Skip to content

2008 Kanzler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – Bottle Notes

Kanzler Vineyards, located in California near Sebasopol, was founded in 1996 by Stephen and Lynda Kanzler. Planted in 1996 in a former apple orchard, the vineyard quickly developed a reputation for producing world class Pinot Noir grapes featured in award winning wines from some of the finest wineries in Northern California, including Kosta Browne, A.P. VIN and Landmark. In 2004, the Kanzlers launched their own label featuring grapes grown exclusively from their vineyard. Alex Kanzler, the son of Stephen and Lynda, is the current winemaker.

Light crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. Sweet red fruits, earth, cinnamon and tea on the nose. Big, rich and bold. Great mouthfeel and nice acidity. Strawberries, sassafras, cloves and cherries on the palate. Everything I love about Kanzler Vineyard. Super effort from a challenging vintage. Drink over the next 1-3 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Current vintages of Kanzler are available exclusively via the mailing list. The 2012 was released last spring at a price of $52. Highly recommended.

In other news Rivers-Marie has started to make a Kanzler Vineyard Pinot Noir with the 2012 vintage. I expect the wine will be spectacular.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

Betz Family Winery Fall 2014 Release Party

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 (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), and I fully expect quality will remain high for years to come.

Betz is open twice a year for the release of their wines: Spring welcomes Bordeaux Blends, and Fall the Syrah-based wines. Located south of the Schoolhouse District in Woodinville, Betz release parties draw such large crowds that Woodinville Fire and King County Sheriff employees are hired to direct traffic.

I attended the Fall release party this past Sunday, a scorching hot late Summer afternoon. Despite the weather, and this being the opening day of the NFL season, the winery was simply packed. Bob and Steve made themselves available all afternoon to mingle with visitors.

Here are my initial impressions on the new releases:

  • 2012 Betz Family Bésoleil - 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 12% Counoise, 15% Mouvedre and 15% Syrah. Great floral and garrigue aromas with strawberries and kirsch on the palate. Young, primary, tight and brooding. The components are all there but this wine needs a few years in the cellar. My rating: 92 points.
  • 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Serenne – 100% Syrah from Boushey Vineyard. Black fruits, smoke, grilled meats, graphite and spice. Solid wine but my least favorite of the three Syrahs. This is the bottle to open, of the current releases, if you are so inclined. My rating: 91 points.
  • 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Rousse – 100% Syrah from Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyards on Red Mountain. Black fruits, olive brine, stones and violet. I’d stick this wine in a Northern Rhone tasting as a ringer. Hands off for the forseeable future. My rating: 94 points.
  • 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – 100% Syrah from Red Willow Vineyard. Dark, tight and inky. Exceptionally concentrated. Black fruits, coffee, game and pepper. This needs a ton of time in the cellar. Côte Patriarche is the best wine being made at Betz. A worthy follow up to the stellar 2011. My rating: 96 points.

I’ve been buying the Betz wines for a decade now. I can’t emphasize enough that the entire lineup needs extended time in the cellar. These current releases will be no exception.

I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wine is readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. All of these new releases are worth searching for.

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 (9/8/14)

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!

Cheap Wine Ratings reviews the Four Vines Biker Zinfandel.

The Daily Meal writes The Lodi Native Project Makes a Strong Impression.

Natalie MacLean reviews the 2011 Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel.

Cliff’s Wine Picks reviews the 2009 Sandler Wine Company Zinfandel Buck Hill Vineyard.

Jessica Yadegaran of the San Jose Mercury News writes Wine Tasting Itinery: Sutter Creek and Winery Adventure: Turley Wine Cellars.

Terroirist Wine Blog writes Lodi Native: A Master Class in Old Vine Zin.

Yours truly reviewed the 2012 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2004 Domaine Isabel Ferrando Châteauneuf-du-Pape Colombis – Bottle Notes

Domaine Isabel Ferrando is owned by Isabel Ferrando who created the estate when she purchased 3.9 hectares of vines. The goal was to create a wine that was distinct from Domaine Saint Prefert, her other Southern Rhone winery. The wine is 100% old vine Grenache made from grapes ranging from 65-100 years of age. 2004 was the debut vintage.

The wine is ruby red in color and checks in at 14.5% ABV. Red fruits, stones and tar on the nose. Rich and plush. Medium body with perfect acidity. Kirsch, plums, garrigue, dried cherries, cranberries and Herbes de Provence on the palate. Dusty tannins on a beautiful finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Isabel Ferrando is making super wines at both Domaine Isabel Ferrando and Saint Prefert. I’m not sure about distribution because neither are easy to come by. That being said, they are worth searching for. The ’11 and ’12 Isabel Ferrando should be available for $50-$60. I’m a buyer.

