Sunday, October 30, 2011

2010 Cline Cellars Ancient Vines Mourvedre Contra Costa County

Tonights post was an awesome pairing with a chicago style deep dish pizza. My first time tasting wine made from the mourvedre grape, the flavor was rich and elegant. The grape originally found in France, Spain and Australia, once was very popular in California but now little is planted. Based on the taste of the wine I vote for planting more.

The aroma was very nice starting with black raspberry and plum. Continuing to swirl up pops some herbal notes, hints of cocoa and finishing with a nice smokey oak. Pleasing to the nose.

Great fruit so ripe and juicy. Cherry, raspberry and plum are just awesome when you first taste the wine. As it warms the cherry really comes to the front with plum evident on the finish. Hint of spice and chocolate in the middle followed by a slight smokey oak. Speaking of the finish its long and juicy. Amazing wine!

Folks if you have not tasted this wine hurry before it's all gone. My thanks to my friends at Cline Cellars for another excellent offering. Your wines spoil us every time.


Monday, October 24, 2011

2009 Stepping Stone By Cornerstone Rocks Red Wine Napa Valley

Tonights post another tasty selection from the portfolio of Stepping Stone by Cornerstone wines. Always flavor packed, food friendly easy drinking wines, Rocks Red Wine will treat your palate.

Nice complex aromas on this wine starting with the dark fruit of blackberry and blueberry. Next hints of cherry followed by white pepper and spice. The wine finishes with a nice touch of oak. Allow the wine to warm in the glass and enjoy the aromas switching places.

Paired with a comfort dish of meatloaf and yukon gold potatoes (yes I tasted the wine while cooking like every good chef would), the juice and dish worked well together. Blackberry with ripe cherry starts the taste off. Peppery notes greet you in the middle followed by spice and a long juicy finish. Excellent red wine I could drink everyday.

Craig a big thank you for allowing me the opportunity to taste another great selection. Folks you must stop by Cornerstone Cellars and taste the entire portfolio. Great wine, great price, great people.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

2010 Cline Cellars Marsanne Roussanne Sonoma Coast

Cline Cellars located at 24737 Arnold Drive/Highway 121 in Sonoma CA (the tasting room is an 1850's farmhouse), produce award winning wines Rhone style. Zinfandel consistently scores 90+ with Wine Spectator and Robert Parker Jr. commented in 2011 "this is the finest portfolio of value-priced wines from Cline Cellars that I have tasted to date." Compliments like those reinforce and drive each of us whether a winery, winemaker or blogger.

I chose the 2010 Marsanne Roussanne first to sample from Cline Cellars because of my limited exposure to these two grapes. Less than 250 acres of the 2 grape varietals are grown in California, yet they are the most important white wine grapes for Rhone style wine. Wine lovers will experience a crisp refreshing white wine loaded with citrus and tropical ripe fruit.

In the glass the fruit really explodes with peach starting your smelling pleasure. Ripe nectarine with hints of fresh peeled melon greet your senses as well. When the wine warms in the glass notes of honey appear. Wonderful crisp citrus on each swirl.

Love this wine. The minerality finish is awesome. Pear/peach combination at the start of the taste is so good. Hints of lemon and orange zest flow in the middle of the taste. Ripe fruit, crisp, and citrus all make this wine delicious. I can tell you the bottle didn't last long!

On your next visit to Sonoma make sure you stop and taste the excellent wine being produced at Cline Cellars open daily from 10am -6pm. Kudos to winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos and thank you to the folks at Cline Cellars for allowing me the opportunity to taste.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

2009 Hook and Ladder Third Alarm Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Well it was birthday week and I just knew one of the wines to be opened naturally a Pinot Noir. The post comes courtesy of Mr. Jason Deloach Winemaker at Hook and Ladder Winery in Santa Rosa California. I've been a big fan of Jason and the winery long before my visit, his passion for making great wine is evident in each bottle. Ripe fruit, perfectly balanced and in my opinion food friendly enjoyable wines.

Wonderful bright aroma starting with my favorite ripe cherry. Red raspberry follows with hints of strawberry and rose pedal. Cola, spice and that RRV trademark mushroom earthiness. After each swirl and right before the smell close your eyes picturing yourself among the vines. Amazing isn't it!

Fantastic flavor. Juicy cherry starts off your taste followed by ripe strawberry. Hints of red raspberry greet you in the middle along with spice, leather and a mild earthiness. The finish is so long and juicy. Jason this may be your best Reserve Pinot that I have tasted (folks his others were absolutely delicious too).

When you're visiting wine country you must stop for a taste at Hook and Ladder Winery located at 2134 Olivet Road Santa Rosa Ca 95401. Jason thank you for allowing me to taste this awesome pinot. Each of your wines never disappoints the wine lover.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Luscious Hedonism Small-Lot California Cabernet Tastelive Event

Tonights post comes to you courtesy of Tastelive and another awesome tasting Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon from California. The wine was very impressive and matched the esteem tasting panel of yours truly, Bean Fairbanks @WineBeerWa, Katie Pizzuto @gonzogastronomy, Dezel Quillen @myvinespot, Beau Carufel @UCBeau, Megan Kenney @Sonadora, Grace Hoffman @Cellarmistress, Lain Bradford @winereview, Pamela Heiligenthal @Enobytes, Amy Corron Power @Winewonkette, Joe Power @HoustonWino and lets not forget Cailyn McCauley and Joel Quigley our hosts. We enjoyed 4 quality cabernets this evening all with their own distinct characteristics.

We start the evening with the 07 Chateau Felice La Craie American Celebration Chalk Hill $50. What a wine to start the evening taste off with this blend of 73% Cabernet, 23% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc (75 cases produced). The aroma is full of dark berry, cherry, herbal notes and a wonderful spice. The flavor is so silky smooth with huge fruit nuances of ripe blackberry, cherry, hints of raspberry and a nice spice finish. The juicy fruit lingers very long into the taste. Amazing starting wine.

Next the 07 Krutz Family Cellars Stagecoach Vineyards Napa Valley $75. My 3rd tasting of this exceptional cabernet and the wine impresses me each time. Aromas of black cherry, spice, smokey oak, sweet vanilla, currents and herbal notes. The flavor showcases the ripe fruit perfectly. Cherry, blackberry, raspberry all wrapped around a touch of oak. Wonderful hint of spice.

The third wine is the 08 Rodney Strong Alexanders Crown Alexander Valley $75. Big bad boy here clocking at 15.5%. Aromas of green pepper, clove, blackberry, hints of leather and oak. The flavor is bold and elegant. The raspberry intertwined with the dark berry flavor finishing with a touch of spice and oak. Would love to taste another bottle in 5 years and compare.

Our final wine of the evening the 07 Wente Vineyards The Nth Degree Livermore Valley San Francisco Bay $60. Aromas of herbal tea, blackberry, hints of cocoa, slight raspberry and earthiness. The longer in the glass this wine really opened up. Once again another awesome tasting cabernet with raspberry, blackberry, plum, spice, oak and finishing with some earthiness. This wine is another I would love to taste in 5 years.

Descriptions of tonights tasting range from exceptional to epic (ucbeau)among the comments from the blogger panel. I won't disagree and we were all very spoiled by these wines. My kudos to all the winemakers for your hard work and talent. Special wines indeed! Cailyn and Joel another great event and my thanks for including me.

Cheers everyone!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2009 Sequana Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Located in Sebastopol California, Sequana Vineyards Pinot Noir by winemaker James MacPhail is tonights post. Classic Russian River Valley pinot both in aroma and taste.

Once in the glass cherry filled my nose. Next spice, cola, and fresh cut rose pedal were very pleasing. One of those Pinots I could smell all night long!

Awesome flavor rivaling a bottle tasted 2 months ago. Ripe cherry combined with hints of fresh raspberry treat your mouth. Spice and that familiar RRV earthiness round out your taste. Handcrafted perfect Pinot.

Thanks to the folks at the winery for introducing me to your wine. Love it! Folks to order your own Pinot and to taste award winning wine click the link Sequana Vineyards and Wine


Saturday, October 8, 2011

2009 The Slammer Syrah Big House Wines

My first offering from Big House Wines is the sample I received The Slammer Syrah. A unique winery located next to the Soledad State Correctional Facility in Monterey County, each label has a prison theme (The Slammer Syrah, The Birdman Pinot Grigio, The Usual Suspect Cabernet just to name a few). The head of all this wine well it's none other than The Warden Georgetta Dane.

On the nose this wine has a big dark fruit aroma. Blackberry is very evident from the start followed by ripe blueberry, some dark cherry, big currant and some smokey oak.

Definately a full bodied wine and very fruit forward. Blackberry and juicy cherry really come to the front with rich blueberry towards the middle of the taste. Hints of raspberry towards the juicy finish with spice and oak. I paired this wine twice once with burgers and then with bbq and I thought it worked well with each. Thanks Big House! To learn more about their wines click the link Big House Wine Company


Thursday, October 6, 2011

2009 Flora Springs Barrel Fermented Chardonnay Napa Valley

Today's post comes courtesy of the fine folks at Flora Springs who introduced me to their delicious barrel fermented chardonnay. I know what you're thinking "Hey Dan didn't you say you liked stainless steel fermented chardonnay?" Congratulations you are very attentive but I also said I like all chardonnays and this wine from Flora Springs ranks right up with my favorites.

In the glass my sniffing pleasure starts with ripe pineapple followed by hints of butterscotch. Next pear, some green apple and lucious tropical notes round out the aromas I identify (soft and not overpowering).

Awesome flavor of ripe pineapple to start. The peach/pear combo greets the middle of your taste and finishes with a nice hint of crisp minerality. The finish is long, juicy with pineapple and a nice buttery sensation. Well done!

Thank you Margaret for introducing me to these wonderful wines from Flora Springs. Readers the next time you visit the Highway 29 wineries make sure in St. Helena you don't miss these great folks!