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Posts from the ‘Bottle Notes’ Category

2009 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard – 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. Turley now makes right around 28 separate wines from 35 different vineyards, some with vines that date back to the late 1800’s. Tegan Passalacqua is the Director of Winemaking at Turley and has been instrumental in revitalizing the brand.

Pesenti Vineyard, in Paso Robles, is estate-owned and certified organic. The vineyard was planted by the Turley team using cuttings from the Hayne vineyard.

Crimson in color. 16% ABV. Stunning nose of brambly red fruits, wet stones and white pepper. Medium to full body with juicy acidity. Rich, lush and impeccably balanced. Cherry liqueur, raspberry compote, licorice and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and sweet. The best Zin I have had this year and also the best Zin I have had from Turley. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 96 points.

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

Turley was a big winner in The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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New Releases from Wonderment Wines

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.

Stephanie recently sent me her new releases to review.

2015 Wonderment Wines Pinot Noir Dutton-Campbell Vineyard – Light crimson in color. 14.2% ABV. Spellbinding nose of red fruits, forest floor and baking spices. Medium body with ample acidity. Restrained and earthy. Bing cherries, cranberries and earth on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. The wine picks up weight with time in the glass. Well made Pinot Noir. Drink over the next 4-6 years. $44 at the winery and retail. My rating: 93 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Pinot Noir Dr. Stan’s Vineyard –  Ruby red in color. 14.1% ABV. Great nose of red fruits, pine needle and baking spices. Medium body with medium acidity. Fresh and lighter in style. Cranberries, strawberries and pomegranate on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Delicious Pinot Noir that will be best over the next 2-4 years.  $65 at the winery and retail. My rating: 91 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Petite Sirah Bacigalupi Vineyard – Opaque purple in color. 14.1% ABV. Huge nose of black fruits, cassis and flowers. Full bodied with loads of acidity. Powerful and immensely concentrated. Blackberries, graphite and pepper on the palate. The finish is long with chalky tannins. A monster of a wine. Drink over the next 5-7 years. $48 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Sauvignon Blanc Las Trancas Vineyard – Straw colored and 14% ABV. Nice nose of lemons, tropical fruits, grass and wet stones. Medium body with medium acidity. Crisp and fresh. Green apples, lemons and peach on the palate. The finish is long and tangy. Drink over the next several years. $30 at the winery and retail. My rating: 89 points.

2016 Wonderment Wines Sauvignon Blanc Hyde Vineyard – Light straw in color. 14.4% ABV. Delightful nose of stone fruits, lemongrass and minerals. Medium body with bright acidity. Rich and somewhat oily. Pineapple, lemon oil and pears on the palate. The finish lingers. Super Sauvignon Blanc. Drink over the next 2-3 years. $34 at the winery and retail. My rating: 90 points.

I look forward to trying these wines every year and that is clearly reflected in the tasting notes above. Most of us are on too many mailing lists to begin with so I usually hesitate before suggesting you sign yourself up. I’ll make an exception here. I look forward to following the winery in the years to come.

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2002 Betz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille – 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 over five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

Violet in color. 14.4% ABV. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 6% Malbec. Powerful nose of black fruits, smoke and graphite. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Big and plush with resolved tannins. Blackberry, black cherry and currants on the palate. The finish is long and silky. For me the wines from Betz age ever so slowly. At 15 years of age this one is finally ready to go. Best over the next several years.

My rating: 92 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 2015 Pere de Famille will be released to the mailing list and retail next Spring. I’ll be a buyer.

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2007 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard – Bottle Notes

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.

Violet in color. 15.3% ABV. 65% Syrah, 21% Grenache and 14% Mourvedre. Showstopping nose of black fruits, bacon fat, graphite and flowers. Medium body with perfect acidity. Exceptionally well balanced. Rich and plush with tremendous mouth feel. Blackberries, grilled meats and cassis liqueur on the palate. The finish is incredibly long. Just a stunning wine. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 98 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 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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New Release Zins from Wonderment Wines

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.

Stephanie recently sent me her new Zins to review.

2015 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Burton Ranch Vineyard – Ruby red in color. 14.9% ABV. Reticent nose of red fruits, citrus and flowers. Medium body with medium acidity. Light and elegant in style. Cherries, salmonberries and blood orange on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Pretty Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 years. $35 at the winery and retail. My rating: 90 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Bacigalupi Vineyard – Dark crimson in color. 15.1% ABV. Sublime nose of brambly red fruits, plums and white pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Big, plush and spicy. Raspberry liqueur, cherry compote, brown sugar and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long. Super Zinfandel from a tremendous vineyard. Best over the next 3-5 years. $44 at the winery and retail. My rating: 94 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Pritchett Peaks Vineyard – Crimson in color. 14.9% ABV. Scrumptious nose of black fruits, pepper and a hint of peach. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Lush yet elegant. Black cherry, black raspberry and pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Drink over the next 2-4 years. $55 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.

