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Posts from the ‘Buying Wine’ Category

New Releases from Bruce Patch Wines

Bruce Patch cut his teeth in the music industry — having once met the Beatles and helped to discover the famous 80’s band, The Cars. Bruce moved to the Russian River Valley in the late 1990’s, and transitioned his sales and marketing background into a successful distribution business representing small independent wineries in Sonoma County. Bruce Patch Wines sources grapes from throughout Sonoma County, including many notable vineyards like Clopton, Harris-Kratka and Carreras.

The winery recently sent me their new releases to sample.

2012 Bruce Patch Wines The Red Dress Primitivo – 100% Primitivo from the Rose Vineyard in Kenwood. Purple in color. 16.3% ABV. Seductive nose of black fruits, pepper and flowers. Plush and jammy on the palate with nice acidity. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry and pepper. Healthy tannins on a long, spicy finish. Fun wine! Drink over the next 2-4 years. $35 at the winery. My rating: 90 points.

2014 Bruce Patch Wines Zinfandel Harris Kratka Vineyard – Bright crimson in color. 15.4% ABV. Brooding nose of dark fruits, earth and white pepper. Big and plush on the palate with medium acidity. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry and dark cocoa. The finish is long and sweet with sneaky tannins. Well made Zinfandel from a super vineyard. Drink over the next 3-5 years. $35 at the winery. My rating: 91 points.

2013 Bruce Patch Wines Zinfandel Carreras Ranch Vineyard – A field blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet from vines planted in 1906. Bright red in color. 14.1% ABV. Red fruits, earth and iron on the nose. Big and full bodied with medium acidity. Raspberry compote, boysenberry and minerals on the palate. The finish is long and supple with trademark, dusty Dry Creek tannins. Drink over the next 3-5 years. $40 at the winery. My rating: 92 points. 

2013 Equavinity Zinfandel Landry Vineyard – A collaboration between Bruce Patch Wines and Russian River Vineyards. Crimson in color. 15.1% ABV. Pretty nose of juicy red fruits, white pepper and red licorice. Medium body with bright acidity. Raspberry, strawberry and a hint of citrus on the palate. The finish is long and sweet. Delicious Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-4 years. $30 at the winery. My rating: 91 points.

Bruce Patch Wines is a winery that I was unfamiliar with. This set of samples has placed the winery on my radar. Worth your attention!

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Three New Mailers to Consider

I’m on too many mailing lists. It was one of the first topics I wrote about when Zinfandel Chronicles launched over 3 years ago in Confessions of a Mailing List Addict. The last mailers I added to my annual purchases were Sandlands and Horsepower. All that being said, three new projects have really caught my attention.

AldenAlli is a collaboration between the families Dan Kosta and Emeril Lagasse. The winery is named after their wifes Alli Kosta and Alden Lagasse. The initial release was a 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir sourced from Campbell Ranch and Lancel Creek Vineyards. Dan Kosta is making the wine. The first bottling was fairly priced at $56 per bottle. Those of you who are still on the exceptionally long Kosta Browne wait list might be well served to consider AldenAlli.

Ferren Wines was founded in 2013 by David Wherritt and Matt Courtney. Matt was a longtime assistant for Helen Turley at Marcassin Vineyard. Ferren will also focus on Sonoma Coast bottlings. The initial release included three Chardonnays sourced from Silver Eagle, Lancel Creek and Frei Road Vineyards and a single Pinot Noir sourced from Silver Eagle Vineyard. The wines are aggressively priced at $75 per bottle but production is small and the pedigree is unquestionable.

Lastly, if you want to take a true flyer on a mailing list then take a look at Once & Future Wine. There is not much information on the website but speculation is that this a project of Joel Peterson who founded Ravenswood Winery. There will be a 2016 release of a Sonoma Zinfandel and a Napa Valley Petit Sirah. If Ravenswood is the model, expect the wines to be fairly priced, exceptionally well made and sourced from some of Northern California’s most historic vineyards.

