Skip to content

2004 Cayuse Syrah En Cerise Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Cayuse was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France who grew up in family of winemakers in Champagne. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. However, on a visit to Walla Walla he found property that he believed would be perfect for growing grapes and decided to purchase the land.

En Cerise Vineyard was planted in 1998. Translated from French, it means cherry – appropriate as the site was a former orchard.

Crimson in color with some bricking on the edge of the glass. 14.3% ABV. Great nose of cherries, meat, olives and iron. Full bodied with nice acids and a great mouthfeel. Gob of cherries on the palate with game, blood, soy and tea. En Cerise has and always will be about cherries. Aging gracefully. Super finish. Drink over the next few years. Thrilling wine.

My rating: 95 points.

The waiting list for the Cayuse mailing list is huge and you need to be well-connected to get a bottle via retail. Either way, current vintages are worth the hunt!

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings, Cayuse 2014 Release Party and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

Zinfandel of the Month – 2012 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Bacigalupi Vineyard

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular 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 December Zinfandel of the Month is the 2012 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Bacigalupi Vineyard.

Wonderment Wines was founded in 2011 by Stephanie Cook. The wines are focused on specific terroir where each wine represents the vineyards distinctive style and expression. Stephanie honed her winemaking skills at Robert Biale Vineyards, Spottswoode Estate and Spy Valley in New Zealand before going out on her own.

Bacigalupi Vineyard is situated on Westside Road, a few miles south of the town of Healdsburg. The Zinfandel vines date back to the 1950’s.

Deep purple in color. 15.9% ABV. Red fruits, pepper and lavender on the nose. Full bodied and rich with nice structure and complexity. Raspberry compote, black cherries, strawberries and pepper on the palate. Supple tannins on a satisfying finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 points.

$40 at the winery. This was my first chance to try a wine from Wonderment. The focus on exceptional vineyards is admirable. Lots to like here and certainly a winery to keep an eye on.

This review was based on a sample provided by the winery.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

The Week in Zinfandel (12/8/14)

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!

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine writes The Wall Street Journal Disses Zinfandel.

The Mom Reviews writes Zinfandel Experience Tasting Event.

The Reverse Wine Snob reviews the 2011 Bianchi Zinfandel.

Just Grapes Wine reviews the 2011 Ridge Lytton Springs.

ENOFLYZ Wine Blog writes Wine of the Week: 2011 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard.

Zinfandel Chronicles reviews the 2006 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge.

Lastly, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers announced The 2015 Zinfandel Experience.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2009 Sojourn Pinot Noir Gaps Crown Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Sojourn Cellars was founded in 2001 by Craig Haserot and Erich Bradley. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and recently added a Chardonnay to the lineup. Their fruit is sourced from some of California’s finest vineyards.

Gap’s Crown Vineyard is situated directly east of and overlooks the Sangiacomo Vineyard on Roberts Road near Cotati at an elevation of 300-800 feet above sea level on the Sonoma Coast.

Light crimson in color. 14.7% ABV. Red fruits, cinnamon, brown sugar and forest floor on the nose. Spicy on the palate with medium body and zippy acidity. Flavors of cranberry, strawberry, cherry and baking spices. Decent finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Current vintages are available via the Sojourn mailing list and website. The 2012 was priced at $54 per bottle.

Definitely consider a visit to the Sojourn tasting parlor on your next visit to Sonoma. They do a one-of-a-kind sit down tasting where you will have the opportunity to sample many of their highly acclaimed wines. My wife and I have had the good fortune to spend some quality time with Craig and Ziggy (his dog with a talent for sniffing out TCA).

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

The Story of O Wines

O Wines was established in 2006 in Woodinville, Washington by Stacy Lill and Kathy Johanson with a stated mission of funding college scholarships for low income, young women to assist them in achieving their greatest potential through education. Each bottle sold helps send young women to college through the O Wines “Opportunity for Success” Scholarship program. The College Success Foundation, based in Issaquah, Washington manages the scholarships.

Since the launch of the brand to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, followed by a nationwide rollout in 2013, more than $300,000 has been raised to support 52 college scholarships. Beginning in 2013 the program was modified so each scholarship is $20,000 given in $5,000 increments annually over a 4 year period.

To help expand her vision and impact, Lill realized that she could not do it alone, and in 2012, she sold O Wines to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Washington. The last year that Lill owned O Wines, production was 12,000 cases. Ste. Michelle was able to immediately increase production to nearly 100,000 cases. Despite selling selling O Wines, Lill remains actively involved, traveling the country speaking on behalf of O Wines and its cause.

O Wines currently produces a Chardonnay and a Red Blend. I recently received samples to try.

2011 O Wines Chardonnay – Light in color. 13% ABV. Lemon oil, hazlenut and vanilla on the nose. Granny smith apples, butterscotch and hint of citrus on the palate. Ready to drink. $12 at retail.

2010 O Wines Red Blend – A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Purple in color. 13.5% ABV. Red fruits, anise and plums on the nose. Cherries, currants and cocoa on the palate. Supple tannins and just enough acidity. Drink over the next year or so. $14 at retail.

Both of these wines would be good options for large functions. Well made, easy on the pocketbook and supporting a great cause.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2006 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge – Bottle Notes

Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley and specializes in small lots of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from some of California’s most historic and treasured vineyards.

Rattlesnake Ridge is an estate-owned and certified organic vineyard. The vineyard is located at the top of Howell Mountain at about 2600 feet.