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 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County

Zinfandel of the Month is a new 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 September Zinfandel of the Month is the 2012 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County.

Seghesio Family Vineyards  was established in 1895, when Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. The focus at Seghesio has always been Zinfandel and Italian varietals.

Crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. From Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys. Predominantly Zinfandel with but with small parts Petite Sirah, Carignane and Syrah. Briar, brambly red fruits and pepper on the nose.  Medium body with just enough acidity to keep things interesting. Tart raspberries, cherries, black licorice and pepper on the palate. This wine will not wow you with complexity but it is  fun to drink and a great value as well.

My rating: 89 points.

This wine is readily available at retail. Hard to wrong here at under $20. A solid value year in and year out. You also might want to consider some single vineyard Zinfandels from Seghesio including the Monte Rosso and Pagani.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2010 Fielding Hills Syrah Riverbend Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Fielding Hills Winery was founded by winemaker and owner Mike Wade in 2000. The winery is located in East Wenatchee in a converted orchard shop. Fielding Hills also just opened a tasting room next to Nefarious Cellars on Lake Chelan. Wines produced include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and a red blend.

Wade’s Riverbend Vineyard was named after the bend in the Columbia River near Priest Rapids Dam.

Dark crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. 94% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Black fruits, game and pepper on the nose. Opulent and full bodied with perfect acidity. Black cherries, blackberries, anise and peppercorn on the palate. The finish is exceptional. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Fielding Hills is a winery I have very little experience with. Really well made wines that are attractively priced. I look forward to visiting again on my next visit to Chelan

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 (9/1/14)

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!

Melissa Vogt of Examiner.com writes Project Zin Goes Above and Beyond.

Now And Zin Wine reviews the 2012 Lodi Native Zinfandel Macchia Wines Noma Ranch.

Key & Swirl reviews the 2011 Harney Lane Lizzy James Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel.

Wilfred Wong on Wine.com writes Kicking Off California Wine Month With Zin!

The People’s Palate on Zinfandel Proves Again Why It’s My Favorite Wine.

Wine Enthusiast features Joe Shebl and Tegan Passalacqua in 40 Under 40: America’s Tastemakeres 2014.

Zinfandel Chronicles reviews the 2009 Brown Estate Zinfandel.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2009 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.

Garnet in color. 15.2% ABV. Perfumed nose of lush red fruits, pepper and licorice. Light on it’s feet with nice acidity. Lush and elegant with super sweet fruit. Raspberries, strawberry preserves, cherries and a touch of pepper on the palate. The finish lingers and before you know it you are reaching for another sip. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 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. It should be included in the conversation with the likes of Turley, Carlisle and Bedrock. The wine can be found at retail and at the winery. Seriously consider signing up for the mailing list.

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

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Central Coast

Williams Selyem Winery began when Ed Selyem and Burt Williams started making wine as a hobby in 1979 in Forestville, California. Their first commercial release was in 1981, and in less than two decades they created a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Setting a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking, they put Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley at the forefront of the best Pinot Noir regions in the world.

Today, John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery from Burt and Ed in 1998, work with winemaker Bob Cabral to carry on the passion for Pinot Noir without compromise.

Ruby red in color. 14.2% ABV. Dark fruits, mushrooms and cherry cola on the nose. Light and delicate with nice acidity. Cherry pie, strawberries, raspberries and baking spice on the palate. I’ve seen recent notes that this wine is past it’s prime. Perhaps not in your face fruit like Kosta Browne or Sojourn but still a gorgeous wine. Drink over the next year. Always a great value at about $40 from the winery.

My rating: 91 points.

Williams Selyem can periodically be found at retail, but the mailing list is highly recommended.

In other news it was announced recently that Bob Cabral will be leaving Williams Selyem after the 2014 vintage is harvested. This is a huge blow to Williams Selyem and one that needs to be closely monitored by fans of the winery.

I wrote about Williams Selyem recently in Reflections on Two Days in Russian River Valley 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

2002 Cayuse Bionic Frog Syrah – Bottle Notes

The 2002 Cayuse Bionic Frog was the winning bottle in the August installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was not decanted.

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.

Bionic Frog fruit is sourced from Coccinelle Vineyard. The 4.5 acre plot was planted in 1998.

Purple in color. 14.6% ABV. Complex nose of cherries, smoke and game. Silky mouthfeel. Cherries, peppercorns, olives and grilled meats on the palate. The finish is endless. Textbook Cayuse. This wine is the complete package. Intriguing, complex, sophisticated and elegant. Great showing for a 12 year old Washington Syrah. Clear proof that the wines of Cayuse are age worthy. If I had another bottle I’d love to check it out at the 15 year mark.

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 recently in 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