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2004 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

The 2004 Beaucastel was the winning bottle in the August Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. This bottle was decanted for one hour.

Chateau de Beaucastel, located in Courthezon in the Southern Rhone Valley, has over 250 acres of organic vineyards. Unlike many Rhone Valley producers, Beaucastel grows all 13 of the grapes permitted in the appellation and the estate uses an unusually high percentage of Mourvèdre in its red wines, usually around 30%, along with 30% Grenache and smaller amounts of Syrah, Counoise, Cinsault, Vaccarese and Muscardin. The estate’s most prestigious wine, Hommage a Jacques Perrin, is made with 70% Mourvedre. Several families have owned the estate over the course of its 400-year history and the present owners are the Perrin family, whose ownership of the estate dates to 1909.

Deep red in color. 14% ABV. Somewhat subdued nose of red fruits, herbes de Provence, menthol and garrigue. Medium body with medium to strong acidity. Cherries, iron, white pepper and licorice on the palate. The finish is long with refined tannins. Even at 12 years of age this wine seems a touch primary. I expect more secondary characteristics in the years to come. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Current vintages of Beaucastel including the ’13 are widely available at retail and a good buy in the $75 range.

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The Week in Zinfandel (8/22/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2007 Carlisle Syrah Pelkan Ranch – Bottle Notes

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike and Kendall Officer. Their passion is clear: Small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards. Many of these vineyards are heritage sites planted by Italian immigrants and date back to the late 1800s . They have also recently added their first whites, two blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County’s first ever Grüner Veltliner.

Pelkan Ranch is located in the Knights Valley AVA at 1000′ elevation on a rocky ridge top facing Mount St. Helena.

Bright crimson in color. 14.9% ABV. Savory nose of black and blue fruits, olive brine, grilled meats and charcoal. Full bodied with ample acidity. Rich, layered and complex. Blackberry, black cherry, cracked pepper and mint on the palate. The finish is long, rich and creamy. Stunning Syrah. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Current vintages of the various Carlisle wines are available via the mailing list, which is exceptionally long. Several retail outlets in California stock Carlisle, but you need to check with them at the time the winery releases their wines in the Spring and Fall.

I’ve wrote about Carlisle previously in Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The August installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the 2004 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I will open the winning bottle this coming weekend and publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

Similar to 2003, the 2004 growing season was marked by drought, but with substantially less heat. As in ’03, yields were less than normal—down up to 40 percent at some domaines—a result of the small, concentrated berries that the vines produced. However, unlike 2003, when the Grenache grape was the stand out, all the varieties performed well in ’04, including Mourvèdre, a key component of many Châteauneuf-du-Papes.

At 12 years of age, I feel like the top wines from the vintage should be in a sweet spot. Time to confirm my suspicion.

The Contenders:

2004 Clos des Papes – Amazingly refined, with a pure, silky current of raspberry ganache and cassis flavors that glides along supple tannins. Hints of mocha, mineral and garrigue check in on the long, pure finish. Has serious structure for the long haul. All about balance and finesse. Drink now through 2030. 96 points from the Wine Spectator.

2004 Janasse Chaupin – Dark ruby. Wonderfully fresh nose dominated by bright raspberry and strawberry preserves. Silky and very sweet, with explosive red and dark berry flavors, medium weight, excellent concentration and supple tannins. The fruit/tannin balance is outstanding, and the wine finishes impressively long and juicy. 93 points from Stephen Tanzer.

2004 Beaucastel – Thoroughly primal, with a torrent of raspberry and boysenberry fruit rushing forth. Only shows hints of its full range, with licorice, incense, graphite and mocha flavors fluttering in the background. Has an iron-clad structure, with a long finish that shows great cut and grip. Best from 2009 through 2025. 96 points from the Wine Spectator.

Which 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Should I Open?

  • 2004 Beaucastel (48%, 19 Votes)
  • 2004 Clos des Papes (33%, 13 Votes)
  • 2004 Janasse Chaupin (19%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the September installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2006 Dehlinger Syrah – Bottle Notes

Dehlinger Winery is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and was founded in 1975 by Tom and Carole Dehlinger. Eva Dehlinger took over winemaking duties in 2007. Known for their Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

The grapes for Dehlinger Wines are largely grown on the Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The initial vines were planted in 1975 and followed by subsequent plantings through 1989.

Pitch red in color. 14.9% ABV. Sublime nose of black fruits, grilled meats and iron. Medium to full body with strong acidity. Plush and decadent with an old world flair. Cherries, olives, saline and game on the palate. The finish is stunning. Super Syrah from what I usually consider a challenging vintage for Dehlinger. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Dehlinger Winery has a great reputation among wine connoisseurs. Wine writers have consistently given strong reviews while praising the winery for its uniqueness, quality, consistency and value. About 75% of their wine is sold via the mailing list. Amazing wines that are well worth the search.

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The Week in Zinfandel (8/15/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Big River – Bottle Notes

Ravenswood was founded in 1976 by Joel Peterson. The winery is a pioneer in producing single vineyard Zinfandels from some of Napa and Sonoma’s most treasured vineyards, including Dickerson, Old Hill, Cooke and Belloni. I used to regularly visited Ravenswood in the summer, when they released their single vineyard wines. Back in the day they also served delicious barbeque on the deck out behind the winery. Great wine, great food and great memories.

Big River Vineyard is situated in the heart of Alexander Valley and the vines trace back to the the 1890’s.

Ruby red in color. 15% ABV. Crazy good nose of black and red fruits, white pepper and cloves. Medium body with medium acidity. Old school Claret style Zinfandel from a challenging vintage. Tart cherries, blackberries, toast and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and lean. The bar is high at Ravenswood and this bottle comes up a little short. Really good nonetheless. Drink over the next several years.

My rating: 89 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. The ’13 version of the Big River Vineyard Zinfandel will cost you right around $35

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2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch – Bottle Notes

Bedrock Wine Co. was founded by Morgan Twain-Peterson in 2007 and focuses on small production wines from many of California’ s most treasured and historic vineyards. The lineup of wines at Bedrock is expanding rapidly, but I think the best of the best are the ancient vineyard Zinfandels, Morgan is clearly passionate about.

Pagani Ranch is just off Highway 12 in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County. Angela and Felice Pagani came to Sonoma County from Italy, purchased the property and planted the vineyard in the early 1900’s. The fruit goes to Ridge, Bedrock, Carlisle and St. Francis.

Maroon in color. 15% ABV. Fantastic nose of raspberry liqueur, twizzlers and black pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Rich, layered and complex. Boysenberry, raspberry, pepper and earth on the palate. The finish is absolutely exquisite. One of the best Zins I have had this year. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The mailing at Bedrock is highly recommended. Exceptional wines, fair prices and great customer service. Put your name on the waiting list.

I blogged about Bedrock recently in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2008 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – Bottle Notes

Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

2008 was the second vintage of La Côte Patriarche. The fruit is from Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima Valley. The Syrah at Red Willow was planted in 1986 making it the oldest Syrah vineyard in the state.

Inky purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, olives, grilled meats and wild flowers. Full bodied with tons of acidity. Powerful, layered and concentrated with firm tannins. Blackberry liqueur, black cherries, white pepper and olive brine on the palate. The finish is long and unctuous. Timeless Syrah that is delicious now but will easily age another 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wines from Betz are readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. The 2014 La Côte Patriarche was released to the mailing list last month and should be available at retail in the near future. I’m a buyer.

I wrote about the new releases in Betz Family Winery End of Summer 2015 Release Party.

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The Week in Zinfandel (8/8/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

 If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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