Two Months, Twelve Tastes

It’s been nearly two months since I published a set of wine reviews on my blog. As regular readers know, I am transitioning my writing to focus more on experiences, although it can be said that tasting a fantastic wine in the perfect moment – with food and friends – is also an experience worth sharing. In light of this revelation, I have compiled a list of my favorite wines enjoyed these past couple of months, along with tasting notes. As always, your palate may vary. Enjoy!

2012 Schug Pinot Noir

2012 Schug Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ($25, gift from a friend)
I have had this wine for a couple of years and decided to open and give it a try. This pinot noir is quite spicy, with cherry and cranberry fruit flavors and tangy acidity, showcasing beautiful fruit from vineyards in Carneros and Petaluma Gap.

2009 Materra Merlot

2009 Materra Merlot, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley ($40, purchased)
In my glass, the enduring 2009 Materra Merlot, crafted with estate fruit from the Oak Knoll District in the Napa Valley, source of some of Napa’s best merlot. It is still showing floral aromatics and delicious black and red fruits, dusty cocoa, and spice on the palate. The QPR of this wine is outstanding.

2010 Jean Edwards Cellars Seventy Four-Forty One Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Jean Edwards Cellars Seventy Four-Forty One Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($68, birthday gift from Jean Edwards Cellars)

I enjoyed this cabernet sauvignon crafted by boutique producer, Jean Edwards Cellars Wines, paired with filet mignon Oscar at Cibo 7 in Roseville, California. Still very youthful, this wine will continue to shine for many years or after a long decant, with its rich, dark fruit and firm tannin.

2014 Penns Woods Grüner Veltliner

2014 Penns Woods Grüner Veltliner, Pennsylvania ($26, purchased)
Sporting an elegant new label design, this Pennsylvania grüner veltliner is a mouthwatering sipper produced in stainless steel, with aromas and flavors of tart apple, lemon, lime, lively acidity and a hint of warm pepper on the finish.

2014 Anthony Road Rosé of Cabernet Franc

2014 Anthony Road Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes ($20, tasted with friends)
I love when I taste a wine and its bright berry flavors, structure, and cool-climate acidity reveal such a strong sense of place that you cannot shake it. You sip and savor Finger Lakes Wine terroir and return to that very spot, Anthony Road Winery, and recall memories of years gone by.

2012 Freemark Abbey Merlot Bosché

2012 Freemark Abbey Merlot Bosché, Rutherford, Napa Valley ($60, gift from a friend)
This is no wimpy merlot. It’s dark, dense, and dusty, strutting its stuff with warm climate black fruit, bitter chocolate overtones, baking spices, Rutherford dust terroir, and a lingering finish. This merlot really wants to be its big brother, the Cabernet Sauvignon Bosché.

2013 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena, Napa Valley ($28, employee sample)
A few months ago while changing fulfillment centers, we discovered a few remaining cases of the 2013 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc. The cool thing about our wines is that they are made so well, they last longer than perhaps expected. This Sancerre-style sauvignon blanc is simply stunning two vintages later, with mouthwatering fruit, a textured palate, and lively acid. I need to hold back a bottle or two of 2015, it seems. Fantastic.

2015 Cellers Unió Clos Dalian Garnacha Blanca

2015 Cellers Unió Clos Dalian Garnacha Blanca, Terra Alta DO ($10, media sample)
This is a whole lot of wine for its $10 price point. Lush and weighty on the palate, yet also clean and crisp, it showcases a broad spectrum of white fruits, like pear, white peach, white nectarine, and lychee.

2015 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha

2015 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha, Cariñena DO ($10, media sample)
A vivid, red-magenta color in the glass, this value-priced wine is easy to drink, with bright cherry-berry flavors and soft tannins. Pair this with charcuterie, cheese, and autumn celebrations. A November 2016 Wine Enthusiast Best Buy.

2015 Keswick Vineyards Hommage à Geneviève Les Vents d'Anges Viognier

2015 Keswick Vineyards Hommage à Geneviève Les Vents d’Anges Viognier, Monticello, Virginia ($25, media sample)
One of the things I miss about Virginia: viognier. This one from Keswick Vineyards is made with my palate in mind: fermented and aged in stainless steel for six months, delectable fruit, nice mouthfeel, and lovely acidity. Oh, yes.

2014 Keswick Vineyards Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve

2014 Keswick Vineyards Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve, Monticello, Virginia ($65, media sample)
Definitely Virginia Cabernet Franc! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Winner, this wine demonstrates a beautiful balance of black fruit and peppery spice on the nose and palate, plus it is oh so smoky and silky. Yum.

2010 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

2010 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley ($45, gift from a friend)
It has been a while since I had an Oregon pinot noir, so I decided to open this to reacquaint myself. Not at all shy or subtle, this is one sultry and spicy pinot noir, intensely flavored with tart fruits like cranberry and plum, and a peppery finish.

