Saturday, October 28, 2017

2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc

A quick blast of cold winter air called for a nice red wine to kick off the season (wine, fireplace and a good book) so the cork was pulled on this Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc.

It all started in 1962 as the Wetzel's purchased their first section of land from the heirs of Cyrus Alexander with the intent to be successful in the agriculture business. Fast forward to today and you continue to have the Wetzel family involved in all aspects of the business. Winemaker Kevin Hall joined in 1998 and has utilized his vast winemaking knowledge to place Alexander Valley Vineyards on the radar of wine lovers near and far. These wines show the character of the vineyards and exhibit a silky elegance with each glass poured.

The nose shows nicely with blackberry, blueberry and white pepper followed by hints of chocolate and toasted vanilla. Lush and aromatic.

The mouth is so good with blueberry followed by a nice splash of dark berries. The pepper spice is calm and the kiss of vanilla on the finish compliments the layers of fruit nicely. Soft, regal, elegant finish on this small production 100% Cabernet Franc. Damn fine wine and one which will be sipped again.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

2014 Attune Wines Chardonnay Sonoma County #SonomaStrong

Sipping and sharing this wine last night, I wondered what I could say about Attune Wines I've not already written. As I posted a pic Martin Cody at Cellar Angels (who introduced me to this label) might have stolen the words right from my mouth. Exquisite fruit, impeccable wine, amazing chardonnay and under the radar, I could not have said it better myself. Definitely why I'm drawn to Attune and Cellar Angels.

The nose is full of beautiful layers starting with fresh sliced apple and warm pear wrapped around hints of pineapple and lemon citrus zest. Baking spice along with toasted vanilla caramel cream please the senses. It's as if I'm standing in my grandmothers kitchen just after she pulled a fresh pie from the oven.

The mouth is crisp yet creamy with juicy apple, spiced pear, a kiss of lemon and vanilla butter cream. The finish is long and lush with the lingering fruit and the cream notes. We paired with baked chicken and a side of green beans with smoked bacon. Perfect pairing with a perfect wine. Well done as always Attune.

I'll say it again order direct from the winery at Attune Wines  and then head to Cellar Angels and sign up for free to become an angel. Here is where you will find these hidden gems just like I and many of the loyal angels. I would have never known this winery existed without Denise and Martin Cody. Until next time......


Friday, October 20, 2017

2012 Elkhorn Peak Cellars Pinot Noir Napa Valley #NapaStrong

Sitting high atop Jamieson Canyon on 10 acres of pristine vineyards in South Napa you will find Ken Nerlove and his Elkhorn Peak Cellars. The estate hillside vineyards planted in 1983, thrive in their location facing south towards the San Pablo and San Francisco Bay. Warm daytime sun followed by cool foggy nights make this an ideal growing climate for world class pinot noir grapes.

34 years ago Jamieson Canyon was not known as a wine growing region with no vineyards planted there. Starting small with chardonnay and pinot noir, Ken's meticulous attention to detail and creating vines worthy of perfect fruit allowed Elkhorn Peak to soon gain a reputation for high quality sought after grapes. Fast forward 10 years to 1993, Elkhorn Peak Cellars label was born with the help of winemaker Kent Rassmusean.

1994 was the first vintage of Pinot Noir and the accolades were just starting. Today the awards continue with case production around 800. Ken was proud of his fruit then and just as proud today. You can taste and smell the pride in each sip and cork pull. Now what do you say we pour.

Once in the glass ripe cherries and cranberry jam fill the nose followed by hints of cinnamon spice and a dash of earthy tones. Picture sitting next to the vines, fruit hanging nearby with crisp winds from the bay and yes you are in paradise.

The mouth is crazy good with juicy clusters of cherries, hints of wild strawberry, a splash of tart cranberry finishing with a kiss of spice. Luscious and silky fine pinot!! Order yours today at Elkhorn Peak Wine  and don't miss your chance to taste this exquisite juice.

