants." Bouchard's website claims that it was named due to the fact that the head nun predicted the birth of future King of France Louis XIV, when his mother had been sterile.  Who knows but I like the former story better even though the picture has Baby Jesus in a funky dress and not pants...who wouldn't like to see baby Jesus in some hot velvet pants??!!
Notes:  On the nose, Cherry-Raspberry, Rose petals, Awesome bouquet!  Very flavorful.  Caresses the palate but still has some nice lift and texture from the tannins.  Ready to go now but would be stellar in a few years.
Price:  $70  Grade: A

Wine 3:

Leroy, Savigny les Beaunes, "Les Ratausses", 2003
Info:  Leroy is home to 9 grand cru wines, 8 premier cru as well as another 10 or so village level wines.  Madame Bize-Leroy has been cultivating strictly biodynamically since 1989.  Robert Parker stated years ago that "Lalou Bize-Leroy stands alone at the top of Burgundy's quality hierarchy.  Because she is a perfectionist, because she has had the courage to produce wines from low yields and bottle wines naturally, without fining or filtration."  If your a WS guy or gal, you can read a number of articles from Bruce Sanderson exclaiming her mastery as well.
Notes:  Richly colored.  It's a toss up between this and Baby Jesus for WOD.  Concentrated flavors pop from the glass,  Dense fruit but very well balanced with the very fine structure carrying the wine across the palate.  By absolutely no means a 'fruit bomb'...very sexy wine...a deal closer for sure. 
Price:  $70  Grade:  A

Honorable Mention:

Guillard, Gevrey-Chambertin, "Aux Corvess", 2005, Imported by Peter Weygandt
Is Eddie Vedder in the house?  "Cause I've got one word for this wine; "Chronic".  Snoop dogg and Chris Tucker would get "High-high!"   Pleasant fruit despite the herbal stank.  Crisp acidity but just too green for me. 
Price:  $40  Grade:  C+

2007.08.10 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 26

Stevo's Blogcast 26 Notes

Wine 1:

Info:  The Giacosa family has been making wine in the Langhe region of Piedmont for three generations. Bruno Giacosa credits his winery’s success to his respect for traditional winemaking methods which enhance the characteristics of Piedmont's varietals. 
The Giacosa property covers 37 acres that are entirely cultivated to vines. The altitude of the estate, its ideal exposure (south/south-west), and the microclimate combine to create optimal winegrowing conditions. Giacosa makes wine not only with grapes from his property but also with grapes purchased from growers he has known for 30 years and trusts completely. In fact, he made his reputation as an outstanding selector of fruit. 

In the vineyard, yields are kept intentionally low (less than 2.5 tons per acre) to concentrate the flavors in the fruit. The winemaking methods employed are scrupulous and traditional without ignoring the benefits of modern techniques.
Made from 100% Arneis, an indigenous varietal cultivated in the Roero area. This wine was fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks, where it was aged for three additional months prior to bottling, to ensure additional elegance. In the local dialect, “Arneis” means difficult or stubborn; this grape’s delicate skin makes this one of the toughest varietals to grow in Piedmont.
Notes:  Pale Gold-Brilliant, Floral, Slightly flinty, Red Apple & Pear.  Crisp but Deep.  Very flavorful...floral aspect lingers on the palate with the pear liqueur.  Very pretty wine but not a lightweight.  Phenomenal.  One of my favorite whites this year. 
Cost:  $20-25  Grade:  A

Wine 2:

Info: Domaine Albert Mann is the fruit of the joint efforts of two big viticultural families, Mann and Barthelmé. Mann's are winegrowers since the beginning of the 17th century and Barthelmé since 1654.

Today the brothers, Maurice and Jacky Barthelmé, assisted by theirs wives, Marie-Claire and Marie-Thérèse, manage the family estate.
Notes:  First time with this varietal and before I did any research on it here's what I jotted down...A Stunner!  Kind of a cross between a riesling & a pinot blanc.  Very nice fruit and balanced acidity.  Simple but very enjoyable
Price: $15-20  Grade: B

Terry's Blogcast 26 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Mollydooker,  Australia

Wine: 2006, Maitre D’, Cabernet, McClaren Vale

Info: This is the second vintage of Sarah and Sparky Marquis Mollydooker label.  The 2005 vintage claimed critical success.  These wines were considered by many as being over the top with excellent integrations of fruit, spice, and flavor. 

Notes:  The nose has a predominance of smoke and spice.  Alcohol is also present on the nose.  Black fruit is evident on the palate with blackberry fruit wrapped in spice and cassis.  On the finish the alcohol predominates the finish.  This wine was a bit of a disappointment.  Possibly, this one just needs time in the cellar. 

Price: $20 Grade: C+

Wine 2:

Producer: R Winery, South Eastern Australia

Wine: 2005 Evil Cabernet

Info:  R Winery was established by Chris Ringland.  The wines from this vineyard are focused on value based wines.  When we met Chris he explained the name of the wine.  He said that they tried naming the wine various names and the FDA refused all of them.  As a joke he named the wine Evil and to his surprise they accepted.  

Notes:  Dark deep red with purple hues are noticeable.  The aroma of blackberry and vanilla a present.  Flavors of currant and blackberry coat the palate.  This is a big wine.  Great integration of oak, is this really $10?  Great balance, excellent value.

Price: $10 Grade: B

Scott's Blogcast 26 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Kenefick Ranch Winery

Wine 2003 Cabernet Franc

Info:   Founded by Dr. Thomas Kenefick, a former Chief of Neurosurgery at California Pacific Medical Center & St. Mary’s Hospital & Medical Center in San Francisco.

Notes:  Nose: Lush Red Fruit, Chocolate, Oak and Vanilla    Taste:  Wow, Chocolate, Oak, Dark Fruit, Spice…So Elegant!!

Price: $50 to $55     Grade: A

Wine 2:

Producer:  Monte Xanic - Calixa

Wine 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon – Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Info:   Founded in 1987, Monte Xanic is located 1300 feet above sea level and 10 miles from the Pacific Coast.  Xanic is an appellatice of the native Cora Indian that means “the flower that blooms after the rains.”  Monte Xanic  is Spanish for the word hill.

Notes:  Nose: Black Cherry and Currant  Taste:  First off…let this breath for at least an hour…let it mellow.  Black Cherry, Currant, Alcohol heat.

Price: $10? to $15? – 10,000 Cases    Grade: B-

2007.07.20 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 25

Terry's Blogcast 25 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Tensley Wines, Santa Barbara, CA.

Wine: 2005, Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah

Info:  Located in Los Olivios, in Santa Barbara, Tensley Wines released their first vintage in 1998.  Tensley focuses on Syrah and production has blossomed into 3,300 cases for ’06. 

Notes: Inky purple hues are noticeable with the “death cloud” of glycerin.  Immediately I was taken back by the complexity of the nose.  Cherry aromas are integrated with smoke and spice.  This fruit driven wine has great cherry and raspberry flavors.  Viscous in texture, the finish ends with licorice and black pepper.  Ranks up there with Shadow Canyon’s Syrah. 

Price: $32-38 Grade: A

Wine 2:

Producer:  Thorn-Clarke, Barossa, Australia

Wine:  2005 Shotfire Ridge, Shiraz

Info:  Thorne-Clarke was established in 1854 and is a 6th generation owned and operated vineyard located in Barossa.  The Shotfire series is their mid level offering.

Notes:  Dark deep red with purple hues. Awesome big nose featuring blackberry, pepper, and spice.  Firm tannic wine with great mouth feel.  Complex palate, featuring dark cherry, blackberry, and raspberry.  Long finish.  Needs plenty of time to open.  Great value

Price: $17  Grade: B

Scott's Blogcast 25 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Robert Foley Vineyards          

Wine:  2004 Petite Sirah

Info:   Grapes from the Peterson Vineyard in Calistoga

Notes:  Nose:  Taste: Giant tasting…A jammy rich Blueberry tannin MOAB – Parker writes that is got a life of three decades

Price: 50   Grade: A-/A

Wine 2:

Producer:  Benedict Loosen-Erben 

Wine:  “Urziger Wurzgarten” Riesling Auslese, Mosel 1986

Info:  From the Great Dr. Loosen located in Western of Germany along the Mosel River.   

Notes:  Nose:  Crazy Petrol  Taste:  Creamy with delicately muted Sweetness.  The sugar has faded but still held it’s own w/ Poached Cockles covered in Roasted Mayan Scarlet Peppers

Price: $40    Grade: B+ by itself, A w/ spicy food

Wine 3:

Producer:  Torres Vina Sol 

Wine:  "Parellada" 2004 Penedes, ,

Info: Parellada grapes are grown just west of Barcelona – Mediterranean Sea – Mainly used as a blending grape in Sparkling Cava.    

