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2014 Efeste Riesling Evergreen Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Efeste, pronounced like the letters “F-S-T” strung together, was named after the last names of founders Helen & Dan Ferrelli, Patrick Smith, and Kevin & Angela Taylor. Efeste is located in the Warehouse District of Woodinville, Washington. Peter Devison took over full-time winemaking duties when Brennon Leighton left to work with Charles Smith in 2012.

Evergreen Vineyard, in the new Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA, is one of the top sites for white wine in Washington state. Jerry and Butch Milbrandt began planting the site in 1998 not far from the famous Gorge Amphitheater. The vineyard began with 452 acres. Next year the Evergreen Ranch project will cover about 1,200 acres.

Light straw in color. 12.5% ABV. Intriguing nose of pears, apple, petrol and paraffin. Crisp and vibrant with bright acidity. Peach, melon, green apples and minerals on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Sipping this on my back deck while watching the sun go down on a hot Summer night makes me think all is right in the world. Drink this Summer or next.

My rating: 89 points.

Efeste has one of the best white wine programs in the state of Washington and the red wines are also exceptional. The wines are readily available at retail, via the wine club and at the winery.

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Pick My Next Bottle – The 2000 Vintage

The July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on wines from the 2000 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. The winning bottle will be opened this Sunday and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

My wife and I were married in July of 2000. With that in mind I stocked the cellar with enough wines from the vintage so that we would always have something to drink at an anniversary dinner. Knowing we will be eating Italian food this Sunday I have excluded Bordeaux from the list below. That being said I think most classified growth Bordeaux from this vintage could use more time in the cellar.

The Contenders:

2000 Argiano Solengo – There is no doubting the phenomenal quality of the 2000 Solengo, a blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah with a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot included in the blend. Its opaque ruby/purple color is followed by a stunning perfume of creme de cassis, blackberries, espresso, licorice, and new saddle leather. Full-bodied, sensationally concentrated, pure, and well-textured, with a 45-second finish, this unformed, youthful black beauty possesses extraordinary upside potential. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2022. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

2000 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe “La Crau” Châteauneuf-du-Pape – The elegant 2000 Vieux Telegraphe La Crau possesses 14.8% alcohol, along with a deep ruby/purple color, charming, rich, fruitiness, and firm tannin in the finish. With loads of freshness, copious quantities of pepper, seaweed, and black fruit characteristics, and a distinctive minerality, this full-bodied, sweet 2000 requires 2-3 years of cellaring; it should age well for 15-16 years. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2018. 91 points from the Wine Advocate.

2000 Marcarini Barolo La Serra – The 2000 Barolo La Serra has aged gracefully. Crushed flowers, tobacco, cedar, licorice and leather are some of the notes that emerge from this pretty Barolo. Layers of sweet, perfumed fruit linger on the beguiling finish. The firm La Serra tannins are always present, yet this remains a highly attractive wine that should continue to drink well for a number of years. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Wine from the 2000 Vintage Should I Open?

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

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2012 Under the Wire Chardonnay Sparkling Brosseau Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Under The Wire is a collaboration between Chris Cottrell and Morgan Twain Peterson and was founded just a few years ago. Inspired in part by the grower Champagne movement the project aims to make California Sparkling wines from a particular vineyard and vintage. Current vineyards include Bedrock, Brosseau, Hirsch and Alder Springs.

Brosseau Vineyard is located in the heart of the Chalone Appelation high above the Salinas Valley. The vineyard was originally planted in 1980.

Light gold in color. 12% ABV. Tiny, persistent bubbles. Aromas of warm bread, ginger and green apples. Crisp and refreshing on the palate with loads of acidity. Flavors of yeast, peach, apples and minerals. Super finish. I really prefer this to the 2011 version tasted earlier this year. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Under The Wire released their third set of wines a few months ago. If you are a fan I’d encourage you to sign up for the mailing list as I suspect the wines will be hard to come by in the upcoming years. The Brosseau Vineyard Sparkling Chardonnay was $60 direct from the winery.