My August Sips

My Dry Creek Valley Tasting
My Dry Creek Valley Tasting

It’s not quite yet the end of August, but below is my month-end roundup of great wines, from Dry Creek Valley, Napa Valley, Pennsylvania, Sonoma County, Spain, and Willamette Valley. This is not an all-inclusive list, so if you haven’t checked out this post from my trip to Hudson-Chatham Winery a couple of weeks ago, please do. As always, your palate may vary.

2010 Martorana Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Martorana Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Martorana Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, SRP $45
If a wine could be extroverted, it would be this one. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Petite Sirah, it’s definitely not shy, boasting floral aromas, ripe blackberry, blackcurrant, and cranberry on the palate, and grippy tannins. I tasted this over a course of a few days and the tannins were still very much at the forefront, so this wine is young, ready for a little more time in the bottle or decanting if you can’t wait. ABV: 15.4%. Winemaker: Gio Martorana. This was a sample provided by Martorana for a Dry Creek Valley Twitter tasting.

2013 Fritz Malbec
2013 Fritz Malbec

2013 Fritz Malbec, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, SRP $45
When I first saw and tasted this, I couldn’t help but exclaim what a beautiful, elegant wine this is. The purple-red, magenta color is eye catching. The aromas are floral and feminine. On the palate, it’s soft, round, and balanced, with an impeccably silky mouthfeel, and luscious, dark berry flavors. I am confident that this loveliness comes from outstanding estate vineyard fruit and meticulous production: stemless, whole berries that were transferred to open-top fermenters, a five-day cold soak, punch downs 2-3 times per day for 10 days, then aging for 15 months in 40% new French oak. ABV: 14.5%. Winemaker: Brad Longton. This was a sample provided by Fritz for a Dry Creek Valley Twitter tasting.

2013 DaVero Altobasso
2013 DaVero Altobasso

2013 DaVero Altobasso, Hawk Mountain and Valladares Estate Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, SRP $65
The name Altobasso (high-low) comes from the vineyard sources of the two grapes, Hawk Mountain, a higher altitude vineyard which contributes 60% Sangiovese, and Valladares Estate, a lower altitude vineyard which contributes 40% Barbera. Produced with native yeast fermentation and neutral oak aging for 16 months, the resulting blend is a wine that speaks to my palate. The floral aromatics, juicy, red berry fruit, earthiness, leather, texture, and acid are pleasurably abundant and scream for food, especially a rich, hearty Italian or holiday meal. ABV 14.3%. Only 189 cases made. Drink now through 2028, if you can wait that long. Winemaker: Evan LaNouette. This was a sample provided by DaVero for a Dry Creek Valley Twitter tasting.

2010 Seavey Vineyard Caravina Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Seavey Vineyard Caravina Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Seavey Vineyard Caravina Cabernet Sauvignon, Seavey Vineyard, Napa Valley, SRP $65
The Caravina Cabernet is a second-label wine first offered in 1999, whose name means “My dear vine” in Italian. I tasted this wine over the course of a couple of days. The second day open, this wine demonstrated its loveliness, with a soft, round mouthfeel, lush, dark fruit, chocolate, supple tannins, and a spicy finish. I had no idea this was a 92+ point wine (Antonio Galloni), but it sure lives up to that rating. ABV 14.8%. 980 cases produced. Winemaker: Jeremy Weintraub. This was a gift from a friend.

2012 Huge Bear Chardonnay
2012 Huge Bear Chardonnay

2012 Huge Bear Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $40 SRP
Chardonnay, unless from Burgundy, or made with little or no oak influence, is not usually a go-to wine for me. This was a gift from a friend. Huge Bear Wines, the second label of Knights Bridge Winery, makes this Sonoma Chardonnay that sees partial malolactic fermentation. It shows an intriguing mélange of tree and tropical fruits, citrus, vanilla, caramel, and baking spices, with a creamy mouthfeel, yet noticeable acid. This was a gift from a friend.

2012 Penns Woods White Merlot
2012 Penns Woods White Merlot

2012 Penns Woods White Merlot, Pennsylvania, $22 SRP (2014 is the current vintage)
I first tasted this rosé in May 2014 at Penns Woods Winery and brought a bottle home with me. I was curious how well this has held up after traveling across the country and being stored for 15 months. I am happy to say that it’s still lovely. This is a red wine lover’s rosé, with a rich, salmon color, juicy palate, and aromas and flavors of raspberry, strawberry, stone fruits, and melon. The bright acid finish lingers long enough to make you want another sip. This was a gift from a friend.

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Pinot Noir
2012 Cornerstone Cellars Pinot Noir

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $50 SRP
This is an elegant, yet rich, Pinot Noir, from the warmer 2012 vintage. The mouthfeel is round and plush, due to time spent in French oak barrels, 56% new. It yields luscious darker fruit, like plum and blackberry, firm tannins, earthiness, and vibrant, tart cherry acidity. I tasted this with Cornerstone Cellars’ Craig Camp in his suite at the Wine Bloggers’ Conference. ABV 14.1%. 1500 cases produced. 94 points Wine Spectator.