Notes:  Nose: lively fruit w/ some hints of cayenne.  Taste: pineapple, red apple, fennel

Price:  $9 Grade:  B (a really interesting value wine)

Stevo's Blogcast 25 Notes

Wine 1:

Coming Soon

Blogcast 24 Notes

Grateful Palate Imports Tasting Notes...Coming Soon

Clarendon Hills - 2003 - Grenache  - Grade: A

Paringa - 2005 Shiraz - Grade: B+/A-

Marquis Philips "Grail of Lisa" - 2005 - Shiraz - Grade: A

3 Rings "Reserve" - 2005 - Shiraz - Grade: A

R Winery "R" - 2005 - Cabernet Sauvignon - Grade: A

Gibson's - 2004 - Old Vine Shiraz - Grade: A

2007.07.06 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 25

Scott's Blogcast 23 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Beckmen Vineyards

Wine:  2003 Syrah Clone #1 

Info:  A year after selling his electronic music business, the Roland Corp, in 1993, Tom Beckmen and his wife, Judy, founded Beckmen Vineyards.  They purchased the old Houtz winery.   Beckmen Vineyards is located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County.  The land that they purchased was planted with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon that had not realized its full potential due to neglect and incorrect varietal selection. The vineyard was replanted to the correct varietal selection on the correct rootstock, implementing modern viticulture practices in the vineyard. Today, the Beckmen wines portray the commitment that has been made in the vineyard.

Tom and Steve, his winemaker son,  came to believe that the Santa Ynez region had the ideal climate and growing conditions for producing stunning Rhone varietals. This belief became a reality when the Beckmens purchased the property that would become Purisima Mountain Vineyard, an unplanted 365-acre Santa Ynez Valley ranch uniquely suited to Rhone varietals. 

Beckmen Vineyards has stayed true to the land, and true to its vision. Believing that the wine in the bottle begins in the soil, Beckmen Vineyards has pursued a course of minimal intervention winemaking that respects the unique riches of Purisima Mountain Vineyard. The winery now produces a full line of excellent estate grown Rhone varietals including Syrah, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Rose, Marsanne, and Cuvee Le Bec (a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Counoise) that exemplify the capabilities of the region. It also produces small quantities of first-rate Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc made from smaller vineyard lots that are well suited to these varietals.

Notes:  Nose:  Lot’s of Dark Fruit, berries and a hint of smoke.  Taste: Has really nice balance, it’s a full bodied syrah with some great fruit.  

Price: $40 to $45  Grade: B+/A-

Wine 2:

Go to fullsize image

Producer:  Klinker Brick

Wine:  2004 Old Ghost Zinfandel

Info:   Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.  We got to meet Lynne Whyte Barnard and Rob Henke.  Lynne designed the label for the Old Ghost.  We had a great time talking to them…really nice people. 

Notes:  Nose:  Berry, Oak  Taste:  Berry, Plum, Nice Warmth, Excellent Finish

Price:  $35  Grade: A-

Stevo's Blogcast 23 Notes

Wine 1:

Orin Swift, The Prisoner 2005
Don't make the mistake that assuming the name(s) on the wine is(are) the name(s) of the owner or wine maker.  Saying something like "I like Elizabeth Spencer Pinot.  I think she kicks ass."  in 2006 would be like saying "I like Jethro Tull's Aqualung.  I think he kick ass."  back in 1981.  And in both cases you'd sound like a dumbass.  In both cases, I certainly did...
Orin Swift is the brainchild of David Finney, the owner/winemaker.  Orin is his Dad's middle name and Swift is his Mom's maiden name.  There.  Now you're in the know...on to the wines.  He makes a Cabernet named "Mercury", a Sauv Blanc named "Veldora" and a red blend named "The Prisoner".  He sources all of his fruit from Napa and is working on 20 acres that he just recently purchased for himself.
The Prisoner is roughly 50% Zin, 25% Cabernet, 15% Syrah, 10% Durif (Petit Sirah) with a splash of Charbono.  
Notes: Dark red with purple...kinda like the background of the picture on the label.  Not inky or death cloud like.  Wine seems intense and refined.  Smokiness from the syrah and dark fruits from the Zin.  Cab gives it nice weight and structure.  I get a lot of dark berry, red plum, and spice.  Not hot.  Not jammy either.  Fruity but savory as well.  What can I say?  This baby is not only right in our wheelhouse, we'd knock this out of the ballpark and then punch Michael Barrett in the face after rounding the bases...(Sorry, it's a Chicago -Cubs/Sox thing). 
Grade:  A   Price:  $30

Wine 2:

DeLille, Doyenne Roussanne 2005
DeLille Cellars was founded in 1992 and currently produces five Bordeaux-styled wines: Grand Ciel, Chaleur Estate Red, D2, Harrison Hill and Chaleur Estate Blanc. DeLille also produces the Doyenne line which includes a Northern Rhône-styled Syrah, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape styled red named Métier, a Provence-styled white named Métier Blanc, a Roussanne and a Provence-styled red name Aix.  All wines from DeLille are made with the highest “hand-crafted” standards. Only grapes from the oldest and best vineyards in Washington State are acquired, primarily from the Red Mountain AVA.
Robert Parker Jr. of the “Wine Advocate” rated DeLille Cellars as one of the top four Washington producers, bestowing the title of the “Lafite Rothschild of Washington State”.  The Institute of the Masters of Wine in London, England also honored DeLille Cellars with the “Certificate of Excellence” award, the only winery from the northwest to receive this honor.
Scott and I tasted a half dozen of the current wines last month and they kicked f*cking ass!  Top 3 table out of 100 studs.
Notes:  Yellow green in color, almost a golden chartreuse.  Nice viscosity.  Intense but pretty bouquet.  Apricot Jam and White Flowers.  Weighty but soft on the palate.  Honeyed Citrus and Yellow fruit.  Not cloying or jammy at all.  Rich but Crisp.  Long and balanced. 
Grade:  A   Price:  $30

Terry's Blogcast 23 Notes

Wine 1:

04 napa zin 

Producer: Branham Estate Wines, Sonoma, CA.

Wine: 2004, Rockpile Zinfandel (95% Zin, 5% Petite Sirah)

Info: Gary Branham has been a pioneer in promoting the Rockpile AVA in Sonoma County since 2001.  Named after the Rockpile Peak that stands above Lake Sonoma, this AVA has been established by fellow winemakers, Carol Shelton, JC Cellars, and Rosenblum. 

Notes:  The nose has a predominance of dark raisin and chocolate aromas.  The raisin is evident on the palate with plum and blackberry flavors.  Light spice is noticeable on the finish, but is muted by the presence of oak.  This is a tannic wine, if drank blind would be hard to pinpoint.  Low case production at less than 300 cases.

Price: $25-30 Grade: C+

Wine 2:


Producer: Oyster Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand

Wine: 2005 Marlborough Pinot Noir

Info:  Oyster Bay’s first vintage was released in 1991 and has become NZ’s 3rd largest wine maker.  Owned by Delegat’s Wine Estate their focus is on quality wine at a value price.

Notes:  Nice bright red color introduces you to this fragrant wine.  A little forest floor interlaced with cherry and spice are noted on the aroma.  Very new world in style.  The flavors are comprised of dark cherry, strawberry, and a touch of plum.  French oak adds nice structure.  A soft and elegant wine at a value price.  

Price: $15 Grade: B

2007.05.18 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 22

Terry's Blogcast 22 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Oakville Ranch, Napa, CA.

Wine: 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2002

Info: Ashley Heisey is the winemaker for Oakville Ranch. She has worked in various capacities at several of Napa Valley's finest wineries, including Opus One, Robert Mondavi Winery, and Schramsberg Vineyards.  Ashley also is the winemaker for Long Meadow Ranch.

Notes: Nice nose with plum and cherry.  Vanilla is also noticeable on the aroma and palate.  The wine has a clean taste with nice fruit component, mostly plum and cherry.  This is a soft wine that ends with a hint of cocoa

Price: $50-60 Grade: C+/B-

Wine 2:

Red (Shiraz Durif)

Producer: Rutherglen Estates, Victoria, Australia 

Wine: 2005, “Red” (85% Shiraz, 15% Durif) 

Info:  Rutherglen was established in 1997. Their early vintages were primarily sold and distributed throughout Europe and Australia.  A majority of their vines are of the Rhone varietals.  

Notes: A complex nose with spice, blackberry, and scorched earth.  The taste is a little disjointed from the nose.  Blueberry coats the palate with fresh and light spice on the finish.  Great tannin structure rarely seen in this price range.  

Price: $12 Grade: B

Stevo's Blogcast 22 Notes

Wine 1
2006 Huia Sav Blanc $17 2005 Huia Sauvignon Blanc
The Huia was a unique New Zealand bird from the wattlebird family. The pair co-existed as a team in the dense forest canopy.  It is the only bird in the world in which the bills of the male and female birds are different in shape and size. This unique feature along with the bird beautiful plumage generated great interest from international collectors. The tail feathers were highly prized by Maori and Europeans alike. The last official sighting of the Huia was in 1907
The Sauvignon Blanc 2006 was harvested from five different vineyards, spread over the Wairau Valley. These locations were selected to increase the depth of varietal flavour. Harvest commenced very early for Marlborough on the 15th March with all Sauvignon Blanc harvested by the 25th.  Some of the grapes were hand-picked then crushed and pressed, and some were machine harvested.  Both of these systems are to maximize flavor and minimize handling. The grapes were pressed with the different vineyards being kept in separate vessels. A portion was fermented with natural yeast to add further richness to the palate of the wine. This was to maintain vivacious fruit aromatics and flavor.
The Wine: Clean fresh grapefruit, grass & gingered spice on the noce.  Grapefruity without being overly tart.  Slightly spiced citrus on the finish.  Very nice wine.  Grade B
Wine 2
2004 Guillard Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes- Aux Corvees  $33
A Peter Weygandt Selection.  A reliable importer...missed on this one.  Bit of Char on the nose, Kirsch as well.  Kirsched on the front...but it quickly turns tart & bitter...very green.  I gagged on the finish.  Dump this shit!  D
Wine 3
2004 Chappellet Estate  $100
78% Cabernet, 14% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot.
The Chappellet family has been crafting world class wines from their Pritchard Hill estate vineyards since 1967.  Spurred by the notion that Bacchus loves the hills and that mountain fruit would make superior wine, Chappellet followed the advice of legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff and settled on the rocky eastern slopes of the Napa Valley. The Chappellets were the first to plant vineyards exclusively on high elevation hillsides and the second winery to be established in the Napa Valley after Prohibition.
When crafting each wine for Chappellet, winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus handles the grapes very gently, processes them as little as possible and uses fermentation and cellaring techniques to preserve the distinctiveness of Chappellet's mountain fruit. 
They use organic farming techniques such as nutrient rich cover crops, bird boxes and compost tea in irrigation to help prevent infestation of microscopic pests and diseases in an environmentally responsible way.  Chappellet’s estate vineyards include 110 acres planted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Chenin Blanc.   
The Wine:  Lot going on with this baby.  Somewhat muted nose.  Flavors really pop. Spiced currant  More on the palate than on the nose.  Could use some more time...6 months to a year.  Definitely worth a buck.  B+
Honorable Mention: 
2005 Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt, Scharzhofberger, Spatlese $27
Tasted 30 wines between $10 and $120. WOD for Stevo.  2 words.  Fucking Awesome.  A

