Buying Wine

Barrel tasting with Chris Figgins

Chris Figgins, son of Leonetti Cellar founder Gary Figgins, assumed full responsibility for winemaking at Leonetti in 2001. For years Leonetti purchased their grapes but over time have moved to using Estate grapes from their own vineyards. The genesis for FIGGINS was the idea of making one wine from a single estate vineyard. For the second year in a row…

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Bottle Notes, Buying Wine, Pinot Noir

Thomas Winery: The Best Pinot Noir You Have Never Heard Of

One of the most collectible Pinot Noirs made in all of Oregon is from a winery you’ve probably never heard of: Thomas Winery. Located in Carlton, Oregon, winemaker John Thomas has been releasing small amounts of wine from the Thomas Vineyard since 1988. I don’t recall ever seeing ratings from the Wine Advocate or the Wine Spectator, and I don’t think…

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wine cellar
Buying Wine, Random Musings

The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings Revisited

I published the inaugural version of the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings last November. My intent was to rank domestic wineries based on buzz, “it” factor, excitement and the intrigue generated among wine collectors and consumers. I’ve ranked the wineries below and indicated whether they’ve moved up the list or down. I’ve also highlighted wineries new to the list and those…

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home wine cellar
Buying Wine, Random Musings

Vintage Charts Only Tell Half the Story

When I first started collecting wine I paid so much attention to vintage charts and rankings. I would buy sparingly from mediocre vintages like ’89 Napa Cabernets but I would back the truck up for a vintage like 1990. Nowadays I find myself paying far less attention to vintages and far more attention to producers. What changed my mind? I…

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Efeste 2013 Spring Release Party
Buying Wine

Efeste Spring 2013 Release Party

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. My wife Lisa is a…

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FIGGINS Wine Studio
Buying Wine

A Visit to FIGGINS Wine Studio

Chris Figgins, the son of Leonetti Cellar founder Gary Figgins, assumed full responsibility for winemaking at Leonetti in 2001. For years Leonetti purchased grapes, but over time moved to using Estate grapes from their own vineyards. The genesis for FIGGINS was the idea of making one wine from a single estate vineyard. During a recent trip to Walla Walla, we…

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Buying Wine

The Great Whites of Washington

When you think about the great wineries of Washington, Cayuse, Leonetti, Quilceda Creek and Betz come to mind. What do all these wineries have in common besides producing world class wines? None of them make a white wine. Washington may be best known for world class Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, but a wine enthusiast would be remiss in overlooking the…

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wine cellar
Buying Wine

Saxum 2013 Winter Release

The much anticipated release letter from Saxum arrived today. Not much to note other than well-deserved high praise from critics, pricing consistent with the release last Summer and perhaps the addition of concrete tanks in the winemaking process. I’ve blogged about Saxum previously in Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5. Hard to go wrong on…

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Buying Wine

Schrader 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Offer

The long awaited offer for the Schrader lineup of 2011 Cabernet Sauvignons arrived this morning. Schrader has once again held the line on pricing at $175 bottle. Admittedly this is not an inexpensive wine but given what the wine sells for in the aftermarket, Schrader should be commended for not raising prices. Below is the offer letter from Schrader.   “I…

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Buying Wine

Efeste Fall Release Party

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. Brennon Leighton, who recently left Efeste to work on a Chardonnay project with Charles Smith, was the winemaker up through and including the…

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