As I evaluate my mailing list purchases in 2016 I will look closely at AldenAlli and Ferren Wines. I will also await more information on Once & Future Wine.

Are there any new mailing lists that you are considering in 2016?

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2006 Washington Merlot

The September installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2006 Washington Merlot. 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. I plan on opening the winning bottle this coming weekend and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

2006 was a better than average vintage in Washington. The Summer was hotter than normal with the exception of September when some mild temps and rain moved in. October was dry and sunny with moderate temperatures, allowing longer hang time when needed. Reds with the the right balance of tannic structure and acid appear to be aging exceptionally well. That being said, as the vintage approaches 10 years of age, I do think the time is right to visit these wines if you have them in your cellar.

The contenders:

2006 Quilceda Creek Merlot – The 2006 Merlot contains 9.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot. Purple-colored, it offers up an expressive nose of cedar, cinnamon, cassis, and black currant. This is followed by a rich, smooth-textured, savory wine with outstanding density and grip. Nicely balanced and lingering on the palate, it will continue to unwind for several more years and offer peak drinking from 2013 to 2021. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.

2006 Cayuse Flying Pig – The 2006 Flying Pig is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. Baron’s take on Cheval Blanc, the wine was sourced from yields of 1.3 tons per acre. It offers up a sexy bouquet of mineral, Asian spices, incense, black cherry, and black currant. Full-bodied but light on its feet, this complex effort is hard to resist now but will easily evolve for another 5-7 years due to its impeccable balance. Drink this pleasure-bent wine from 2015 to 2026. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

2006 Leonetti Merlot – The 2006 Merlot has 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, and 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. It was aged in a mix of new and used barrels for 15 months. It is dark ruby/purple-colored with aromas of cedar, earth notes, clove, cinnamon, red currants, and black currants. This leads to an elegant wine with ripe, savory flavors, good depth, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will evolve for 3-4 years and be at its best from 2012 to 2020. 91 points from the Wine Advocate.

I admittedly took some liberty by including the Flying Pig which in ’06 had more Cabernet Franc than Merlot. This does fluctuate though and is about as close to Merlot as Christophe Baron is ever likely to get.

Which 2006 Washington Merlot Should I Open?

  • 2006 Cayuse Flying Pig (47%, 16 Votes)
  • 2006 Leonetti Merlot (38%, 13 Votes)
  • 2006 Quilceda Creek Merlot (15%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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

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Pick My Next Bottle: 1996 Bordeaux

The August installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 1996 Bordeaux. 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. I plan on opening the winning bottle this coming weekend and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

1996 was a classic year for the Left Bank. Robert Parker scored St. Julien, St. Estephe and Pauillac at 96 points. The hot, sunny and dry conditions gave the vines the perfect amount of stress which allowed the Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen perfectly. The wines are considered rich, concentrated and tannic. As the wines approach 20 years of age they should be well into their peak drinking window.

A couple side notes regarding the vintage:

  1. There has been an ongoing debate about whether the 1996 vintage was better than 1995. The Wine Spectator has always favored ’95, while Parker has always favored ’96.
  2. Rains in late August really took a toll on the Right Bank and the wines are for the most part inferior to their counterparts on the Left Bank. In a way the vintage is the polar opposite of the ’98 vintage when the Right Bank excelled and the Left Bank did not.

The Contenders:

96 Leoville Poyferre – This fabulous 1996 was tasted three times from bottle, and it is unquestionably the finest wine produced by this estate since their blockbuster 1990. Medium to full-bodied, with a saturated black/purple color, the nose offers notes of cedar, jammy black fruits, smoke, truffles, and subtle new oak. In the mouth, there is impressive fruit extraction, a tannic, full-bodied structure, and a classic display of power and finesse. The longer it sat in the glass, the more impressive the wine became. Backward, and massive in terms of its extract and richness, this should prove to be a sensational Leoville-Poyferre for drinking over the next three decades. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

’96 Clerc Milon – This is among the finest wines I have ever tasted from this estate. Lavishly oaked, with gobs of pain grille and rich fruit, it is massive and concentrated. The color is dense ruby/purple. The bouquet offers notes of roasted coffee, tobacco, and jammy cassis. Although surprisingly soft and opulent on the attack, the mid-section and finish reveal the wine’s full body, high flavor extraction, and moderate tannin. This complete, large-scaled Clerc-Milon will be at its finest between 2005-2018. 90 points from the Wine Advocate.

