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The Week in Zinfandel (5/18/15)

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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2001 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines – Bottle Notes

Located in the Walla Walla Valley appellation of Washington State, Woodward Canyon Winery was started in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small. Woodward Canyon produces almost a dozen different wines, and their Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Chardonnay are some of the very best examples of those varietals produced in Washington State.

Purple in color. 14.2% ABV. Exceptional nose of red fruits, leather, anise and loads of graphite. Medium body with light acidity. Warm and caressing on the palate. Flavors of black licorice, currants, cassis and tobacco. Delicious wine but I think the tannins are going to outlive the fruit on this wine. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 91 points.

The reds from Woodward Canyon age as gracefully as anything produced in Washington.

The current vintage is widely available at retail, at the winery and via the mailing list for right around $80. The Artists Series Cabernet is a more affordable but still delicious alternative for about $45.

The winery is also a great first stop as you head into the Walla Walla wine country!

I wrote about Rick Small previously in The Washington Wine Hall of Fame.

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2009 Force Majeure Collaborations Series Sangiovese – Bottle Notes

Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and made its name pairing some of Washington’s highly acclaimed winemakers with fruit from one of Washington’s highly acclaimed vineyards, Ciel du Cheval. The winemakers contributing to the “Collaboration Series” is a Who’s Who of Washington winemakers including Ben Smith, Carolyn Lakewold, Chris Gorman, James Mantone, Mark McNeilly and Mike McMorran. Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

The CS Sangiovese is 80% Sangiovese and 20% Barbera made by Carolyn Lakewold.

Violet in color. 13.6% ABV. Red fruits, plums, leather and Christmas spice on the nose. Medium body with light acidity. Ripe cherries, licorice, chalk and cranberries on the palate. Gritty tannins on a nice, long finish. Interesting wine that pushes the envelope of ripeness. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 90 points.

Force Majeure warrants your attention and (as I write this) the winery is still accepting names for their mailing list.

In other news Force Majeure opened a new winery this past Fall. Located near the Woodinville Warehouse District, the winery is a huge step up from the previous facility. Concrete tanks, barrel storage and space for winemaker dinners were just a few of the highlights.

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2012 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – 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.

Predominantly Zinfandel with small amounts Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet. Grapes from Montafi Ranch, Sodini Vineyard, Rossi Ranch, Banfield Ranch and Saitone Ranch. A real “kitchen sink” wine.

Lighter in color than I would have expected. Call it light crimson. 14.8% ABV. Red fruits, blood orange and pepper on the nose. Medium body with perfect acidity. Raspberries, cherries and boysenberries on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Drink over the next year or two while you let the single vineyard wines settle down. One of the very best values in California wine at a little over $20 per bottle.

My rating: 91 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 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2012 “Birth Year” Case Wine Recommendations

This is my 4th annual “Birth Year” case blog post. This post can serve as a guide for readers who had children born in the year of 2012. My 2009 list , 2010 list and 2011 list were published around this time in the preceding years.

2012 was hit and miss around the globe. Stellar in Napa Valley and Walla Walla for instance but mediocre at best in Bordeaux.

Per previous year lists I attempted to find bottles from a diverse number of regions that have the capacity to age under appropriate cellar conditions for upwards of 20 years. I have kept the bottle price ceiling at $150. These wines should all be available at retail right now. Happy hunting!

1. 2012 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $110.

2. 2012 Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape – Region: Southern Rhone, Score: 93 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $60.

3. 2012 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie La Landonne – Region: Northern Rhone, Score: 96 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $139.

4. 2012 Pontet Canet – Region: Bordeaux, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $99.

5. 2012 Alain Voge Cornas – Region: Northern Rhone, Score: 95 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $70

6. 2012 Joh Jos Prum Riesling Auslese Wehlener Sonnenuhr – Region: Mosel, Score: 92 points from the Wine Spectator, Price: $32.

7. 2012 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port – Region: Portugal, Score: 94 points from James Suckling, Price: $80.

8. 2012 Fattoria Le Pupille Saffredi – Region: Tuscany, Score: 98 points from James Suckling, Price: $80

9. 2012 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Washington, Score: 97 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $150.

10. 2012 Outpost Cabernet Sauvignon True Vineyard – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 97 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $120.

11. 2012 Donhoff Riesling Spatlese Niederhauser Hermannshohle – Region: Mosel, Score: 91 points from the Wine Spectator, Price: $55

12. 1. 2012 Vieux-Château-Certan – Region: Bordeaux, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $150.

So there you have it. My take on a dozen wines from around the world that should all be exciting to try fifteen years from now. If diversity is not your thing then feel free to back up the truck on 2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Readily available wines like Montelena, Spottswoode, Pahlmeyer and Dunn should all age gloriously.

I’d love to hear from those of you that have put away wines from 2012 to pass on to children.

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The Week in Zinfandel (5/11/15)

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 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Grgich Hills Estate, in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley, was founded in 1977 by Mike Grgich. Grgich earned fame in 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced as winemaker at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines at the now famous Paris Wine Tasting. The estate has 366 acres of vineyards in American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford and Calistoga and is still best known for its Chardonnays, which consistently earn accolades from wine critics. Grgich also makes Fume Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and dessert wines.

From the Estate Vineyard in Yountville. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and equal parts Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Dark Crimson in color. 14.7% ABV. Black fruits, leather, graphite and flowers on the nose. Deep and rich. Full bodied with nice acidity. Black cherries, cassis and dark chocolate on the palate. The finish is exceptional. The structure here suggests this wine will develop nicely in the cellar for at least the next 7-10 years.

My rating: 92 points.

$65 at the winery and retail.

Grgich Hills is one of Napa’s iconic wineries. Consider stopping by when you next visit Napa Valley.

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

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2011 Efeste Syrah Ceidleigh – 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.

Ceidleigh is 100% Syrah sourced from Klipsun, Bacchus, Sagemoor and Kiona Vineyards.

Bright crimson in color. 14.4% ABV. Savory nose of dark fruits, olive brine and espresso. Rich and full bodied with strong acidity. Flavors of black cherry, roasted meats, coffee and a hint of anise. There are silky tannins on an exceptionally long finish. Scrumptious Syrah. Ceidleigh is the perfect foil to the Efeste Syrah Jolie Bouche. Old world in style as opposed to new world. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Ceidleigh can be found at retail for about $40 per bottle.

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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2013 Kinsella Estates Zinfandel Spencer’s Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Kevin Kinsella founded Kinsella Estates in 2008. Kinsella Estates is an organically farmed vineyard situated in a private valley in the foothills of the western edge of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Thomas Rivers Brown, of Schrader, Rivers Marie and Outpost fame, has been the winemaker from the start. Kinsella makes several Cabernet Sauvignons and a Zinfandel.

Deep violet in color. 15.5% ABV. Briar, brambly black fruits, baking spice and pepper on the nose. Rich and luscious. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Raspberry, blackberry, white pepper and a trace of cocoa on the palate. Great finish. This wine is young and succulent with tons of potential. Open a bottle now and cellar the rest for 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Review based on sample provided by the winery.

Look for the wine at retail or via the winery mailing list. The retail price is $50.

I have followed Thomas Rivers Brown for over a decade now yet somehow Kinsella Estates was not on my radar. If you find yourself on the long waiting list at Schrader, Rivers Marie and Outpost you should strongly consider the wines of Kinsella Estates.

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The Week in Zinfandel (5/4/15)

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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