Crimson in color. 15.9% ABV. Appealing on the nose with scents of brambly red fruits, licorice and rose petals. Lighter in style and more delicate than most the Turley wines from this era. Medium body with light acidity. Raspberry, huckleberry, pepper and chalk on the palate. Soft tannins on this very elegant Zinfandel. Drink over the next year.

My rating: 90 points.

Turley wines are available via the mailing list and periodically at retail.

With all due respect to Carlisle and Bedrock, Turley is arguably the best Zinfandel producer in California. Exceptional vineyards sources throughout the state of California and no detail spared in the winemaking process. The wines are simply better than ever.

Turley has tasting rooms in both Amador and Paso Robles. If you are not on the mailing list, this is an easy way to secure bottles. Both are not to be missed if you are in the area.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

The Week in Zinfandel (12/1/14)

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!

Weekly Wine Journal reviews the 2012 OZV Zinfandel.

Dan’s Cellar Sips reviews the 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi.

Melissa Vogt writes Heritage Zinfandel Tasting: A Fifteen Year Vertical of ZAP Zinfandel.

Jon Bonne of the San Francisco Chronicle writes Top 100 Wines: Zinfandel and Other Reds.

Taste California Travel writes ZAP Announces Four New Selections from Heritage Vineyard.

Wells On Wine reviews the 2012 Scarlett Zinfandel.

Lettie Teague in the Wall Street Journal writes Zinfandel That Pairs Well With Food.

The Wine Cask Blog reviews the 2008 Pietra Santa Zinfandel.

Cheap Wine Ratings reviews the 2010 Four Vines Truant Zinfandel.

Lastly, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers announced The 2015 Zinfandel Experience.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2005 Cuvée du Vatican Réserve Sixtine – Bottle Notes

Cuvee du Vatican is a 40-acre estate in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone Valley. It is owned and operated by the Diffonty family, which traces its history in Rhone Valley winemaking to the 17th century. Jean-Marc Diffonty now runs the estate.

In 1998, Cuvee du Vatican began producing the popular, Reserve Sixtine wine from some of their oldest vines. It’s usually a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre.

Dark crimson in color but fading slightly at the edge of the glass. 14.5% ABV. Red fruits, plums, licorice and wet pavement on the nose. Full bodied and rich with great mouthfeel. Raspberries, garrigue, kirsch and creme de cassis on the palate. Super finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years. Really delicious Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

My rating: 92 points.

Over delivers at the $50 price point for recent releases.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

New Releases From ACORN Winery

Bill and Betsy Nachbaur purchased Alegria Vineyard in 1990. Situated in the Russian River Valley, Alegría Vineyards has 26 acres planted with Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, and many lesser-known varieties. The oldest part of the vineyard dates back to the 1890’s. For the first many years Bill farmed the vineyard and the grapes were sold. ACORN Winery was founded in 1994 and the first release was a Sangiovese in 1996. Clay Mauritson is the consulting winemaker.

I recently had the opportunity to try some of the wineries new releases.

2011 ACORN Winery Axiom Syrah – Purple in color. 13.5% ABV. 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier. Black fruits, game, cassis and mocha on the nose. Medium body and moderate acidity. Tart blackberry, black cherry and mint on the palate. This wine is young and it shows. Check back in on this bottle in 3-5 years. $34 at the winery and retail. My rating: 91 points.

2012 ACORN Winery Sangiovese – Light ruby red in color. 14.1% ABV. These grapes trace back to Sangiovese planted in the 1950’s by A. Rafanelli! How cool is that? Super nose of black fruits and tobacco. Light in body and light acidity. Plums, black cherry, cocoa powder and minerals on the palate. Healthy tannins on a lean finish. This wine screams for food like pizza or barbeque. Drink over the next 2-4 years. $30 at the winery and retail. My rating: 88 points.

2011 ACORN Winery Cabernet Franc – Ruby red in color. 13% ABV. 88% Cabernet Franc blended with Merlot, Petit Verdot and a few other varieties. Bordeaux like nose of red fruits, leather, tobacco and cedar. Plums, currants, cherries and vanilla on the palate. Supple but present tannins. Drink over the next 3-5 years. $34 at the winery and retail. My rating: 90 points.

These reviews were based on samples provided by the winery.

ACORN Winery is open for sales and tasting by appointment only. I look forward to visiting on my next trip to the Russian River Valley.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2007 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard – Bottle Notes

The 2007 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard was the winning bottle in the November installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for an hour and served with beef stew on a frigid night in Seattle.

Saxum Vineyards is located in the Paso Robles AVA of Central California. Founded in the early 2000’s by Justin Smith, a young winemaker who had previously been part-owner of Linne Calodo, Saxum leapt into the limelight in late 2010 when its 2007 James Berry Vineyards wine was named the #1 Wine of 2010 by Wine Spectator. Smith owns the winery with his wife Heather, and produces up to 2,800 cases of wine a year.

Opaque purple in color. 15.5% ABV. 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache. Great nose of flowers, grilled meats, scorched earth and camphor. Rich and pure with tremendous viscosity. Medium body with medium acidity and still substantial tannins. Black cherry liqueur, blackberry compote, raspberries, black licorice and baking spices on the palate. Super finish on a sexy bottle. Great big wine that is showing well with an extended decant. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Current wines from Saxum are available via the mailing list at $98 per bottle. There is a several year wait before you can expect to receive an offer.

I’ve written about Saxum previously in Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email