Scott's Blogcast 22 Notes

Wine 1:


Producer: Shafer Vineyards

Wine:   2004 Relentless (76% Syrah, 24% Petite Sirah)

Info:  Founded in 1973 by John Shafer who had spent over 20 years in the publishing industry.  Their vineyard is located in the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley.

Notes:  Nose:  Dark Fruit, Spice, Chocolate Liqueur   Taste:  Big, Dark Fruits, Very Balanced, Long Finish

Price: $65 (varies a lot)  Grade: B+/A-


Wine 2:

Producer: DeLille Cellars

Wine:  2003 Doyenne Syrah, Washington State (97% Syrah, 3% Viognier)

Info:   A small family winery located in Woodinville, Washington.  The winery was founded in 1992.    They produce 5 Bordeaux-styled wines along with the Doyenne wines, which includes a classic Northern Rhône-styled Syrah, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style red named Métier, a Provence-styled white named Métier Blanc, a Roussanne and a Provence-styled red name Aix.

Notes:   To any Pax fans…this is a great deal.  Complex across the board.  Nose:  Dark Fruits with some excellent floral notes  Taste:  As Stevo would say…this is a sexy wine.  Dark Fruits, Spice, Pepper w/ a great finish.  This took a while for it to open…decant for at least an hour…if not longer.

Price: $45 to $50  Grade: B+/A-  

2007.05.04 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 21

Stevo's Blogcast 21 Notes

Wine 1, 2 & 3:

Walking the line

Overview:  Philip Shaw Wines:
Philip Shaw is one of the world's leading winemakers. He is the only winemaker to twice win the coveted Winemaker of the Year at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition. (1986 and 2000)
Philip started his career with Lindeman's and then joined Rosemount in the 80's and pioneered some of the most well-known and successful Australian wine labels. In 2001, when the giant Southcorp Philip became Company Winemaker for Southcorp Wines, a position he held until 2003. The politics of his termination were big news in Australia but of little concern to us here in the states
Since 2003, Philip has devoted himself to bringing the cool-climate, high-altitude Australian wine region of Orange to the attention of the world through three highly anticipated new brands - Climbing and Rolling, both under the banner of the Cumulus Wines company, and his family-owned signature brand, Philip Shaw Wines from his own Koomooloo Vineyard.
Philip’s started his career with Lindeman's and then moved on to Rosemount in the 80’s. For 20 years he developed some of the most well-known and respected wines in Australia.  17 of his wines have been named to Wine Spectators Top 100 wines of the year lists.
In 2001, Rosemount was acquired by Southcorp, he was named Head of Winemaking.  There was a big political shake-up at the head of the company again two years later and in 2003, he decided it was time to move on. 
In the late 80’s, he noticed the potential for winemaking in the Orange, region.  A highly elevated region about 250 miles west of Sydney.  He purchased 50 ha of land for himself.  And planted vines in 1989.  His vineyards are between 900 and 1200m above seal level.  Why does altitude matter?
The higher you get, the cooler it gets. The lower temperatures mean that the grapes take a bit longer to ripen, allowing the evenness right across the bunches. You can avoid the jammy, overripe characters you sometimes see in warmer climate wines.
The higher you are, the greater the intensity of sunlight. While the temperature is not as high the UV readings are. This helps with intensity of fruit flavor.
Philip’s Philosophy:
“I think great wines should have silk, a softness, a texture – in chardonnay and Pinot particularly-but in some degree it should be in all wines.  The tannins should be elegant & soft.
Best varietals for the Orange appellation:  Merlot & Sauvignon Blanc.

Terry's Blogcast 21 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Col Solare – Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Valley, WA. 

Wine: 2002 Red Table Wine (60% Cab, 30% Merlot, 10% Syrah)

Info:  A joint partnership with Ch. Ste. Michelle and Piero Antinori.  Piero helped pioneer super Tuscans.  His family has been making wine in Italy since 1180 AD.  With 4,600 cases this wine is widely available. 

Notes:  A musty aroma with vanilla and herbal notes is quite unique.  Dark cherry and blackberry are nicely integrated on the palate.  Initially the fruit was muted and tight.  Overtime this opened nicely.  The oak seemed to dominate this wine.  Needs some storage time before this one reaches its potential.  Would like to revisit in 3-4 years.

Price: $60-70 Grade: C+/B-

Wine 2:

Producer: Ravenswood 

Wine: 2004 Sonoma County Zinfandel (95% Zinfandel, 4% Carignane, 1% mixed)

Info: Ravenswood has a long history in Sonoma and Napa Valley. Aged for 24 months in French oak, 35% new. 

Notes: Nice dark red color with light red highlights.  The wine offers a mixed bag with spice, clove, plum, and blackberry on the aroma.  At times the flavor offered nice blackberry and spice.  The acidity is a bit high and the raisin finish is odd. 

Price: $13-15 Grade: C

Scott's Blogcast 21 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Marquis Philips 

Wine:   2005 Sarah’s Blend – 60% Shiraz, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc

 Info: Sparky and Sarah Marquis’ budget wine.

Notes: Nose: Blackberries, Blueberries, Really nice Spice, Oak and some Floral notes / Taste:  Full bodied, Solid Tannins, Dark Fruit, Spice and a nice long finish

Price: $16  Grade: A-

Wine 2:


Producer: Lawson’s Dry Hills  

Wine: 2005 Pinot Noir – Marlborough, New Zealand

Info: Ross and Barbara Lawson founded Lawson's Dry Hills in 1992, when they decided to make wine themselves rather than on-selling the grapes that they had been growing since 1980.  They started with Gewurztraminer then Sauvignon Blanc…then moved on to Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.  Their wine maker is Marcus Wright

Notes: Nose:  Oaky, Cherry,   Taste:  lively, tart, a bit dry, cherry-cola, oaky   

Price:  $23.00 Grade: B-

2007.04.13 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 20

Terry's Blogcast 20 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Joseph Phelps 

Wine: 2003 Insignia, Napa Valley (84% Cab, 10% Petite Verdot, Malbec, Merlot)

Info: 2003 marked the 30th anniversary for Insignia. What has been Wine Spectator wine of the year, this vintage might be a little off the mark.  2003 was not considered to be a strong vintage.

Notes: Licorice and Dark Currant aromas are predominant on this oaky wine.  This is a lush wine with nice integration of tannin.  Vanilla with blackberry and cherry are noticeable.  The finish is long with a coffee finish.  A bit let down on the price. 

Notes: Price: $130-150 Grade: C+

Wine 2:

Producer: Mollydooker 

Wine:  2005 Two Left Feet, (65% Shiraz, 19% Merlot, 16% Cab)

Info:  Sparky and Sarah Marquis have been creating amazing wine for years and this is no exception.  Robert Parker considers this to be one of the best values in the world under $20.  What could top this?  Well, on the Mollydooker website they claim that 2006 was a better vintage. 

Notes:  Great color, dark with deep purple hues.  Intoxicating aroma with dark cherry, cassis, chocolate, and spice.  This wine’s complex nose carries on to the palate with dark blackberry, dark cherry, black pepper.  The wine ends with a nice vanilla and spice finish.  Few months ago I tried the Boxer Shiraz and found it to be one dimensional.  This CSM adds great complexity to a big powerful wine. 

Grade: A

Scott's Blogcast 20 Notes

Wine 1:


Producer: Boekenhoutskloof 

Wine:   2005 Chocolate Block - Coastal Region, South Africa - Syrah (46%), Grenache (22%), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%), Cinsault (14%), and Viognier (4%),

Info: Boekenhoutskloof, founded in 1776, is far up the "Valley" in the Franschhoek foothills. Situated 40 minutes drive from Cape Town, South Africa. Boekenhoutskloof produces four wine brands: Boekenhoutskloof, Chocolate Block, Wolftrap and Porcupine Ridge. 

Notes: Nose: Earthy Dark Fruit.  Taste: Black Cherry, Earthy, Dark Chocolate, Spice.  It came off as a Very Rich tasting wine. (So Rich…It took a while to finish my second glass – like have two pieces of dark chocolate cake…it can be done.  It just takes a while.) 