2013 La Caña Albariño
2013 La Caña Albariño

2013 La Caña Albariño, SRP $14-$18 (widely distributed)
This wine is a riper Albariño, with dominant flavors of melon and stone fruits. However, it still demonstrates lemony acidity and salty minerality. It’s crisp, yet has a more substantial mouthfeel due to a small percentage of the wine being fermented in French barrels and aged on lees. It’s the duality of warmer climate/citrus fruits and crispness/mouthfeel that make this wine interesting. I purchased this at my local grocery store for #AlbarinoDay on Twitter.

I have some exciting news for my readers. Next month, I begin writing for two new outlets, American Winery Guide and Snooth‘s Wine Writer Roundup Series, so I hope that you will continue to support me in these new writing ventures. Next month will also be a bit crazy for me in terms of travel and events. I’ll be flying to the East Coast for Labor Day weekend, then returning to California. I am booked every weekend in September for an event, as well as Garnacha/Grenache Day on Friday, September 18, when I will be participating in a Snooth Twitter tasting with some of my cohorts. It’s going to be a great start to fall!

Happy sipping!
Beth

April 29: What’s in my glass?

Wines from Esporão
Wines from Esporão

Wow, it’s been one month since I posted. Where does the time go? This year is flying by! This means it’s that time again, a roundup of some wines I’ve been tasting. This edition includes wines from Portugal to California to Pennsylvania, some outstanding price-to-quality sippers.

Esporão Alentejo Esporão Reserva Tinto 2012
Esporão Alentejo Esporão Reserva Tinto 2012

Esporão Alentejo Esporão Reserva Tinto 2012, $19.99 SRP (sample)
The 2012 Esporão Reserva, DOC Alentejo, is a great wine for under $20. A blend of Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Trincadeira, and Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s an intensely red wine, medium-bodied, with aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry, spice, cedar, and vanilla. The tannins and acidity play well together after the wine is open or decanted for a while.

Esporão Douro Assobio 2012
Esporão Douro Assobio 2012

Esporão Douro Assobio 2012, $12.99 SRP (sample)
This blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional is quintessential Duoro and is outstanding for under $15. It’s rich purple-ruby in color. It’s a medium-bodied wine with rich fruit flavors of blueberry and black cherry, a hint of oak influence, and lovely acidity on the finish. It’s a lot of wine for very little money.

Esporão Alentejano Monte Velho Tinto
Esporão Alentejano Monte Velho Tinto

Esporão Alentejano Monte Velho Tinto 2013, $9.99 SRP (sample)
This is not my first Portuguese red, but again, I’m amazed at the price-to-quality ratio of this wine. It’s a nice, everyday food-friendly red. I taste cranberry, raspberry, and black cherry, with some toasty notes, and nice acidity on the longer-than-expected finish. Only $10, you can’t lose. I’d pair this with a hearty meal like Thanksgiving, pizza, just about anything.

Esporão Alentejano Monte Velho Branco 2014
Esporão Alentejano Monte Velho Branco 2014

Esporão Alentejano Monte Velho Branco 2014, $9.99 SRP (sample)
Fragrant and crisp, with a mélange of melon, grapefruit, lime, and stone fruits on the palate. I would never know this was a $10 wine. I think this is also my first Portuguese white wine. Saúde!

Note: If you’re interested in the Portuguese wines, the United States importer is Aidil Wines & Liquors.

Iron Horse Brut Rosé 2007
Iron Horse Brut Rosé 2007

Iron Horse Brut Rosé 2007, Green Valley, Sonoma, $50 from the winery
(Wine Enthusiast 91, Robert Parker 93)
This is an exemplary brut rosé from Iron Horse. Gorgeous color, nose, mousse, and palate. It’s 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay, aged four years on the yeast, 2100 cases produced. The wine has yeasty, fruity notes, a crisp mouthfeel, luscious, ripe strawberry flavor, and finishes with a zing of acidity.

Ceja Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Adobe Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Ceja Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Adobe Vineyard, Sonoma Coast

Ceja Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Adobe Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, $22 from the winery
This Sauvignon Blanc produced by Amelia Ceja and her family is made in the Fumé Blanc style, fermented in stainless and oak barrels, then aged 13 months in second-fill barrels. It’s very fruit-forward, with aromas and flavors of grapefruit, lemon, and lime, but with a creamier, textured mouthfeel due to the time spent in oak. Enjoy this with seafood and salads.

Penns Woods Bancroft Riesling 2013
Penns Woods Bancroft Riesling 2013

Penns Woods Bancroft Riesling 2013 , $22 at the winery
(Silver Medal: 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition)
This pale, straw-colored Riesling from Penns Woods Winery is perfect spring sipper, with floral aromatics and a lovely balance of golden delicious apples, nectarine, honey, and a citrusy finish. Remember that Riesling pairs with almost any food due to its often vibrant acidity.

If a blog post per month isn’t enough to whet your palate, I hope you will follow me on FacebookTwitterVivino and now Delectable, too, as I usually share my reviews or pics there as well.

Cheers!
Beth