Thursday, September 15, 2011

St. Clement Oroppas 2006

If you are looking for a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated from California and have a few bucks to spend let me introduce you to St Clement's "Oroppas" 2006. Concentrated and dark in the glass you get a great nose of ripe dark fruits (black plum, blackberry, and currant), tobacco, dark chocolate, and hints of vanilla and brown sugar. Full bodied, the tannins are still quite firm (but mellow a bit after allowed to sit so I would suggest decanting before serving) with excellent acid and fruit delivering a long, lingering finish that should please the pickiest of Cab drinkers.

Pick up a bottle for around $30 for now or pick up two and have the other any time through 2016.

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 29

Fess Parker Pinot Noir "Ashley's Vineyard" 2008

It's been quite a while since I've written a review so as a treat I thought I would start with one of my favorite wineries, Fess Parker. In the latest wine club shipment I received a bottle of their Ashley's Vineyard Pinot Noir. Now I've had it in the past and over the years their Ashley's is one of my most enjoyable domestic Pinot Noirs and the 2008 vintage is no different. A lovely ruby, concentrated showing it's youth in the glass this wine delivers cherries, strawberries, a hint of vanilla and just a touch of lovely earth to the nose. In the mouth a combination of smooth tannins (like a fine tea), bright acidity, and dark red fruits and strawberry give a long finish that starts with fruit and ends with hints of minerality and spice that is delicious.

Drink now through 2014 for yet another Fess Parker delight!

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 28

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chateau Pesquie Quintessence 2007

CĂ´tes du Ventoux, an interesting place in the southeast region of the Rhone wine region of France, has been getting quite a bit of press lately due to some good recent harvests that allow production of nice wines at even nicer prices. Chateau Pesquie's "Quintessence" is a blend of Grenache and Syrah (about 20/80 blend) with about one-third of the yield fermented in small oak barrels and the rest in tank, allowing for good control of exposure to tannins and it shows. This wine is deep, opaque ruby/purple in color with a gorgeous nose of blakcberry, cassis, hints of lavender, pepper, and touch of spice. The wine is medium/(+) bodied, dense, fine acid and sweet smooth tannins combine with the dark fruits in a medium/(+) length finish that is lip smacking good. A great find for about $18 a bottle. Drink now through 2013.

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 27

Vine Cliff Chardonnay 2006

It turned a little warm and I was looking for something a little more cool than most of what is in my storage. With Chardonnay, especially one you don't know, it can be a gamble. Some Chardonnays are pretty heavy, oaked, spicy, nice but more of a "winter Chardonnay" to me. I was glad to find this lovely offering from Vine Cliff in the Carneros AVA in California. If you like Chardonnay with lots of fruit with just a kiss of oak then this is one to check out (though a little toward the top end of what I usually review when it comes to price, about $32 a bottle). On the nose I got nice lemon zest, a hint of pineapple, a touch of peach, and just the lightest hint of cinnamon. The wine is medium bodied, with nice acidity, smooth and delicious giving up flavors of pineapple, apple, and a little vanilla and caramel that all comes together in a medium/(+) length finish. This wine is peaking but should be quite fine through 2012.

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 26

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gainey Syrah 2007 "Santa Rita Hills"

Gainey continues to make me happy. This is a lovely wine that went wonderfully with the ribeye steak I had ordered. Here we have a blend of Syrah grapes from both warm climate and cool climate areas and they come together quite well. The nose is loaded, giving us blue berries, red currants, raspberries, hints of violets and vanilla (16 months aging in oak, 40% new French). Medium/(+) bodied, the wine delivers good acidity, solid but not grippy tannins, and dark fruits for a fine medium length finish that has just a touch of minerality at the end. This wine is peaking now so if you find it, drink it.

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 25

Friday, April 15, 2011

Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2009

Ah Malbec, that grape that is mistakenly thought of as native to Argentina when it really is French. Easy to see why though with so many wonderful wines coming from our neighbor in the south. The wine I review here is considered the "entry level" wine from Achaval Ferrer, but what an entry it is. Deeply purple in the glass, one's nose is greeted by lovely aromas of cherry, raspberry, spice and a touch of violets. Medium bodied, this charmer has pretty smooth tannins for a wine so young. That, combined with red and black fruit, nice acid and touch of minerality produce a medium/(+) length finish that went wonderfully with the steak I selected. If you enjoy Malbec and have $20 you can spare for wine definitely pick up a bottle. Very good now, should hold up well through 2015.

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 24

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stolpman Sangiovese "La Coppa" 2009

OK, I admit it, I didn't know Stolpman, maker of fantastic Syrah and Grenache wines for years, produced Sangiovese. Their care to quality that I have come to expect from their Rhone varieties carried over to this Italian offering. Not the most complex offering, this is a lovely, everyday kinda wine. Dark cherry red in the glass the nose was loaded with red fruits (cherries and raspberries) and just a hint of violets and earthiness. Medium bodied the wine delivers wonderful bright red fruit backed with smooth tannins and good acid creating a medium length finish that really begs for another drink. This is a very food friendly wine that would go great with tomato based pastas, pizzas, and grilled and braised meats. Meant to drink young you should enjoy it over the next couple of years.

Number of wines reviewed in 2011: 23