’96 Lagrange – This impeccably run, Japanese-owned property has fashioned a superb 1996. Opaque purple-colored, with a backward yet promising nose of classically pure cassis intermixed with pain grille and spice, this medium to full-bodied, powerful yet stylish wine possesses superb purity, a nicely-layered feel in the mouth, and plenty of structure. It will not be an early-drinking St.-Julien, but one to lay away and enjoy over the next 2-3 decades. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2022. 90 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 1996 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • '96 Leoville Poyferre (39%, 11 Votes)
  • '96 Clerc Milon (32%, 9 Votes)
  • '96 Lagrange (29%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The July installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the the 2003 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 on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2003 was, simply put, one of the hottest vintages on record in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The grapes had high sugar levels and low acidity. Robert Parker gave the vintage a conservative score of 90 points while the Wine Spectator weighed in at 93 points. The very best of the best from CdP have aged well but many of the wines should be consumed in the very near term. I think it is high time to check in on some of the bottlings from my very favorite CdP producers.

The Contenders

  • 2003 Clos des Papes – A great bottle and showing the hallmark elegance of the estate, the 2003 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape offers up a kirsch liqueur, liquid flower, red licorice and spice-box driven bouquet along with a full-bodied, seamless, silky profile on the palate. Still beautifully put together and aging gracefully, with a core of sweet fruit, it is certainly drinking well now, yet should continue to hold and drink nicely through 2020. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Beaucastel – Much like it was in 1998, the blend for Beaucastel’s 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape includes more Grenache (50%) since that varietal was both consistent and of high quality. The balance is 20% Mourvedre, and 30% such varietals as Syrah and Counoise. Its deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by an earthy style, moderately high levels of tannin, and neither the suppleness nor forward flamboyance of the 2000 or 2001. Dense, full-bodied, and structured, the 2003 is clearly a vin de garde. It will require 5-6 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 15-18. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Clos Saint Jean Combe des Fous – A big, ripe and voluptuous effort, the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Combe des Fous is thrilling stuff that’s drinking beautifully. Incense, exotic pepper, cedar and spice are all supported by a ripe core of sweet kirsch and blackberry fruit. It’s full-bodied, rich, textured and voluptuous on the palate. Showing no signs of over-ripeness or astringency, with polished tannin and excellent mid-palate depth, it pumps out loads of fruit on the finish, and should be consumed over the coming handful of years… As to the Combe des Fous release, this cuvée comes from a single plot of vines and is based largely on Grenache, with roughly 20% Syrah and 10% each of Vaccarese and Cinsault in the blend. The Grenache is aged all in tank and the other components see time in mostly demi-muids. While the Deux ex Machina always impresses more with its overt power and muscle, this cuvee always seems more polished, fine and elegant to me. 97 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape should I open?

  • Clos des Papes (59%, 13 Votes)
  • Beaucastel (32%, 7 Votes)
  • Clos Saint Jean Combe des Fous (9%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the August Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

I wrote about the 2003 vintage in France previously in Reflections on the 2003 Vintage in France.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The May installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the the 2002 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 on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

By all accounts 2002 was an exceptional vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Following on the heels of the flashy 2001 vintage, a long dry Summer with some September heat spikes, led to an earlier than normal harvest. The top wines of the vintage are aging gloriously and will cruise to fifteen years of age assuming ideal storage conditions.

