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Posts from the ‘Cellar Management’ Category

Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

The December installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon from 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.

2002 was a better than average vintage in both Washington and California. The contenders in this version of Pick My Next Bottle should be entering a period where they are drinking well and New Years Eve seems like a good enough occasion! Polls are open until Sunday afternoon.

The Contenders

  • 2002 Chateau Montelena “Estate” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon –  This appears to be one of the great efforts from Chateau Montelena, something I think I was correct about when I gave it an ‘in the bottle’ rating in 2006 of 95+. It is still an amazingly young wine that came from old vines on the famous St. George rootstock that did not require replanting because of the phylloxera epidemic that swept through Napa in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Despite its lofty 14.4% alcohol (high by Montelena standards) and the overall flamboyance of the 2002 vintage, it needs another 4-6 years of cellaring. This young, classic Cabernet Sauvignon represents the quintessential traditional school of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It possesses an inky/blue/purple color in addition to a tight, but promising nose of black currants, crushed rocks, earth and spice. Rich, full-bodied, pure and brilliantly executed, with perfect harmony, this is a sensational yet forebodingly backward, youthful Cabernet Sauvignon should keep another quarter of a century.  96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – 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.
  • 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 Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (44%, 17 Votes)
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (33%, 13 Votes)
  • 2002 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (23%, 9 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 January installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2000 Bordeaux

The November installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Bordeaux from the heralded 2000 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.

2000 was simply one of the best vintages ever in Bordeaux. It was the first vintage since 1990 where wines from both the Left and Right Banks were nearly perfect. From top to bottom great wines were made in the Medoc, Pomerol, St. Emilion and Pessac Leognan. The contenders in this version of Pick My Next Bottle should be entering a period where they are drinking well but I expect they will age beautifully for another decade. Polls are open until Saturday afternoon.

The Contenders

  • 2000 Pavie Macquin –  A beautiful crushed rock/liqueur of minerality characterizes this inky/purple-hued St.-Emilion. Tannic, with lots of pure black raspberry and black cherry fruit intermixed with a notion of charcoal as well as the aforementioned rocky/powdered stone component, this long distance runner requires another 5-6 years of cellaring. It should age easily through 2030+.  95 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2000 Troplong Mondot – Extremely young with an unbelievable deep purple color, the 2000 Troplong Mondot has hardly budged since I tasted it in 2003. Two recent tastings confirmed that this is the greatest Troplong Mondot between their profound 1990 and more recent vintages such as 2005, 2008, and 2009. Copious chocolate, graphite, blackberry, blueberry, cassis, and ink characteristics are present in this full-bodied, powerful, massive St.-Emilion. While the tannins are noticeable, they are better integrated than they were seven years ago, and the fruit, extract, and richness clearly outweigh the wine’s structure. This 2000 will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring (longer than I originally predicted), and has at least two decades of drinkability ahead of it. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2000 Grand Puy-Lacoste – The 2000 Grand Puy Lacoste is even better than such recent vintages as 2005 and 2009. A broad, classic, large-scaled effort, it boasts a deep blue/purple color as well as tell-tale notes of creme de cassis, subtle smoke, flowers, and unsmoked tobacco. Powerful, full-bodied flavors have shed a lot of tannin, but they remain relatively youthful. This is a young adolescent, broadly flavored Pauillac with an enticing texture as well as abundant richness and fruit. It can be enjoyed now, but promises to hit its peak in five years, and last for two decades. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2000 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 2000 Grand Puy Lacoste (49%, 19 Votes)
  • 2000 Pavie Macquin (26%, 10 Votes)
  • 2000 Troplong Mondot (25%, 10 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 December installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2010 Pinot Noir

The October Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles of Pinot Noir from the 2010 vintage. This vintage was very good in both Oregon and Sonoma and it is certainly time to check in on some of my favorite producers. The idea for this installment was crowd sourced from some of my favorite followers on Twitter. 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 weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

The Contenders:

  • 2010 Rochioli Estate Pinot Noir – This is Rochioli’s estate Pinot—without a vineyard designation. It’s a fabulous wine, showing the winery’s signature power, complexity and balance. The flavors are rich, with notes of red berries, persimmons, red currants, bacon and cola. Absolutely delicious now, and it should gain traction and change interestingly over 6–8 years.  95 points from the Wine Enthusiast.
  • 2010 Dehlinger Pinot Noir Goldridge Vineyard – Deep ruby. Complex scents of red and dark berry preserves, smoky herbs and cola, with a spicy overtone. Pungent and palate-staining raspberry and blackberry flavors are buoyed by a zesty mineral nuance. The dark berry and cola notes resonate on a long, smoky and appealingly sweet finish. Plenty rich but comes off balanced and quite pure.  92 points from Stephen Tanzer.
  • 2010 Thomas Pinot Noir Dundee Hills –  Vivid ruby. Pungent earth- and spice-accented black raspberry and cherry-cola aromas are lifted by a suave floral quality that gains strength with air. Deeply pitched, energetic dark fruit flavors take a brighter turn with air and pick up spicecake and anise nuances, along with a hint of smokiness. Chewy and penetrating on the strikingly persistent finish, which features supple tannins, lingering spiciness an a touch of smokiness. 95 points from Vinous.