What a well made set of wines although the Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel was definitely the showstopper! Most of us are on too many mailing lists to begin with so I usually hesitate before suggesting you sign yourself up. I’ll make an exception here. I look forward to following the winery in the years to come.

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2014 Jean Edwards Cellars Cooper’s Cuvee – Bottle Notes

Since 2004, Jean Edwards Cellars has produced wines from some of the Northern California’s most notable vineyards. Production is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon wines with limited offerings of Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, Merlot and Malbec.  Jean Edwards is owned by John and Karen Troisi.

Opaque purple in color. 14% ABV. Mostly Petite Sirah with a touch of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Savory nose of black fruits, smoke and herbs. Full bodied with medium acidity. Big, plush and rich. Boysenberry, black cherry and licorice on the palate. The finish is long and smooth. Super wine that goes down easy. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Named after the winery dog, Cooper, this wine is $42 at the winery .

Jean Edwards has a very loyal following. The wines are well made and fairly priced. Karen is very active in social media. This is an easy winery to like!

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1999 Marcarini Barolo La Serra – Bottle Notes

Marcarini Winery dates back six generations. The Marcarini estate covers 25 hectares and is situated in La Morra in Piedmont.  In sourcing fruit for their Barolo,  the family owns vineyard plots in La Morra comprising two of the areas best vineyards, Brunate and La Serra.  Each is bottled as a separate wine. The wines of Marcarini are fiercely traditional.

Light crimson in color. 14% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, tar, lavender and wet pavement. Medium body with supreme acidity. Powerful and concentrated all the while maintaining a sense of elegance. Dried black cherries, anise and iron on the palate. The finish is long and silky with substantial tannins. Absolutely glorious Barolo that is aging gracefully. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 94 points.

Marcarini is a bargain compared to other top notch Barolo. Bottles of the Brunate and La Serra can typically be found for $50-$60. The wines age for decades.

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2007 Leonetti Merlot – Bottle Notes

Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins. Leonetti, along with Quilceda Creek and Woodward Canyon put premium Washington Cabernet Sauvignon on the radar of wine consumers across the United States. Leonetti also produces one of the very best domestic Merlots. Chris Figgins is now in charge of the winemaking.

Violet in color. 14.3% ABV. 93% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot from Estate Vineyards. Stunning nose of black fruits, scorched earth and molten licorice. Big, plush powerful with plenty of acidity. Blackberries, cassis liqueur, espresso and dark chocolate on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with the silkiest of tannins. At 10 years of age this wine has entered what should be a long drinking window. Perhaps best over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 94 points.

Leonetti was one of my very first mailing lists. Twenty years later I am still a buyer and the wines are better than ever. The winery has done an exceptional job at holding the line on prices. Although the mailing list is full and the waiting list is long the wine is readily available at retail in late March so look for the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot next Spring.

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New Releases from Grgich Hills Estate

Grgich Hills Estate, in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley, was founded in 1977 by Mike Grgich and Austin Hills. 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. Mike Grgich was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2008.

I recently had the good fortune to try a few of their new releases.

2015 Grgich Hills Estate Fumé Blanc – Light straw in color. 13.5% ABV. Intriguing nose of tropical fruits, matchstick and wet stones. Medium body with racy acidity. Bright, fresh and crisp. Grapefruit, lemongrass and minerals on the palate. The finish is long spicy. Delicious Fumé Blanc. Drink over the next several years.  $31 at the winery and retail. My rating: 91 points.

2013 Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel  –  Crimson in color. 15% ABV. Co fermented with a touch of Petite Sirah. Powerful nose of black fruits and licorice with a strong floral component. Full bodied with loads of acidity. Blackberry, raspberry liqueur, chocolate and pepper on the palate. The finish is long with a healthy dose of tannins. Well made Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-4 years. $36 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.

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

These reviews were based on samples provided by the winery.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi

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 November Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi.

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 visit Ravenswood in the summer, when they released their single vineyard wines. Back in the day they also served delicious barbecue on the deck out behind the winery. Great wine, great food and great memories.

The 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi is 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% Alicante Bouschet.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, flowers, plums and pepper. Medium to full body with medium acidity. Rich, smooth and easy to drink. Cherry liqueur, blackberries and cocoa powder on the palate. The wine finishes strong. Delicious, affordable Zinfandel that will be at it’s best over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 90 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. The ’15 version of the Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi will only set you back about $15. Even better, the grocery store down the street likely has this wine.

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