Archive for the ‘Winery’ Category
Yes, reviews and tasting notes are back! With the 2012 harvest behind me, its time to get back to sharing tasting notes. (Note that even when I don’t post regularly here, you
can still regularly find my notes on Cellartracker.
Rhoning With Ridg
I was in love with this Syrah when I had it earlier this year, and am in love again now, wish I had bought a case instead of 2 bottles. It is sold out, I have to admit. This release is a hit each year, and doesn’t last long. The 2007 is available now, and I intend to taste and buy a few this weekend.
Generally my Syrah palate leans towards cool climate Syrah, that have a different flavor profile, are leaner, and lower in alcohol, but the Ridge is an example that Syrah from warmer regions like Dry Creek can still be (very) appealing to those with cool climate biased palates.
This Syrah is bolstered I believe, in part, because it hs 8% Viognier, co-fermented, Cote Rotie style.
Tasting Notes: 2006 Ridge Lytton Estate Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
- To The Eye: A deep inky purple
- On The Nose: wonderful aromatics; notes of blueberry & violets, supporting stronger notes of black fruit, dried fruit, many layers.
- In The Mouth: Layered dark fruit, with both silky texture and structure. Great acidity that integrates beautifully. Black fruit and smoked meat on the front palate, silky red fruit mid palate, and then and incredible lingering finish that is full of fruit and acid, that slowly fades off the tongue over 30-60 seconds.
At 14.4% alcohol, it is modest, and balanced. Typical of Ridge, this wine has a decade + of aging potential, but is highly enjoyable now.
A gem of a wine, that any wine lover can find something to appreciate, and fairly priced at 34 dollars. 92 points
It was enough to make my finally buckle and join the Ridge Wine club.
Taste Rhones in New York Next Week, Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser
If you are in New York, next Wednesday you can taste Ridge, and 30 other Rhone Ranger producers at City Winery New York. The Rhone Rangers will be making donations to the Red Cross relief effort. See details at: What Hurricane? Rhone Rangers Ride to NYC Nov 7th – Details, Relief Efforts, Promo Code & Ticket Contest #RRNY
I realized its been quite a while since picked a ‘wine of the week.’
Look no further, especially for local Bay area readers. Here is a local Healdsburg highlight of my May journeys through Rosé, so far.
I am again delinquent about reviewing Cartograph, best known as an emerging Pinot Noir producer to watch.
I reviewed their Gewurtraminer some time ago, which (ironically) was my debut wine of the week. I have a stash of their Pinot Noir I really must write about. Generally when I open a bottle of Cartograph, its for ‘me’ time, sorry, on occasion I don’t share everything I drink.
Since I last wrote, Cartograph has teamed up with Stark Wines to open one of the coolest tasting rooms in Healdsburg. Friday nights there have been especially fun as they have rotated in live music, artists, writers and more. Tonight for example, is singer Steve Pile. The tasting room is Garagiste Healdsburg, which in addition to its highly lauded tasting room, is a small production facility.
During the summer, you can sit outside on their amazing patio, order wine by the glass, and have food delivered from Healdsburg restaurants. Great wine, food delivered, and a gorgeous patio – Simply Hedonistic!
Release Party, Saturday May 25th
This wonderful Rosé is available tomorrow at their release party in Healdsburg tomorrow 1-5 pm. (But open until 7 pm.)
Review: 2011 Cartograph Pinot Noir Rosé, Russian River Valley
To The Eye: Light vibrant pink, with a salmon orange hue.
On The Nose: Expressive nose of fresh strawberries, white peach, rose petals.
In The Mouth: Bright, fun, and (too) easy to drink. A red fruit bowl of strawberry, fresh raspberry, bright cherry, pomegranate. Fresh fruit on the front palate, nice mouth feel mid palate, balanced with Bright mouthwatering acidity on the finish.