Great find Cellar Angels and our chance to taste and support small production wines. Just recently the vineyard was threatened by the great Napa/Sonoma fires of 2017. Thankfully it remained safe as well as all the family housing and the family themselves. So support Elkhorn Peak Cellars today and all my friends in Napa Valley and Sonoma.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pedroncelli Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfandel Celebrating 90 Years #PED90th

Another memorable tasting with the great folks at Pedroncelli Winery as the celebration of 90 years of making delicious affordable wines continues. Tonight along with a few friends across the country and the scoundrel duo of Ed St John and Robert Larsen, we tasted the 2015 Bench Vineyards Merlot followed by 2015 Block 007 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon then ending the evening with the 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel. The later paired with the lasagna recipe provided by the winery. All 3 are really nice wines and the comment "wowzer" may have been uttered after a few glasses (no singing but there is a relic of some "guy" holding a glass with a commemorative 90th Anniversary hat on).

Normally I would write about the history of the winery, the family involved in a post but since I have included in prior tastings lets change up things and talk about the vineyards and the wines themselves. For those wanting to revisit Celebrating 90 Years With Pedroncelli please click the link.

Starting with Bench Vineyard located in Dry Creek Valley. The location is perfect for growing and exactly the type of grapes needed to produce this luscious Merlot. The vines themselves were first planted in 1990 and over the next 5 years. Think about the maturity of vines 22 to 27 years old and the fruit they have produced over the years. The soil is gravely/rocky and the vineyard rises into the hillside. I picture these majestic rows of vines which have produced countless tons of grapes as I pour my glass of nectar. The 2015 Merlot grapes were harvested late August, cold soaked in stainless steel tanks for 48 hrs with daily pump overs and finally aged 11 months in American Oak. The nose  shows character with dark plum and spice with hints of red fruit and a faint nuance of oak. The mouth is full of rich fruit and succulent. Bold dark plum with a nice warm spice and hints of red berry clusters. Allow the wine to open and a nice vanilla toasty oak compliments the fruit. Gentle tannins on the finish. One you must taste.

Block 007 (Bond, James Bond but no connection I just like saying that with my hat on) located on the eastern bench of the vineyard, produces quality fruit each and every year. The block was planted in 1992 on the Scott Henry trellis system which allows the cordon arms to split into tiers with the top producing 3 ton and the bottom 2 ton. Another aged vineyard and starting to see a pattern as to quality and consistency. These grapes were harvested mid September, cold soaked 48 hrs and fermented in small temperature controlled steel tanks. Aged 16 months in French and American Oak barrels. The 2015 Cabernet nose shows nicely with blackberry and raspberry fruit followed by currants, dried herbs and a hint of earthiness. The mouth is full of ripe fruit with red raspberry, dark cherry and blackberry. Herbs and earthy notes intermingle with the fruit and the finish is long but very soft for a cabernet. A real beauty.

The Bushnell Vineyard located on the eastern hillsides of Dry Creek Valley on 22 acres, John Sr purchased this property in 1943 so it has been in the family fold for many years. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane have been planted on the property with Zin and Petite Sirah grown today. Grapes for this wine were harvested the first week in September, fermented in stainless steel tanks with daily pump overs to enhance color and flavor with aging 16 months in American Oak barrels. The nose exhibits clusters of dark fruit and cracked pepper spice with a hint of smokey oak. Full bodied with the dark fruit, pepper spice and big tannins. Let this open in the glass and the profile changes a bit where the fruit and layers of spice and oak becomes more defined. Paired so well with the lasagna.

A bit sad that this is the last taste up celebrating the 90 Years Of Pedroncelli. It has been wonderful tasting these hand picked wines and recipes. Ed, Julie and all the family thank you for a year long tasting of exquisite wines in your portfolio. Robert Larsen as always thank you for including me as well. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Make sure when in CA wine country a stop at Pedroncelli is on your list of tastings.