The Contenders

  • 2002 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Araujo’s spectacular 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is a 1,700-case blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot from a vineyard tucked in the lower hillsides of northeastern Napa Valley, not far from the quaint town of Calistoga. Araujo has enjoyed an incredible string of top-notch vintages from 2001 through 2005 and again from 2008 through 2010. Extremely youthful at age ten, the 2002 is a candidate for perfection. Its dense blue/purple hue is followed by abundant aromas of cassis, incense, crushed rocks and spring flowers. Full-bodied and opulent as well as pure, rich and authoritative, with abundant but beautifully integrated tannins, this opulent, plush 2002 can be drunk now or cellared for another 20-25 years. 99 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Dalle Valla Cabernet Sauvignon – The sensational 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc from the red soils of their vineyards planted in the Oakville Corridor on the eastern hillsides overlooking the valley floor vineyards of Screaming Eagle and Rudd Estate. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by aromas and flavors reminiscent of a 4-to-5 year-old wine rather than one that has already hit a decade of age. In fact, it probably needs another 5-10 years of cellaring and should keep for 20-25 more years. It is another example of what will one day be regarded as the ‘golden age’ of Napa Valley for the progress in quality and the world class wines that were produced. A wine of great stature and majesty, the youthful 2002 exhibits sweet licorice, creme de cassis, incense and graphite aromas, and is bursting with potential. 97 points from Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – The nearly perfect 2002 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest dollops of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This exotic, full-throttle, nearly over-the-top red wine’s intensity, richness and smoky coffee notes intermixed with notions of chocolate, graphite, and jammy blackberry and black currant fruit ooze from the glass. This rich, concentrated beauty tastes more like a top-notch, young Right Bank Bordeaux from a vintage such as 2009 than a wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. With stunning purity and awesome potential, it can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades.
    99 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon should I open?

  • Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (49%, 19 Votes)
  • Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (31%, 12 Votes)
  • Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon (20%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the June Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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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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Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Super Tuscans

The April installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Super Tuscans from the the 2004 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 on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2004 was a great vintage in Tuscany. A long, cold winter and a rainy spring delayed the budding and flowering. The prolonged warm summer and unusually hot October brought the grapes to optimum ripeness. The vintage is on par with other classic vintages including 1990 and 1997. The best wines should age exceptionally well.

The Contenders

  • 2004 Antinori Tignanello – The estate’s 2004 Tignanello is a modern-day classic. Suggestions of macerated cherries, menthol, sweet spices, licorice and French oak meld seamlessly into a perfumed silky-textured core of ripe fruit. The tannins remain incredibly fine throughout. The wine’s vibrant color and fresh flavors suggest it will age gracefully over the next decade. This is a remarkably refined Tignanello. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Isole e Olena Cepparello – The 2004 Cepparello has fleshed out beautifully since I last tasted it. Dark raspberries, flowers, licorice and spices blossom from the glass as the wine opens up over time. When it was young the 2004 was a much more linear wine, but since then it has put on a lot of weight. Today, the 2004 comes across as a modern day 1982 because of its balance of aromatics, fruit and structure. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2034. 95 points from Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Argiano Solengo – The 2004 Solengo presents gorgeous aromatics followed by super-ripe dark fruit, crushed flowers, herbs, spices and sweet toasted oak that flow from its opulent, full-bodied frame. Showing superb concentration, the wine is supported by an attractive note of underlying minerality that provides balance as well as a sense of proportion. It offers outstanding length, a silky-textured personality and ripe, sweet tannins on the finish in a rare display that marries power with elegance. It will be tempting to drink this early, but a few years of cellaring will give the wine an opportunity to express the fullest range of its potential. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2004 Super Tuscan Should I Open?

  • Tignanello (44%, 12 Votes)
  • Cepparello (37%, 10 Votes)
  • Solengo (19%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the May Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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

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Force Majeure Spring 2015 Release Party

Previously known as Grand Rêve, Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride. Force Majeure pairs 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, Mike McMorran and Ross Mickel.