Recommendation: canadian pharmacy no prescription This one is a keeper, buy 3-6 bottles, and make sure you hide away 1-2 for Thanksgiving! Tasting room only, $19. Only 55 cases made. (And a handful of the cutest damn 375 ml bottles you ever saw. ) 91 Points
Wine Geek Info:
- TA 6.7
- pH 3.16
- Alc: 13.2
It’s a only matter of days and hours until I spend 2 days in the Rhone mecca of Hospice du Rhone, so as I work tonight, I am sipping and paying homage with a white Rhone blend from small local producer, Sheldon. I had originally intended to review their Grenache based Vinolocity a few weeks ago, but it was one of those nights where I just enjoyed the wine too much to put thoughts
keyboard. Should make Eric Asimov proud after his comments at the last Bloggers conference.
I recommend Sheldon winery regularly to Sonoma visitors, although I have only reviewed one of their wines, officially, to date. (It was, however, one of my highest ever scoring red wines.) Tobe and Dylan have a true passion for making wines that are unique, expressive, and truly artisanal.
Review: Sheldon 2010 Vinolocity Blanc – Sonoma Coast Rhone Blend
I fell in love with this wine during Wine Road Barrel tasting weekend in 2011 and bought futures, something I do rarely for whites.
Like all Sheldon wines, this is unfined, unfiltered. Only 13% alc. A blend of 50% Viognier (with skin contact), 25% Grenache Blanc, and 25% Roussanne.
To The Eye: Light yellow straw color, quite clear and bright. (Who says unfiltered means cloudy.)
On The Nose : Tangerine, white peach, white grapefruit, spice.
In the Mouth: Nice mouth feel from combination of acidity and Malolactic. Citrus at front palate, viscous slightly tropical mid palate, and an interesting pleasing finish of acidity and slight nuttiness.
But man can not live by Rhone alone (my friend, Rhone icon Randall Grahm told me this!) so last night it was time to go back to ‘my first girl’ and share notes on a winery I have enjoyed for years, but is one of those I somehow just never reviewed before.
If you haven’t been to Dutton-Goldfield’s ‘new’ (its not that new anymore it opened April 2010) they no longer share with Balletto but have a gorgeous tasting room of their own. Venture over to Sebastopol some time for a quality tasting experience.
Dutton-Goldfield is renowned for their Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but they have several other small lot releases up their sleeve, including Syrah, Zin, and a Pinot Blanc I can’t wait to taste and share shortly.
Wine Review: 2010
Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch, Russian River Valley (Sonoma County)
I couldn’t be more pleased by the slow return to “balance” in Sonoma County wines, and no varietal do I appreciate this more in than Pinot Noir. Elegant, soft, sultry, spicy as she should be, not dark, tannic and flabby. Not that any Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir, during the duration I have been exposed to their wines, ever went down that route, and thus why I have been a fan.
To quote D-G on this vintage, as I think it shows prominently in the tasting:
2010 is a favorite vintage for the masochistic DG winemaker—cold, then wet, then HOT, then cold. Patience, a great grower, and attention paid off. In the end, we harvested a crop of extremely low yield (production of this wine is down from even the sparse 2009 vintage), tiny berry, high acid, low sugar and wonderfully ripe, concentrated and tasty pinot. Though alcohol is low and acid is solid, the phenolic ripeness and bright juicy fruit just sings in this vintage.
On The Nose: The wine is incredibly expressive; blueberry and blackberry, combined with hint of lingering spice, leap out of the glass like a bowl of berry cobbler.
In the Mouth: Pleasantly (and a bit to my surprise), the wine is more restrained that the aroma profile
might lead you to anticipate, I was fearing overly expressive fruit. This Pinot Noir changes wonderfully as you taste it. The initial front palate is soft and pleasing black fruit, mid palate, tart cranberry expresses itself and shows the acidity more, with a spice note at finish that lingers pleasantly on the tongue.
