A few interesting things came out of the pile this week, including a gorgeous Pinot Noir with a little age on it from Baxter Winery in the Anderson Valley. There are some bottles of this floating around on the market and it is well worth seeking out.
I'm working through a number of Ridge Vineyards samples, and their stalwart East Bench Zinfandel continues to perform as expected. Tasty wine.
Cinnabar winery was sold in the last few years, but they continue to make excellent wines for the money, with their Cinnabar red blend a crowd pleaser as always.
And finally, look for another single vineyard offering from Steven Kent winery in Livermore, whose Small Lot series of wines continues to be a winner to my taste.
All this and more below. Enjoy!
2010 Keller Estate "El Coro" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of bright raspberry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth silky textured flavors of raspberry and cranberry have a faint sweetness to them and are barely dusted with powdery tannins. The tiniest bit of alcoholic heat lingers in the finish, but otherwise this is a pretty wine. 14.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $52. click to buy.
2010 Cinnabar "Mercury Rising" Red Wine, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cassis and black cherry. In the mouth, flavors of black cherry and cassis have a slightly smoky, peppery quality in addition to their lightly sweet fruit. Faint powdery tannins are balanced by bright acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $16. click to buy.
2011 Ridge Vineyards "East Bench" Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of licorice, blackberry, and black pepper. In the mouth, flavors of black pepper and blackberry are embedded in a thick blanket of tannins. Good acidity and a nice earthy backdrop complete the package. 14.6% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9.Cost: $25. click to buy.
2011 Thomas Fogarty Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of green wood and green herbs mixed with raspberries and cherries. In the mouth bright raspberry and cherry fruit flavors have a wonderful aromatic sweetness to them and an electric brightness thanks to excellent acidity. The tannins are faint, and leave only a slightly powdered chalky quality on the edges of the mouth. Good finish, great balance. 12.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $??.
2010 Steven Kent Winery "Small Lot Offering - Ghielmetti Vineyard" Cabernet Franc, Livermore Valley, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cocoa powder, roasted hazelnuts and French oak. In the mouth juicy flavors of cherry are tinged with nutmeg, and cinnamon and a hint of oak. Excellent acidity keeps the fruit bright, and the suede-like tannins wait until the finish to press in gently on the palate. Pretty, nicely balanced, and delicious. 13.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $43.
2012 Solminer "Rancho Sisquoc" Riesling, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara, California
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine smells of honey, wet stones, and white flowers. In the mouth flavors of linalool, lemon, and white flowers mix with an electric citrus brightness that is quite compelling. There's something odd about the wine aromatically, as if some sort of odd yeast was used to ferment it, but that shouldn't be seen to detract from the wines obvious pleasure. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $26. click to buy.
2010 Yangarra Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black pepper, blackberries, and cassis. In the mouth, rich blackberry and cassis flavors are bedded in velvety tannins and tinged with black pepper. Rich and ripe. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.
2009 Baxter Winery "Langley Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells beautifully of lavender and leather and cedar and raspberries. In the mouth, gorgeous raspberry and wet earth flavors are wrapped in a fine gauze of tannins while excellent acidity pushes the raspberry fruit towards kumquat citrus notes while cedar highlights linger in the finish. Quite compelling and aging beautifully. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2011 Cloudburst Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of rich and salty melted butter and lemon curd. In the mouth, buttered popcorn and lemon curd mix with a slightly yeasty saline character that is interesting. Powerful and rich, the wine doesn't quite have the acidic kick I would like to support the richness, but the oak is thankfully quite well integrated. 14% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $150.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune