Thursday, April 26, 2012

2010 Riverbench Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Earth Day 2012

I'm an opportunity wino so Earth Day 2012 also included a wonderful (get ready) pinot for my tasting pleasure. Todays selection was born from the vineyards in Santa Barbara County first planted in 1973. Known for growing high quality grapes, many wineries sourced their Pinot and Chardonnay grapes from these very vineyards.

Riverbench Winery was born in 2004 when local families purchased the vineyards and started producing their own wines. Wonderful handcrafted  fruit forward and well balanced juice. Learn more about their story visit their website Riverbench Vineyards and Winery.

On the nose fresh picked cherry and strawberry rhubarb followed by clove. Swirl again and cinnamon spice tickles the senses. As the wine warms in the glass a faint hint of red raspberry. Red fruit dominant.

The wine definately drinks more expensive than it's price. Big juicy strawberry entry with layers of tart cranberry followed by spice. The strawberry carries deep into the long finish. Well balanced and food friendly. My first wine from Riverbench and I am very impressed.


Monday, April 23, 2012

2010 Tolosa Estate Chardonnay Tolosa Vineyards-Edna Valley For Earth Day

Earth Day 2012 and my white wine of choice was the Tolosa Vineyards Estate Chardonnay. Located in the coastal hills of San Luis Obispo between Santa Barbara and Paso Robles, Tolosa produces balanced quality wines which express both the climate and their commitment to sustainable growing practices. Larry Brooks winemaker nails this chardonnay perfectly.

On the nose ripe pear followed by orange zest gets the senses racing. Baking spice with lovely tropical fruit notes round out my aromas. Each swirl gave me the sensation as if I were standing on the hills with the cool coastal winds blowing in my face.

Crisp and refreshing. Juicy pear/green apple/melon quickly followed by the orange zest/spice starts off your tasting pleasure. The pear/apple combination carries long into the finish with juicy lemon and mineral notes completing the wine. Light bodied but packs a ton of flavor in each glass. Truly enjoyed this Chardonnay Matt!

I highly recommend checking out Tolosa Winery by clicking the link. Visit, taste and enjoy their exceptional wines.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

2008 Flowers Winery Pinot Noir Sea View Ridge Sonoma Coast

Winechat a weekly gathering of extremely knowledgeable winos happened to be right up my alley this week. Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast vs Russian River Valley with my friend Grace (cellarmistress on twitter) leading the discussion. Following along, the AVA most consumed this evening was RRV Pinot so naturally I was in the minority with my Sonoma Coast from Flowers Winery. Honestly if you were to pole 25 everyday wine drinkers and ask them where pinot comes from I will venture to guess at least 20 will respond with the RRV (lets not forget our Oregon producers). Not so fast my grape loving friends.

Sonoma Coast pinot to me showcases the cooler coastal climate (although my colleagues will remind me that in some vineyards right next door is carneros where the temp can be warmer) with lighter bodied wines yet flavor packed. I find them also less burgandian, more fruit (strawberry/cherry) and less of the earthy mushroom characteristics. Both regions produce award wining wines and either are an excellent choice.

Enjoy how this bottle of Flowers evolved compared to the same vintage I tasted a year ago. Red ripe cherry with subtle hints of cinnamon spice and cranberry. Strawberry rhubarb rounds out the aroma's. The fruit is bright and extremely pleasing.

Wonderful flavor of strawberry with hints of the ripe cherry and cranberry. Just as I found with swirling the wine, the spice was faint and an excellent compliment to fruit. The finish was long and juicy begging you to fill your glass up often (never a problem here).

Want to learn more about winechat tune in 9pm eastern 8pm central or 6pm pacific on twitter hosted by Marie Payton using hashtag #winechat and follow along in the discussion. Hope to see you there.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

2008 Krutz Family Cellars Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

The year 2003 and many miles from Jackson Mississippi, Patrick Krutz established what is now known as Krutz Family Cellars. Starting with a production of 60 cases for family and friends, the dream began but the unknown of how far the journey would take him lay ahead. Changes have occurred along the way with younger brother Cole joining Patrick in 2007, Rebecca who he met the summer of 07 and later married handles marketing and administrative duties in her spare time. Together they have 3 children who I'm sure will want to follow in Dad's footsteps. What remains unchanged is the quality of the wine and the values ingrained from their southern upbringing. "One can't get to where they are going without knowing where they have been" are words we should all remember.

A valuable lesson learned on my journey through wine is when you really enjoy a particular bottle make sure you obtain additional bottles and taste them during different times of their life cycle. The 08 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay in my opinion is even better with age. Once in the glass the fresh citrus aromas fill your nose. Warm vanilla custard, ripe apple and pear with juicy pineapple/peach make your scenses race. When the wine warms slightly baking spice and toasted hazelnut appear. Beautiful flow and again I wanted to sniff the wine all evening.

The mouth is elegant and rich with creamy vanilla circling the fresh fruit. Peach and pineapple along with the citrus zest in the beginning. Next pear and apple take you right into the long juicy toasty finish. So good and food versatile. I served with baked chicken and then the second night crusted tilapia with lemon zest. I may need a few more bottles it's that good.

Patrick you have picked some wonderful grapes from outstanding vineyards. Your wines are as you say "true, honest and fun". You forgot damn good too. Visit Krutz Family Cellars to purchase wine and learn more about their story.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

2003 Chateau Moulinet-Lasserre Pomerol

After a long day of work it seemed like a good idea to uncork a nice bordeaux. My only concern had this wine aged enough or was I opening too soon. Place your bets....... ok if you said too soon you might be correct. Each flavor was very prounounced and bold but lacked the methodical flow of flavors of aged bordeaux's. A nice wine but I'm sure in 5 years a much better one.

Blackberry jam and smokey oak were huge at the start. Plum, chocolate with expresso notes and clove. I decanted for over 2 hours.

In the mouth plum and blackberry almost jammy with hints of black cherry/dark chocolate. Clove and big oak on the finish. Nice wine but I think with age I would enjoy even more.