Recommendation: Buy and Drink or Hold. This excellent Pinot Noir is modestly priced at $38.
This wine drinks wonderfully now, but should age well, and gain complexity with bottle time. I’d recommend buying several bottles; some to consume, some to hold to observe it over time. You won’t go wrong either way. Media Sample.
Wine Geek Info:
- APPELLATION: Russian River Valley
- VINEYARDS: Maurice Galante, Emerald Ridge, Silva, Morelli Lane, Freestone Hill
- ALCOHOL: 13.5%
- TITRATABLE ACIDITY: 0.58 gm/100 ml
- PH: 3.62
- WINEMAKING: Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down.
- BARREL AGING: 10 months in French oak (40% new barrels)
- WINEMAKER: Dan Goldfield
- CASES PRODUCED: 2,598
and_tasting.php” target=”_blank”>Weekend Celebration of American Rhones” and the April 26-28th 20th anniversary of Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines” in Paso Robles.
I am frequently asked “why Rhone wines.” I love, drink, taste, and buy wines of many varieties and categories, but I REALLY love Rhones. Why? I will write a more in depth article soon, but highlights were captured in an article a year ago in: Why Rhone Wines & Wine Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee.
I’d recommend reading the full post, but if I can capture one meaningful paragraph:
Rhone wines have more diversity across the varietals and give winemakers a huge flavor portfolio to work with, and thus consumers a myriad of combinations and flavor profiles. In Rhone wines, often the Sum of the Whole, is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Palate Evolution – Blends Are Good!
This is an important turning of enlightenment for the American wine consumer, who is lead to believe over the last three decades that single varietal wines are best. When one visits and tastes the Old World wines of Spain, France etc you learn quickly how untrue that is, and how uncommon. (There are of course some exceptions, like in Burgundy for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.)
That isn’t to say that 100% varietal wines are bad – I think the French are missing out by not making 100% Grenache Blanc. I can also readily admit often White Rhone blends with Grenache Blanc, are better, and easier to make, than many of the mediocre 100% Grenache Blancs. Blending gives a winemaker aroma and flavor profile tools you otherwise don’t have with a single varietal.
Anyway, I digress. Tonight’s review is about a Red
Rhone blend, from a brand that pays homage to Rhone blends: Wesley Ashley Wines. The above principles are sound, and the same.
Red Rhone blends, because of the great diversity of their components, offer the exploring wine drinker an infinite number of flavor profiles, far more than a Bordeaux blend. The variance between Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec etc, especially (sadly) when made in a New World style provides a far less range of differentiation than the red fruit of Grenache or Cinsault or Counoise, meatiness of Mourvedre, smokey complexity, white pepper of Syrah, and the raspberry of Carignane. Red Rhone blends are a never ending series of new discoveries as they vary by their composition and region.
Even before tasting, I knew I was going to likely love this wine when I saw that it had changed from the previous release, and Grenache was now the primary vintage. I also knew they had a hit on their hands when I was a guest at a wine club event last summer, and a few bottles sneaked out, and crowds went loco, even though owner Jim Sloate thought it wasn’t ready and didn’t want it released yet.
This red Rhone blend is comprised of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Petite Sirah, a big change from the previous Carignane dominant release.
To The Eye: Translucent, nearing opaque dark red. (As it should be, Grenache is by its nature not a deep purple color producing wine.)
On The Nose: This nose knows its Grenache. That classic undertone of cherry hard candy, strawberry, hint of spice. Fortunately the Grenache was kept in neutral oak, allowing its essence to shine through.
In The Mouth: Red fruit at the front, the syrah’s meatiness comes through mid palatte, with hints of coffee & mocha at the finish.
Recommendation: Buy. A Great Rhone red blend. I like it solo, but would love to pair it with lamb, grilled pork or chicken. $38 online or taste by appointment in Santa Rosa. (As well as the upcoming Rhone Ranger event.) Media Sanple.