Price: $30 to $35   -  Grade: B

Wine 2:


Producer: Robert Foley Vineyards  

Wine:  2004 Claret 

Info:   Robert Foley is the winemaker for Robert Foley Vineyards, Engel Family Rock Mountain Vineyard and Pride Mountain Vineyard. 

Notes:   Taste: Wow, this was awesome.  It took some time for this to open up….when it did.  Lot’s of dark fruit, spice and mocha…an amazing finish.

Price: $110   -   Grade: A

Stevo's Blogcast 20 Notes

Wine 1:

2 up, Shiraz 2005
Kevin O’Brien and his wife Helen are the two heads behind 2 up (notice the tow coins on the bottle).  Two up is an Aussie a gambling game with 2 coins tossed & caught on a thin board.  In 1997, the duo took a gamble themselves when they bought Kangarilla Road winery. Kangarilla Road produces highly acclaimed Shiraz, Cabernet & (yes) Zinfandel.  (T-bone and I can attest to that.)  Kangarilla Road wines are sourced almost entirely from the O’Brien’s estate, 2 up provides Kevin and Helen the opportunity to gain access to some of the best grapes from surrounding estates.
2 up is sourced from vineyards located in Southern Fleurieu and McLaren Vale. The vineyards of the Southern Fleurieu contribute color together with  blackberry and spice. The McLaren Vale vineyards give depth and texture together with the complex spice, dark plums and cherry always associated with this region.
Notes:  Dark berry & dark cherry fruit...little more of blackberry flavor to me.  nicely spiced with cracked pepper.  Medium bodied and well structured.   Defintitely out-performs at its price point.  Better than most of what we (U.S.) puts out under $20
Price: $10  Grade:  B+

Wine 2:

Ch. Larcis-Ducasse, St. Emilion 2004
The vineyard of Larcis Ducasse is situated on one of the slopes renowned to have made the reputation of Saint Emilion.
Nicolas Thienpont, along with consultants, Stéphane Derenoncourt and Julien Lavenu, took over the vineyard management less than 5 years ago.  He undertook a detailed study of the terroirs of the vineyard, implemented important renovations both in the vines and in the cellars. The results have been immediate and impressive.
The vineyard of Larcis Ducasse is planted with 78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. With an average age of 35 years, the vines are continuously renewed over a period of 80 years or so, with particular care paid to the soils and their drainage as well as careful selection of clones and rootstocks.
The grapes go through a dual selection process.  After maceration, the wine is run-off into barrels, of which 60% are new. The malolactic fermentation takes place in its own time between November and March. Thienpont & Derenoncourt are both big fans of lees-stirring to add richness and fat to the wine.
After two winters, and eighteen months on its lees, the wine is stabilized and bottled.  
Notes:  Decanted the wine and tasted hourly.  Took 4 hours to fully open up.  Started thin and tight.  Relax-it's a 2004!  Richly colored wine.  Very dark ruby with blue/purple hue.  Nice aromatics.  Dark fruit, Strong attack on the palate.  Red currant w/ some dark berry.  Spice. Crisp, vibrant, tongue-tingling.  Fruit fades and the mocha takes over...long on the palate.  Very nice wine.
Price:  $40  Grade:  B+

Wine 3:

Monte Toro, Joven 2005
Ramon Ramos winery is located in Venialbo, a small village in the province of Zamora, Spain.  Zamora is in the NW of Spain in the Toro D.O.  The Venialbo area is in the southern part of Toro & is an exceptionally hot climate with particularly poor soil which allows for some of the best producing wines in the region.
Half of the vines are over 50 years of age and the other half under 10.  They blend the grapes to provide wines with both strucure and vibrant fruit.
They produce a joven, a crianza & a reserva. 
Notes:  Fruit really pops out of the nose...dark strawberry colored.  Interesting that I thought it was strawberried in color as the dark cherry flavors really meld into strawberry.  Fresh and vibrant.  Medium bodied.  Super-pleasant wine. 
Price: $10  Grade: B

2007.03.16 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 19

Terry's Blogcast 19 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: EOS Vineyard/Arciero Family Vineyards

Wine: 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon  – Paso Robles

(82.5% Cab, 9.5% Petite Sirah, 5.5% Cab Franc, .5% Petite Verdot)

Info:  EOS Estate Winery was established in 1996. Arciero also produces Novella, Cupa Grandis.  A warm summer in Paso Robles resulted in a early harvest.  Great website, www.eosvintage.com (EOS was the goddess of dawn, was the sister to Helios (sun) in Greek mythology)

Notes:   Blackberry and pepper on the nose.  This jammy wine offers nice spice and blackberry flavors.  The finish ends with nice plum and blueberry notes.  A nice effort for a value priced Cab.

Price: $16-18  Grade: C+

Wine 2:


Producer: Walter Hansel

Wine: 2003 Pinot Noir, The North Slope – Sonoma, Russian River

Info: Founded by Walter Hansel in 1978 and currently operated by his son Stephen.  Focusing on a Burgundy style of wine, the vineyard consists of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all are French clones.   Commercially released in 1998, the winery produces 9,500 cases.

Notes:  Great color, deeper than most Pinot’s.  A smokey, earthy nose with mineral, dark cherry and a predominance of floral notes.  Sweet cedar envelopes the palate with nice dark cherry flavors. Minerality and acid is evident on the finish.  Tastes very much like a French Burgundy.

Notes: Price: $27-30 Grade: B-

Stevo's Blogcast 19 Notes

Wine 1 

Evil Cabernet Sauvignon

"R" Winery:  Evil Cabernet 2005

Many "New School" wine fans fretted when Sparky & Sarah Marquis left Dan Philips and their joint venture "Marquis Philips" to start their own wine line...namely, Mollydooker.  (Which, I'm sure, many of you have been clambering over the past few months.)  No need to worry.  Philips has a number of Aussie wine projects.  One that has been picking up a lot of attention in the past 6 months or so is his latest venture with Chris Ringland.  Chris Ringland?  Yeah, we've given him mad props for the wines that he makes both in OZ and in Spain.  Sorry...back to "R" Winery.  They have 3 wines; Bitch Grenache.  Evil Cab & Pure Evil Chard.  The Grenache is from Barossa.  The Cab & Chard are both from South-Eastern OZ.  I'm not sure if it's Victoria fruit or from NSW...On to the wine.
Cool label.  Black & red with a simple "EVIL" in typeface upside down on the label.  Wine looks "evil".  Very Dark & Opaque.  You could view an eclipse through this wine & be safe...has the "death cloud" going for it...stains the glass...darkfruit, menthol & oak on the nose.  Big wine.  Blue/Blackberry- Mocha-Tobacco-Sweet tannins-cedar on the finish with quite a bit of heat.  The tobacco notes threw me quite a bit.  Interesting wine.  Would like to try it again in 6 months or so.  Not for everybody... 
Price: $10  Grade: C+/B-
Wine 2

Marquis Philips S2 Cabernet Sauvignon

Speaking of Marquis Philips.  The 2005's are here!  Some of you may have already been privy to some of these...Kim Johnston has taken over for Sparky & Sarah.  She's doing the wines for Shirvington & Parson's Flat as well...

Should I discuss the #9 Shiraz that Parker gave 96-98 pts or the S2 Cabernet that we panned last year.  Parker loved this as well...94 pts.  Let's go with the Cab...Parker says; "boasts an inky/blue/purple color in addition to a sumptuous, toasty bouquet of grilled meats, blackberries, creme de cassis, licorice, and subtle herbs. With superb purity, richness, body, intensity, and length, it should drink well for a decade or longer.
Well I agree with his color description and the descriptors "rich & intense".  That's about it.  My notes:
Dark Fruit.  Slight Caramel/Toffee note on the nose.  Lot's of Alcohol that needs to blow off...(16%!!!)
Like Vanilla?  As with the '03, almost buttery rich.  Like Blueberry pancakes?  How about a fresh buttered biscuit with some blackberry syrup.  Almost a dessert wine...can't imagine having this before or with a decent meal...
Price:  $30-40  Grade: C-/B-*
Wine 3

Sure I'm a dick at times...and an egotistical jerk...but I'm fair.

I hammered Brian Loring's 2005's for both his label and the Pali label that he works for.  Had 2 more Pali's... the Durrell Vineyard in Sonoma Coast and The Inman Olivet Vineyard in Russian River...This is a positive spin, so I'll lay off the Durrell.  The winner was the Inman Olivet.  It was a transparent Ruby.  Reminded me of a Chinon...Had some charred toasty oak and bright red fruit on the nose.  Light Kirsch & Raspberry flavors on the palate.  Good structure..."tongue-tingling" minerality.  light vanilla on the finish.  Crisp and balanced wine.  Would ot be upset at all if I had bought this for the price...
Price:  $40-45  Grade: C+/B-

Scott's Blogcast 19 Notes

Wine 1:


Producer: Storybook Mountain Vineyards

Wine:   2002 Zinfandel Estate Reserve

Info: Jerry and Sigrid Seps purchased the land in 1976 and replanted it with zinfandel.  Storybook released it’s first zinfandel back in 1983.  In 1989, their ’84 Reserve becomes the highest rated Zinfandel in history.  In 1990, Jerry calls together a group of zinfandel producers and founds ZAP and begins his 5 year run a ZAP’s president.  2005, Robert Parker lists Storybook among wineries “representing the pinnacle of wine quality in California” and on of the six best Zinfandels in the world.

Notes: This is a classic zinfandel…no doubt about it.  Aroma: raspberry, blackberry, black cherry.  Taste:  red berry, slight heat, big tasting, warming finish…amazing!  It’s just about everything that you’d want in a Zinfandel.

Price: $45 Grade: A- 


Wine 2:

Ata Rangi Martinborough NZ

Producer:  Ata Rangi

Wine: 2003 Martinborough Pinot Noir – New Zealand 

Info:  owned and managed by Clive Paton, his wife Phyll and Clive's sister Alison. Clive planted the original, barren, stoney 12-acre home paddock at the edge of the Martinborough village in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is now considered a leading New World example of this challenging variety. 

Notes:  It’s oaky and effervescent-like.  Lot’s of great stone fruits with Spice, Slight Chocolate notes.  Opened at cellar temp and it just blossomed as it came up to room temp. 

Price: $40 Grade: A-


Wine 3:

Producer: Marques de Grinon

Wine:  2002 Petit Verdot -  Dominio de Valdepusa, Malpica de Tajo, Toledo.

Info:   Carlos Falcó y Fernández de Córdova, Marquis of Griñón, has been one of the pioneers in modernising the vine growing and wine-making business in Spain. He graduated in Agronomist Engineering at the University of Lovaine (Belgium), and also later at the Davis University (California).  In 1974 he introduced the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape varieties into Spain, and then, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot and Syrah. The first two wines, handled under the management of Professor Emile Peynaud of Bordeaux, were the "Marqués de Griñón" Rueda Superior 1982 white wine, presented on the Spanish market in the Spring of 1983, followed by the "Marqués de Griñón" Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 red wine, presented in London in 1986.

The vineyards and wine cellars of Malpica are located on the Valdepusa estate (property of the family since 1270), at Malpica de Tajo, in the South of Spain and 50 kilometres from Toledo within the Dominio de Valdepusa.  The first vineyard in Spain where the mixed plantation system was applied. This technique allows the use of the most advanced technology, the "canopy management".

Notes:  Purple in color.  Aroma:  Dark Fruit, Oak and Earthy -   Taste:  Dark Fruit, Spice, Very Dry…Bordering Chalky – decent finish.  

Price: $40 in stores / $80 in restaurants Grade: B-/B

2007.03.02 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 18

Stevo's Blogcast 18 Notes

Wine 1:

Asti Winery: "Cellar No.8" Zinfandel 2004 $9
Cellar No.8's Cabernet & Zinfandel got a lot of positive press from Chicago Tribune's Food & Wine Critic, Bill Daley.  All 3 of us are huge Zin fans and I, for one, am still looking for an "excellent" Zin under $15.  I'm almost convinced that there are none left or that they have gone to the $17-25 price point.  Here's my take:
Dark Cranberry/Bing Cherry coloring.  Light cinnamon, vanilla & jam on the nose.  Slightly tart but dense fruit...tad hot...toasty cedar overwhelms the fruit and ends up chalky on the finish.  Not bad...Stevo gives it a C.  ....Still looking for a winner...
Wine 2:

Seghesio Zinfandel 2005 Sonoma $15-20

More muted on the nose and generally a bit lighter than the 2004.  in 6 months who knows?  Maybe this will develop into as big a bargain as the 2003 & the 2004...Black raspberry and candied cherry predominate...with menthol & light cinnamon notes.  nice dark cranberry coloring...black raspberry, cherry...flavors that seem slightly tart...bright and crisp...Needed time to open up...20-30 min and once it did the flavors popped a bit more and the heat seemed to blow off...will have to go back to this wine in 4-6 months...C+/B-

Wine 3:

WA 91 Pts. - From the Sonoma Valley, the spicy, earthy 2004 Zinfandel Maggie’s Reserve (94% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah, and 2% Alicante) possesses abundant tannin, a more austere...

Rosenblum, Sonoma Reserve, Monte Rosso Vineyard 2004 $35-40

What can I say?...right from the nose, you just go..."Ahhhh..."  Dense, dark fruits...Loads of cinnamoned spice...Oeno's love to throw out the term "Brambly Fruit" when talking about Zin's but a whiff of this and you can almost see what they're talking about...It's one of those wines that is without question worth the money.  Dark, dense & lush on the palate...hook me up to an I.V. of this stuff...16.5% alc...Holy Shit!  Black Raspberry, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Spice.  I gotta stop or I won't be able to drive home...A- 

Terry's Blogcast 18 Notes

Wine 1:


Producer: Provenance

Wine: 2003 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

Info: Aged for 18 months in 72% French Oak, 18% Hungarian, and 10% American Oak.   Grapes are sourced from Rutherford (91%) and from Napa Valley (9%).  19,642 cases.  Tom Rinaldi is the winemaker and general manager of Provenance.  Tom is best known as the founding winemaker for Duckhorn, where he made 22 vintages. 

Notes:   Nice dark ruby color with light purple hues.  Earthy nose with slight cinnamon spice and light cedar.  Currant is prominent on the palate.  Followed by nice dark cherry flavor and vanilla.  Well structured, yet maybe a little too tannic.  Maybe a little young.   

Price: $36-40 Grade: B-

 Wine 2:


Producer:  Clos Du Val

Wine: 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Info:  Aged for 17 months in French oak barrels, 25% New oak.  28,000 cases.  Founded by John Goelet and winemaker Bernard Portet in 1976.   Their partnership was based on a mission to create wine outside of France.  Clos Du Val is a pioneer in Napa Valley.  There wine was entered into the Judgement of Paris Tasting in 1976 and was selected as one of the best. 

Notes:  Dark deep red in color, the wine has an interesting nose of eucalyptus, spice, and plum.  This combination delivers a herbal and slightly medicinal nose.  Flavors are very tight with mostly dark fruit.  Cedar is also prominent.  Overall a good bargain for what was considered an off year.   

Price: $18-20 Grade: C+

Scott's Blogcast 18 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer: Gamble Nelson

Wine:   2001 Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – Stag’s Leap District

Info:  Gamble and Nelson started producing wine Shafer & Fay back in ’99…the vineyard was then sold after the 2001 vintage.

Notes:   Blackcurrant, Licorice, Spice, Dark Chocolate and Pepper

Price: $55 to $60 Grade: B

Wine 2:

Producer:  Remhoogte Wine Estate - Bonne Nouvelle - Simonsberg, South Africa 

Wine: 2002 Estate Wine – Remhoogte Estate Wine (58% Merlot, 25% Pinotage, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon) 

Info:  Remhoogte is located west of Cape Town, South Africa and just south of Stellenbosch.  Partnership between Murray Boustred and Michel Rolland.  Rolland love the merlot so much that he became a partner in the winery.  Bonne Nouvelle is their flagship wine. They produce around 6000 cases annually. 

Notes:  Nose:  Blackberry, dark chocolate, oak, spice – taste:  Big tasting, dark chocolate, earthy???, it’s a thinker…very enjoyable

Price: $25 to $30 Grade: B/B+    

Wine 3:

Ravenswood 2001 Vintners Blend Zinfandel

Producer:  Ravenswood

Wine: 2004 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel

Info:  One of the 3 R’s of Zinfandel which are almost always a safe bet to drink (Ridge, Ravenswood and Rosenblum).  First vintage was in 1976

Notes: Pretty simple….Black Cherries and Pepper.  At first it was so tight I almost bite the side of my mouth…after downing the first glass it opened up and became much more approachable.   (I had it at Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant for $26…one of the highest priced wines on their menu – 25 States, 92 Locations)

Price: $6 to $10  Grade: C


2007.02.16 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 17

Terry's Blogcast 17 Notes

Wine 1 

Producer: St. Hallett

Wine:  2004 Gamekeeper’s Reserve, Barossa, Australia  (57% Shiraz, 37% Grenache, and 6% Touriga Nacional)

Info:  Un-oaked blend using Touriga Nacional, a  traditional component to Port.

Notes: A beautiful purple- ruby red color.  Light barnyard nose is evident, along with cherry and spice.  The cherry and spice is also noticeable on the palate.  This medium bodied wine also has a nice spice component of licorice and black pepper.  The wine ends on a blueberry finish.   Wine lacks complexity and acid.  Overall an interesting un-oaked.

Price: $11.00 Grade: C+

Wine 2 

Kilikanoon Shiraz/Grenache Killerman'S Run

Producer:  Kilikanoon

Wine: 2003 Killerman’s Run Grenache 60%/Shiraz 40%

Info: Kevin Mitchell aged this wine for 2 years in American and French oak hogsheads.  

Notes:  A georgeous deep red with purple hues edge the wine.  Great nose with sweet cedar and earthy hints.  Black cherry flavor envelopes the palate.  The finish provides pepper and cherry. Well structured.  Alcohol is evident.

Price: 16.00 Grade: B- 

Scott's Blogcast 17 Notes

Wine 1:

Colonial Wines Exile Shiraz

Producer: The Colonial Estate

Wine:  2002 Shiraz Exile  

Info:  The Colonial Estate is based in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, near to Adelaide.

The winemakers are Jonathan Maltus, Neil Whyte, Cyril Beziat (from Château Teyssier, Saint Emilion Grand Cru) and Scott Hazeldine and Robert Heywood, with Gilles Pauquet consulting – as he does for Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Canon, Figeac, and Teyssier. The vineyards are managed by Daniel Tschirn.
Exile is 100% sourced from the ‘Lange’ Vineyard, now a part of The Colonial Estate. The single-vineyard wine is made up of old vine Shiraz with some Mourvedre and Muscadelle. The age of some of these vines date back to the 1800’s.

Notes:   An amazing nose.  Lot's of dark fruits and floral...smell like it has Viognier in it...I was wrong.  It was a really big drinking wine. Great finish of spice, heat and cassis. My teeth turned purple after the first glass.

Price: $90 to $120 in stores / $ 200 to $295 in Restaurants  Grade A

Wine 2:


Producer:    Cloud View Wines 

Wine: Cloud View Pritchard Hill  

Info:  Cloud View Vineyards comprises 23 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot planted between 1990 -1995 on 90 acres of mountainside. Vines are trained on vertical trellises; hand-pruned to bilateral cordons with yields limited to assure quality and intensity; hand-leafed for optimum sunlight. Karen Bower Turjanis, formerly of Cardinale, Lokoya, and Paul Hobbs Winery spends as much time in the vineyard as she does in the winery. 

Notes:  Aroma is loaded with Dark fruits and berries w/ some slight oak.  Full bodied some good tannins, dark cherry, plum and blackberry.  Elegant yet Big.

 Price: $ 57.99  Grade:   B+

Wine 3:


Producer: Real Companhia Velha - Portugal   

Wine: Evel Grande Escolha 2001 Douro Wine - (Grape Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa) 

Info:  Evel Grande Escolha lies at the prestigious peak of the range, representing cutting edge enological investigation and ultimate selection of the very best of many vineyard parcels. Aged for more that a year in barrel with a high percentage of various types of new wood, the wine has dense dark color, fine aromas of Douro varietals complexed by noble wood and a finish normally associated with wines of international class. 

Notes:  At first it smells just like a port then opens into cherry brandy.   Let this breath for at least a half hour to an hour…it’s very tight.  Tart Cherries are the prevailing flavors.  At the two to three hour mark the fruit really starts to fade.  This is my first Douro so I’d like to have more before I give an opinion.   

 Price: $  17.99  Grade:   C+/B-

2007.01.31 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 16

Terry's Blogcast 16 Notes

Wine 1 

Finca Sandoval

Producer: Finca Sandoval: 2003 Finca Sandoval, Manchuela, Spain (83% Syrah, 9% Monastrell, and 8% Bobal) 3,000 cases 

Info: A former writer, Victor de la Serna started Finca Sandoval in Manchuela, NW Spain.  The vineyard was established in 1998. 

Notes: Great earthy nose with hints of cherry, blackberry and cassis.  A Clean wine with great balance of acid and tannin.  Velvety tannin envelopes the palate provides excellent mouth feel, well structured.  Chocolate, blackberry, cherry, and light pepper.  Long finish with pepper and blackberry.  A very interesting wine. 

Price: $35.00 Grade: A- 

Wine 2 

Brown Estate Zinfandel

Producer: Brown Estate: 2003 Zinfandel, Napa Valley (Chilies Valley), California 

Info: David Brown is the winemaker and Duane Dappen works as his consultant.  Duane is the owner of D-Cubed and specializes with Zinfandel. Aged in new French and American oak for 11.5 months.  Low alcohol 12.5%.  1605 Cases. 

Notes: Not what I was expecting from a Zinfandel.  Ruby red with a light purple hues.  Rather transparent and not your typical opaque Zin.  Vanilla and floral qualities are present on the nose.  Vanilla is noticeable, but not overbearing on the taste.  I mostly tasted black cherry and blueberry, very little to no spice.  A nice long finish, with blueberry.  Again, the floralness of this wine make it rather unique and adds some grace to what is typically a big wine. 

Price: $35 Grade: B-

Wine 3 

Castano Solanera

Producer: Bodegas Castaño Wine: 2003 Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas, Spain (75% Mourvedre, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) 

Info: Wine is clearly labeled “Solanera”. Made for the US market only.  12,000 cases.

Notes: Smokey earthy nose.  Deep red with purple hues.  Chocolate licorice on flavor.  A bit flabby and lacks structure.  Alcohol is present, yet fruit is strong.  Would pair well with food, possibly peppercorn steak, lamb.  Would have to find the right occasion for this bottle. 

Price: $14 Grade: C+

Scott's Blogcast 16 Notes

Wine 1


Producer: Warwick Estates

Wine: 1994 Trilogy (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc)

Info:  Located in South Africa.  Warwick was known as the farm "Good Success" from 1791 until 1902.  After the Anglo Boer war, Colonel Alexander Gordon from Warwickshire regiment bought the farm and renamed it "Warwick" as a tribute to his regiment.  Stan and Norma Ratcliffe purchased the farm in 1964 without a single vine on the property.  They started planting Cabernet Sauvignon.  Their first release was in 1984.  After 20 years of winemaking, Norma stepped down and she was succeeded by Louis Ne who is widely considered to be on the most talented winemakers in South Africa.   (2004 Trilogy was #5 on Wine Enthusiast Top 100 wines with a score of a 95)

The 1994 Trilogy was aged in oak for 16 months in Nevers & alliers toasted barrels.

Notes:   A chocolate bomb on the nose.  A complex wine with rich berry flavors and chocolate.  Finish was an enjoyable 95 seconds

Price: $32 for the 2004  (Restaurant Price: $122 for the 1994 Vintage) Grade: A-

Wine 2:

Branson Coach Rare Shiraz

Producer:  Branson Coach House

Wine: 2003 Shiraz Coach House 

Info: Together with other investors Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, of Two Hands Wines, own and operate Branson Coach House.   They purchased the winery and vineyard in 2001 with the sole aim of creating and establishing one of Australia’s greatest estate grown and made wines.  The vineyard and winery are located to the south of the township of Greenock in the western Barossa Valley, the source of some of Australia’s greatest wines. The Branson vineyard was planted in 1990 to 14.5 acres of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the fabled deep red clay soil that dominates the area; a key element in the unique terroir of this small pocket of the Barossa Valley. Under the Branson label three single vineyard wines are produced; the Coach House Block Shiraz and Coach House Block Cabernet Sauvignon and the second label the Greenock Block Shiraz. 

Notes:  A big boy yet completely smooth and balanced, blackberry, cola, great oak. – Give this time to open

Price: $ 80  Grade: A/A+   

Wine 3:

Mitolo Shiraz Jester

Producer:  Mitolo

Wine: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Jester

Info:  The grapes come from the Willunga district of McLaren Vale, where the heavy grey loam soils over sandstone, intermixed with black Biscay clay, combined with the maritime climate, contribute to an even ripening period and the development of rich fruit flavours and ripe tannins. 20% of the grapes were left to dry on the 10kg drying racks for 8 weeks in the traditional Amarone manner to concentrate flavor. The fruit for Jester is fermented on skins for 5 to 6 days at a cool temperature to enhance the pure berry fruit.

 Notes:   The nose is loaded with a crazy floral fragrance with ripe plum and nutmeg.  That was a good as it got.  The tasted didn’t live up to the nose.  Some berry and soft tannin. 

Price: $17 to $20 Grade: C+

Stevo's Blogcast 16 Notes

Wine 1

Mollydooker:  Carnival of Love 2005

Okay, what hasn't been said yet about the first release of this wine line from the famed duo Sparky & Sarah Marquis.  This couple made phenomenal wines for years at Shirvington, Parsons Flat, and  collaborated with Grateful Palate importer Dan Philips for Marquis Philips wines...They kicked ass.  Their wines kicked ass.  They are now on their own.  They go for wines that are hugely flavorful.  The most complex and balanced to me was their white (vedelho)...the Violionist.  That being said this is about the Carnival of Love.  Their Mclaren Vale Shiraz.  The only thing that surprised me about this wine is that it wasn't from Barossa.   Big, voluptuous dark fruit.  Ridiculously delicious...I didn't pick up nuances of mocha  or graphite like Parker (WA) did.  But I completely agree that this is a slutty wine.  Not for thinkers...can't think of many wines that could beat this on simple enjoyment.  The wine rocked with a couple of pizza puffs from Five Faces and a couple of Family Guy re-runs.
Price:  $55-60  Grade: A

Wine 2

2004 De Lisio Grenache McClaren Vale Australia 96 RP 'among the finest i have ever tasted from Australia'

De Lisio: Grenache 2004

Scott & I had this after a lame wine tasting downtown Chicago.  Blindly, he guessed it as a 2003 Washington Syrah...not bad.  One of only 2 Aussie wines over $40 on a 150 wine, wine-list from a 3 wine guy favorite restaurant...Bin 36.  ($90 there) Tremendous wine.  Kirsch and raspberry flavors dominate.  Full flavored wine but not overly dense or jammy.  Nice lift to the wine...very pure and fresh...Not peppery like some syrahs/shirazs...lightly and nicely spiced on the finish.    Another McLaren star. 
Retail Price: $45-50  Grade: A-


2007.01.12 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 15

Terry's Blogcast 15 Notes

Wine 1

Pillar Box Red

Producer: Henry’s Drive  Wine: 2005 Pillar Box, Padthaway, S. Austrailia (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot) 70,000 cases

Info: Chris Ringland was the wine winemaker. He is the winemaker at 3 Rings, Pillar Box Red, Bodegas Alto Moncayo, Bodegas El Nido (both in Spain), La Corte (Puglia), RBJ and Rockford and over the past 15 years has consulted and made wine for wineries such as Greenock Creek, Turkey Flat, and Hobbs.