Force Majeure recently announced the hiring of Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, as the winemaker for the Force Majeure Estate wines and Helen Keplinger of Keplinger Wines as the Consulting Enologist. Force Majeure Vineyard is located in the Red Mountain AVA and is currently planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache and Viognier.

Force Majeure does two release parties per year. The Release Party this past Saturday was the second time I have had the opportunity to visit Force Majeure’s new winery. The winery, located near the Woodinville Warehouse District, is a huge step up from the previous facility.

The following wines were poured at the release party:

  • 2013 Collaboration Series Viognier
  • 2012 Collaboration Series III
  • 2012 Collaboration Series VI
  • 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2012 Estate Syrah

I did not take detailed notes but the highlights were the CS III and the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Since the winery was founded the CS III has been my favorite wine and the ’12 version was no exception. Think rich, plush black and blue fruits intermixed with minerals and an amazing floral characteristic and you are on the right track. The Estate Cabernet is all about creme de cassis, red fruits and graphite with amazing concentration, texture and balance. If you need scores I would put both wines were in the 94-96 point range. Lastly, if you purchased the Viognier, save a bottle for Thanksgiving dinner. You can thank me later.

I also had the opportunity to try barrel samples of the 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The Cabernet shows tons of red fruit and graphite shrouded by a wall of silky tannins. The Syrah was dark, smoky and brooding with  loads of potential.

Paul McBride previously told me the plan is to move towards 75% Estate wines with just a few Collaboration Series wines per year, as mailing list only.

Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in Washington. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sign up for their mailing list.

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Pick My Next Bottle – Washington Legends

March is Taste Washington Wine Month. Taste Washington Wine Month is an annual celebration of Washington State’s award winning industry. The culmination of Taste Washington Wine Month is Taste Washington, a massive tasting of food and wine held at the CenturyLink Field Event Center.

With that in mind the March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles from the very best producers in Washington. 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 later that week.

The Contenders

  • 1998 Leonetti Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – I could not help breaking into a smile when I tasted the medium to dark ruby-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Its extraordinarily spicy, cherry syrup-scented nose leads to a flavor profile that explodes on the palate with substantial quantities of cherry syrup, raspberry coulis, and Asian spices. Gary Figgins’ Cabernets can be as boisterous as Olivier Humbrecht’s Gewurztraminers. The purity and power of the sweet, spicy fruit flavors found in this wine are truly extraordinary. Additionally, it possesses an extremely long, candied, sweet tannin-filled finish. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvigon – Unlike some minuscule production “cult” wines or luxury cuvees culled from a winery’s primary product that have earned perfect scores over the years, Quilceda Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon is the winery’s raison d’etre and is produced in significant quantities (3,400 cases in 2002, 3,425 in 2003). For accomplishing this feat the Golitzens should be doubly proud. Dark ruby-colored and sporting a nose of violets, sweet blueberries, dark cherries, and slight undertones of asphalt, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon blossoms on the palate to expose a wine of ethereal delicacy yet immense power. Medium to full-bodied, it expands to reveal concentrated layers of cassis, blackberries, red cherries, raspberries, violets, spices, and touches of candied plums. This rich, exquisitely balanced, sweet, and broad wine is harmonious, graceful, and awesomely long. 100 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard – The 2008 Armada Vineyard Syrah takes the longest to come around according to Christophe Baron. It was aged in puncheon for 22 months. Smoked meat, game, Asian spices, lavender, and blueberry are just some of the scents composing the wine’s aromatic array. In the glass it opens to reveal a pure, rich, elegant but powerful wine with a 60-second finish. It, too, will drink nicely for 10-12 years. I’m a bit cautious on my aging potential estimates because of the lack of a track record. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Washington Legend should I open?

  • 1998 Leonetti Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (53%, 30 Votes)
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (35%, 20 Votes)
  • 2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard (12%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 57

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

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

 

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