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The Week in Zinfandel (7/11/16)

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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2012 Brown Estate Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

In 1980, The Brown Family acquired land in the hills east of Rutherford in the Napa Valley. In 1995 they decided to make wine under their own label. The following year the first vintage of Zinfandel was produced and subsequently they have added Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah to their lineup. First and foremost, Brown Estate is known for their exceptional array of Zinfandels.

Brown Zinfandel is near and dear to me. I’ve had all the Estate Zinfandels from the 1997 vintage forward, and my wife and I served the ’99 Zin at our rehearsal dinner at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn in 2000. With this in mind we opened this bottle on the eve of our upcoming anniversary.

Bright crimson in color. 15.2% ABV. Super nose of brambly black and red fruits, cassis and licorice. Lush and full bodied with mouth watering acidity. A fruit bomb on the palate with flavors of blackberry, raspberry compote, peach and minerals. The finish is long and smooth. Sensational Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 94 points.

It should be noted that the front label of the wine has a #BROWNZIN hastag. The winery was an early adopter of Twitter in their marketing endeavors.

Brown Estate makes Zinfandel that truly has very few peers in California. The wine can be found at retail and at the winery. Consider signing up for the mailing list. This bottle is fairly priced at $42 and the 2013 version is readily available.

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2006 Lillian Syrah – Bottle Notes

Maggie Harrison was assistant winemaker to Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non for eight years before moving to Oregon to take over the wine making position at Antica Terra. Lillian Winery, founded in 2004, represents Maggie’s personal project and reflects everything that she learned during her time at Sine Qua Non.

The fruit for the Lillian Syrah comes from the White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. The 77 acre vineyard was planted in 1997.

Ruby red in color. 15.6% ABV. Spellbinding nose of blue fruits, molten licorice and violets. Medium to full body with exceptional balance. Amazing texture and presence on the palate. Flavors of cherry liqueur, blueberries, iron and milk chocolate. The finish is long, seamless and silky. Stunning, sexy and extremely well crafted Syrah. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Lillian belongs in the discussion of best domestic syrahs with the likes of Cayuse, Saxum and the aforementioned Sine Qua Non.

The wine is available via the web site once a year and current vintages run about $75. The 2014 should be released in the near future. I recently blogged about Lillian forgoing their mailing list which is great news for those of you looking to secure a few bottles.

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The Week in Zinfandel (7/4/16)

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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Zinfandel of the Month – 2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

Zinfandel of the Month is a monthly feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The July Zinfandel of the Month is the 2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine

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.

The 2015 version of this wine will be a highlight of the upcoming Bedrock Summer release on July 26th. To that end I thought it high time to check in on the 2014 version. This version of Old Vine is 77% Zinfandel and a generous 23% mixed blacks from vineyards that average 80 years in age.

Bright crimson in color. 14.4% ABV. Fantastic nose of black fruits, dusty earth, cinnamon and pepper. Lush, juicy, brambly fruit with bright acidity. Fresh and well balanced. Blackberry, black cherry and cocoa powder on the palate. Dusty tannins on a long finish. Delicious Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 years while you cellar the single vineyard Zins.

My rating: 91 points.

At $25 or so off the mailing list this wine is one of the very best values in California Zinfandel.

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 2015 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2007 Dehlinger Syrah Goldridge – 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. Goldridge is a reference to the deep Goldridge soils of Dehlinger Vinyeard where the vines tend to be more vigorous.

Crimson in color. 14.6% ABV. Subdued nose of red fruits, licorice and flowers. Medium to full body with plush mouth feel and sufficient acidity. Cherries, game and white pepper on the palate. Soft tannins on a medium length finish. Easy to drink but somewhat underwhelming given the pedigree. Drink over the next 1-3 years.

My rating: 89 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.

I wrote about Dehlinger previously in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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The Week in Zinfandel (6/27/16)

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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