Notes: Deep red color with purple hues. Spice is the key to this wine, nice black pepper, cinnamon.  High in alcohol, 15% yet the fruit dominates this wine. Dark plum and blackberry flavors provide an excellent taste.  The wine does lack acidity and has a bit of tartness to the finish.  At $10 it is still a great value.

Price: $10.00 Grade B

Wine 2


Producer: Peter Lehmann  Wine: 2004 Clancy’s, Barossa Valley, Australia (equal parts Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot)

Info: Selected to WS Top 100, 4 times since 1997.  Aged for 12 months in new and old American and French oak hogsheads. (50,000 cases)

Notes: Nice aroma with hints of cocoa and toasted vanilla. Blackberry and light pepper notes.  Vanilla and mint are noticable on the finish.  Well balanced and bold.  A better effort than the ’03 vintage.

Price: $14 Grade: B

Wine 3

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Producer: Penfolds Wine: 2001 Winemakers Reserve, Kalimna, Australia

Info: A special offering available only at Trader Joes. 

Notes: Cedar, cinnamon and clove is evident on the nose.  Fruit is light with cherry and hints of licorice.  This bottle drank like a Merlot. It lacks the typical characteristics of a Shiraz. Our guess is that it should have been enjoyed years ago. 

Price: $10 Grade: C

Scott's Blogcast 15 Notes

Wine 1

Soter Cabernet Franc

Producer: Soter Wine: 2003 "Little Creek" Cabernet Franc Napa Valley (75% Cab. Franc, 20% Malbec, 5% Cab. Sauv.)

Info: Soter Vineyards is owned by Tony & Michelle Soter...the former owners of Etude Wines. (250 Cases)

Notes: Plum, violets, cassis and coffee on the nose. Wide spectrum of red and dark fruits, long spice finish

Price: $75.00 Grade A

Wine 2

Richard Partridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Producer: Richard Partridge Wine: 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Info: Richard Partridge was started in 1998. Know for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Bob Egelhoff is in charge of the Cabernet Sauvignon wine making. Egelhoff has been making wines for over 20 years with an amazing client list: David Arthur, Amizetta, Axios and his own wine Egelhoff. Spectator describes him as "one of the best winemakers you probably haven't heard about." (750+ cases)

Notes: The nose became amazing...tight at first but turned into a "Date Wine". Perfect for drinking by itself...the nose keeps you coming back for more. Cinnamon, Spice, dark fruit...very aromatic! The taste kept up with the nose. Black cherry, big tannins and a nice touch of oak. Decant this one...it's so worth it!

Price: $68 Grade: B+/A-

Wine 3

Producer: Cakebread Cellars Wine: 2004 Zinfandel, Lake County

Info: This is Cakebreads first Zinfandel since 1994. Grapes come from the Red Hills appellation of Lake County which is located an hour northeast of Napa. 16 months total in 45% new French oak barrels.

Notes: Blackberry, Fig and Dark Chocolate aroma. Dark fruits, chocolate, spice and some heat. Warm Finish.

Price: $35 to $45 Grade: B

Stevo's Blogcast 15 Notes

Wine 1:

Hartford Court, Land's Edge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2005

Hartford Family Wines - Pinot Noir 
Stevo loves Hartford...the winery, not the financial company.  I've had their upper tiered Zins before but this was their 1st single vineyard Pinot that I've tried.  I was expecting a lot and all I can say is that the wine delivered.  'POP' -Ready to go in 5-10 minutes.  Violets, Dark Fruit, Forest floor & toasty oak on the nose.  Kirsch & Raspberry on the front palate.  Graphite and the minerality of the wine picks up on the mid.  Closes with Cedar, cinnamon & light spice. Nice fade of flavors.  Everything that you're looking for in a Pinot is there.  Complexity, struture, elegance...
Price: $40  Grade: B+ (*1st time I had it, it was mis-priced at $28.  for $28 it was an 'A' grade wine.)
Wine 2:

Colonial Estate, Etranger, Cabernet 2004

Have you heard of Jonathan Malkus yet?  The guy has his own website at www.malkus.com.  Good info to know about this guy is that he cut his teeth in Bordeaux.  He's British.  He makes kickass wines...on both sides of the Equator.
Drunk this wine at least 6 times.  1st time I had it blind & I guessed it as a 2003 St. Emilion.  It tasted...well...French.  It had that Bordeaux earthiness about it but also had this dark, dense fruit to it as well.   J-M definitely straddles the new world/old world style of wines with panache.  I also guessed it was $40-50.  Was blown away that its was a $20 Aussie... Cabernet from Barossa, particularly Greenock, is giving Napa & Washington a run for their money.
Price:  $18-25  Grade:  B
Wine 3:

Colonial Estate, Explorateur, Old Vine Shiraz 2004

Tough to say which of these wines I preferred...The Shiraz, to me is a sexier wine. Not as structured or as complex as the Cab but softer and more lush.  Not the hugely jammy, peppery styled shiraz.  This would be for more of a pinot/merlot type of drinker who was looking for a wine with a bit more balls...Blackberry liqueur with a touch of mocha & spice.  I'd serve the Cab with the boys & some steaks.  Date nite for the Shiraz!  RRRrrrr.
Price: $18-25  Grade: B


2006.12.11 Tasting Notes From Blogcast 14

Terry's Blogcast 14 Notes

Wine 1:

Turkey Flat The Turk Red

Producer: Turkey Flat Wine: The Turk (Red) 2004 Country: Australia, Barossa Valley Grapes: 54% Shiraz, 26% Mourvedre, 12% Mourvedre, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon

Info: The Turk is an entry-level wine from one of Barossa’s oldest vineyard, Turkey Flat.

Notes: Wine needs time to open. Great color, deep red opaque. Dark fruit black cherry with licorice notes. Not overly spicy but there is at touch of white pepper. Enveloping flavor with a long finish. Light coffee. Extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

Price: $14-16.  Grade B

Wine 2:


Producer: Thorn-Clarke Wine: Shotfire Ridge Cuveé 2004 Country: Australia, Barossa Valley Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot

Info: Thorn-Clarke’s Shotfire Ridge series provides an excellent value in the $15-20 range. This “Quartage” has been aged for 12 months in tight grain French (85%) and American oak (15%).

Price: $16-19.   Grade B+

Wine 3:


Producer: MacMurray Ranch Wine: Pinot Noir 2005 Country: California, Sonoma Coast Grapes: Pinot Noir

Info: Founded by Fred MacMurray (My Three Sons) in 1941 this winery has been focusing on Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The ‘04 vintage was one of our favorites from our Pinot Noir podcast.

Notes: The wine has a nice earthiness on the nose with hints of light cinnamon. Fruit forward with strong strawberry, cherry and pomegranate flavors. Lacks acid and is a bit flabby. A unique Pinot that is a nice value.

Price: $16-18.  Grade C+/B-

Scott's Blogcast 14 Notes

 Wine 1:

Producer: Harlan Estates
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot - 2001
Info:  Harlan Estates has been around for nearly two decades. Harlan is known as what would be a California "First Growth" wine estate.  Loved by Robert Parker,  Harlan Estate is located in Oakville in Napa Valley, CA.  Harlan uses roughly 15% of their own vines.   (28 months in oak, unfined and unfiltered
Notes:  Completely Balanced!!!  Great Oak, Vanilla, Dark Fruit and Spice...over 2 minute finish.  First taste was amazing and only got better with time. 
Price: $225 - restaurant $775 to $800 
Grade A+  (Easily one of the best wines that I have ever tasted...if not the best!)
Wine 2:

Producer: Penfolds   
Wine: 1999 Grange - 100% Shiraz
Info:  Peter Gago - Winemaker.  The first 100% shiraz Grange since 1963.  17 Months in New American Oak.
Notes:  Tight initially...once given a chance to breathe became Elegant and Smooth. Black & Blueberry, Oak & Licorice Nose, Black & Blueberry, Oak - Great finish length.
Price: $ 180 to $200   Grade: A 
Wine 3:

Producer:  Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
Wine: 1998 Ornellaia - 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc
Info:  Tenuta dell'Ornellaia founded in '81 the purchased by Mondavi in '99 then sold 50% of the shares to Marchesi de Frescobaldi.  Total ownership was sold to Marchesi de Frescobaldi in '05.  the '98 Ornellaia spent 18 Month in 50% New French Oak
Notes:  Cassis and Red Fruits on the nose.  A Complex Wine - cassis, raspberry and a bit of Chocolate - Another long finish. 
Price: $  130 to $160  Grade: A- 

Stevo's Blogcast 14 Notes

Wine 1:

Producer:  Llopart Cava S.A
Wine:  Leopardi Brut Rose 2003
Grapes:  60% Monastrell, 40% Garnacha
Info:  Leopardi is the latinized version of the historic Catalan name, Llopart.  The Llopart family has owned their vineyard property since the 14th century.  They released their 1st Cava in 1887, making them the 2nd oldest Cava producer in Spain.  Only the first press of the grapes is used & the wine is aged on its lees for 3+ years before it is disgotged & dosaged.
Notes:  Cherried-croissant on the notes.  Medium-bodied, cherry, kirsch & currant flavors.  Fruity but crisp.  Simple but well done.  Serve as an apertif or with food. 
Price: $15-20.  Grade B+
Wine 2:

Producer: Bodegas Alto Moncayo
Wine:  Alto Moncayo 2003
Grapes:  100% Garnacha
Info:  This is a project between Bodegas Borsao & Chris Ringland of Aussie fame.  The grapes come from vines b/t 35-92 year-old vines on the Borsao estate.  The grapes are hand selected when the winemakers determine perfect ripeness.  The wine is aged in French & American oak for 18 months and is bottled unfiltered.
Notes:  Strawberry-rhubarb pie on the nose.  Silky-Raspberry liqueur on the palate.  Hugely flavorful.  Tremendous wine.  Dominates the 2002. Better than the 2003 Clio?  Different definitely.
Price: $37.  Grade: A-
Wine 3:

Producer:  Bodegas El Nido
Wine:  El Nido 2003
Grapes: 70% Cabernet, 30% Monastrell
Info:  This is a project b/t the Gil family of Jumilla & Chris Ringland...is this guy kicking ass in Spain or what??!!  The grapes for this wine come from 60 year-old Monastrell vines & 30 year-old Cab vines.  The grapes are basket-pressed & fermentation occurs in small, open vats.  Full Malo occurs in new French & American barrells, and the wine is aged for 26 months in new oak.
Notes:  Insane Aromatices.  Creme de Cassis, Blackberry...Holy Shit!  fennel/licorice hits the palate and tries to push through but the incredibly ripe fruit fruit holds it in place.  Long-long on the palate.  I need new underwear....
Price:  $100-$150  Grade: A

2006.12.01 Stevo's Tasting Notes From Blogcast 13

Wine 1: 

Chryseia, 2003, Douro, Portugal

Info: A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz & Tinta Cao.
Notes: Purple Ink in a glass.  Blackberry pie filling on the nose.  Primary taste of Vanilla'd blackberry syrup. Slight mocha flavors on the finish. Dense, jammy & teeth staining.  14.7%
Price: $42-50  Grade:  B+ 
Wine 2: 


Venta Mazzaron, 2003, Zamora, Spain

Info: 100% Pre-phylloxera Tempranillo
Notes: Dark Ruby color. Sweet Cherries & Spice on the nose.  Dark Cherry & red berry.  Fruity.  Lightly spiced.  Simple & fruit forward but well done.
Price: $10-15  Grade: B+
Wine 3: 


Cloudy Bay, 2004, Malborough, NZ

Info:  Chardonnay...NOT Sauv Blanc!
Notes:  Pale Gold color, Lemon-oil, Baked apple, Melon, Vanilla.  Slightly licoriced on the finish.
Crisp, Clean. Well-Balanced.
Price: $25-30  Grade: B

2006.12.01 Stevo's Tasting Notes From Blogcast 12

Wine 1:

Saladini Pilastri:  Rosso Piceno 2004 
Grape varietal : The 2004 Rosso Piceno (30% Montepulciano and 70% Sangiovese). 
Notes:  Fruity; Bing Cherry & Strawberry.  Typical Italian herbaceousness...but not overly so.  Nice complexity.  Preferred this to its big brother, the 2003 Rosso Piceno Piediprato...
Price: $10   Grade B+/A-
Wine 2:

Ciacci Piccolomini (d'Aragona), Brunello di Montalcino 'Pianrosso', 2001

Grape varietal : 100% Sangiovese Grosso

Notes:  Surprisingly approachable now, due to the oustanding vintage.  This is definitely a new world or modern styled Brunello.  Instaed of tobacco and old leather like a traditional Brunello, there's was new leather, herbs and loads of red fruits on the nose.  Beautiful strawberry, plum flavors......tannins need time to settle down but a beautiful wine.  Great intro for those who have shied away from Brunellos.  

Price: $50-60  Grade: B+/A-

2006.09.24 Scott's Tasting Notes From Blogcast 11 & 12

Amon Ra Shiraz

2005 - Amon-Ra - Shiraz - Barossa Valley, Australia - $80 - 15% Vol. - This is a brand new baby. Due to be released in Oct '06, Wow, already has great balance, dark fruits and spice. Love the quality French oak. Grade: A-

2004 - Amon-Ra - Shiraz - Barossa Valley, Australia - $70 - 15% Vol. - This is a keeper! Awesome Spice, Dark Fruit and toasted French oak. Ben Glaetzer...a genius wine maker, not to mention a great guy! Grade: A-

Amon Ra Godolphin Shiraz/ Cabernet

2005 - Gadolphin - 70% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon - Barossa Valley, Australia - $65 - 15% Vol. - Not even released yet...due out in Oct. '06. This baby is elegant! Ben is on his game with this one. Grade: A-

2003 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon(from Quintessa)

2002 - Faust - Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley - $50.00 - Very balanced, full bodied, dark fruits with hint of olives. This has really improved with time in the bottle. Grade: B+


2002 - Miura - Pinot Noir - Pisoni Vineyard - Santa Lucia Highlands, Central Coast, CA - $50 - Wow...effervescent, minerals, spice, young, nice spicy finish. This is not a weak pinot! Grade: A-


2002 - The Standish Wine Company - Shiraz - Barossa, Australia, - $80 - Big & Bold with great balance of fruit & spice, The finish was amazing, length, spice, heat. Standish shows how Elegance & Boldness make a great wine - Grade: A-/A


2004 - Linne Calodo - Sticks and Stones -Paso Robles, CA - $50 -57% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre - Full Bodied, great French oak tastes, dark berries, very balanced, Great length on the finish - If you can find this...buy it up fast. Grade: A

2002 - Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande - Medoc, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France - $55 to $75 - Fantastic baby bordeaux, elegant, nice oak (ordered it out to dinner...restaurant was out of the Lynch Bages...so I up graded to Lelande...it was a great move!) Grade: B+/A-

2003 - Kilikanoon - Killerman's Run - Shiraz - Barossa Valley, Australia - $16 - This is the great deal of the night. Nice Spice and balance, dark fruit, spice and heat, drank like a $40 bottle of wine. Buy it if you can find it. Grade: B+/A-

2003 - Two Hands - Bella's Garden Barossa Valley Shiraz - Australia - $50 to $80 15% Vol. - Rich dark fruit, slight hint of chocolate, elegant, balanced, great finish...spice & length - Grade: A-

Some wines we dumped that were spoiled (Caution: this doesn't mean that if you own these wines that they are spoiled & should be dumped - please use your own discretion before dumping): 2001, Furlan, Cabernet Franc - 2002 Santa Margherita Chardonnay - 1998 Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, 1996 Monterra Syrah

2006.09.24 Terry's Tasting Notes From Blogcast 11 & 12

2002 - Penfolds - Bin 707 - Cabernet Sauvignon - Southern Australia - $80 - After spending 14 months in American Oak this wine is big and elegant. Nice balance of currant and spicy oak and a long, long finish. This is still a baby and it needs to be aged and should be ready in 2008 to 2016. Grade: A

2004 - Glaetzer - Wallace - Barossa Valley - Australia - $20 - Earthy nose with hints of clay, dark fruit, and spice. This is a blend of 70% Shiraz and 30% Grenache. The grenache adds a little elegance to this wine, cutting through the spice and adding cherry notes. Grade: B

2004 - Fairview - Goats do Roam, Rhone Style Red - South Africa - $12-14 - Funky Nose, something I have noticed from many South African wines. However, the funk is not found in the taste. Nice toasted vanilla notes and a nice concentration of plum and chocolate. A good value. Grade: C

2004 - Thorne Clarke - Shotfire Ridge - Shiraz - Barossa Valley - Australia - $17-20 - Big and bold this shiraz packs a punch. Black fruit and cassis nose. Blackberry flavor with a nice licorice finish. This one got better over time. Still young. Grade: B+

2002 - Muga - Reserva - Rioja - Spain - $20 - Awesome nose, with herbal and floral notes. This ruby red wine has interesting coconut and vanilla hints. Minerality is evident and adds nicely to good acidity. All of this combines into an elegant wine. One of my favorite Rioja's I have had this year. Grade: A-

2005 - Kim Crawford - Pinot Noir - Marlborough - New Zealand - $17 - Subtle forest floor nose with hints of raseberry. Ripe red fruit, especially cherry and hints of rhubarb. Nice light oaky finish. Great value. Good price and great value. Grade: C+/B-

2006.08.22 Stevo's Tasting Notes From Blogcast 10

2003 - Matanzas Creek, Merlot, Bennett Valley, Sonoma, CA - $20-25 - Cherry/ Berry, Menthol & Herbal note on the nose...Basil? Bright Cherry Flavors. Chocolate notes with warm spice. Some noticeable heat - Medium bodied wine - after the cherry & chocolate flavors hit, shot of black coffee on the finish - Nicely done for the price point. Grade: B-

2003 - L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot, Columbia Valley, WA - $25-30 - 14.2% Vol. - 82% Merlot, 13% Cab Franc, 4% Cab, 1% Petite Verdot - Gives up surprisingly little on the nose...bottle dumb? Really pops with flavor on the palate. Kirsch-bomb.Nice firm tannins. Well structured wine. Coffee flavors hit after the initially cherry blast. Tad hot on the finish, There is a nice long slow fade of flavors.

Important Note: it took an hour, hour + to open up so this is not a wine to pick up and pop once you get home - Grade: B- now, B/B+ in a year or two.

2003 - Lodi Vineyards, Michael & David, Earthquake Cab, Lodi CA - $20-25 - Like Cute labels or cute stories on labels? Then you'll probably like the winery. - Here's my take: Lot of fruit and oak on the nose. "Cranberry-Robitussin" Not a particularly pleasant wrap of flavors on the finish. Grade: C-/C

past Blogcast Tasting Notes archive

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