Which 2010 Pinot Noir Should I Open?

  • 2010 Thomas Pinot Noir Dundee Hills (49%, 20 Votes)
  • 2010 Dehlinger Pinot Noir Goldridge Vineyard (27%, 11 Votes)
  • 2010 Rochioli Estate Pinot Noir (24%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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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 November installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Pick My Next Bottle – Grenache Showdown

The September Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles of Grenache. The idea for this installment was crowd sourced from some of my favorite followers on Twitter. It is timely as well, considering International Grenache Day was just a week ago. 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 weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

The Contenders:

  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin – I’ve drunk over a case of the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Chaupin from my cellar, and this was easily one of the finest bottles (it was from magnum) I’ve ever had. Made from close to 100% Grenache and brought up in foudre, it’s a crazy good, monumental beauty that offers loads of ripe blackberries, black raspberries, crushed flowers and garrigue aromas and flavors. Concentrated, layered and unctuous, with a to-die-for texture, no hard edges and a huge finish, this beauty is still youthful and is just now starting to show hints of maturity. When it’s this good, I can’t recommend waiting, but I’ve no doubt this will continue to offer this level of quality for at least another decade.  99 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows – Fresh strawberry and elderberry are tinged with birch bark extract, black tea, and basil, making for an aromatically intriguing and lip-smacking palate presence. An upwelling of beef marrow and a Syrah- (or Gewurztraminer-) like hint of smoked meat add to the wine’s saliva-inducing savor. Here is a really vivid illustration of how the best Washington wines offer nearly luxuriant richness and sweet berry intensity but at the same time exhilarating vibrancy and lift. And, true to Baron’s repeatedly stated intentions, there are – beyond salt, stone, and smoky aura of black tea – elements impinging on this wine’s superbly sustained finish that can only be called “mineral,” even if one can’t find further words for them… Incidentally, the wine was vinified in concrete and then aged in demi-muids plus one concrete egg. Apropos controlling alcohol and enhancing ripe flavors, this beauty clocked in at what – in comparison with other recent vintages – counts as a modest 14.3%, despite its warm growing season; yet as you can tell from my description, there’s nothing under-ripe about its performance! 95 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2013 Outpost Howell Mountain – There are 410 cases of the 2013 Grenache. This wine, which used 100% whole-clusters and aged 14 months in neutral French oak, offers terrific authentic aromatics of kirsch liqueur and strawberries that jump from the glass of this medium ruby-colored wine. The color looks light and somewhat insipid, but it is in no way an indication of the lush, sexy, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. This is a beauty, but seductive, and needs to be drunk in its first 4-5 years of life.  92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Grenache Should I Open?

  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows (39%, 20 Votes)
  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin (31%, 16 Votes)
  • 2013 Outpost Howell Mountain (30%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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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 – Washington Wine Month

The August Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles from some of the 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 weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

August is Washington Wine Month. The annual celebration of Washington wine is highlighted by the Auction of Washington Wines held at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

I’ve chosen wines from some of the most iconic wineries in Washington.

The Contenders:

  • 2003 Leonetti Reserve – Mouth-watering quantities of black raspberries and cassis liqueur are found in the nose of the stunning 2003 Reserve. A huge, immensely deep wine of intense concentration, it coats the palate with waves of dark raspberries and super-ripe black currants whose flavors linger in its exceptionally long finish. This decadent behemoth is magnificent to taste now and will be sumptuous over the next 15+ years.  97 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – 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 Golitzins should be doubley 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. Projected maturity: now-2022. 100 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2011 No Girls Syrah – In the same mold, with the buzzwords being finesse and elegance, the 2011 Syrah La Paciencia Vineyard offers textbook pepper, olive tapenade, smoke and crunchy berry fruits in its medium to full-bodied, seamless and beautifully textured profile. Showing impressive complexity and already hard to resist, I-d lean towards drinking bottles over the coming decade as well. Distinctly different from both the Cayuse and Horsepower releases, winemaker Elizabeth Bourcier continues to fine-tune these No Girls releases and they always show a perfumed, lively style that-s hard to resist. They all come from the La Paciencia Vineyard, which is located in The Rocks around the town of Milton-Freewater, and all of the wines see only neutral oak. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Washington Wine Should I Open?

  • 2011 No Girls Syrah (38%, 21 Votes)
  • 2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (34%, 19 Votes)
  • 2003 Leonetti Reserve (28%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 56

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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 – 2009 Syrah

The July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Syrah from the 2009 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 this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2009 was an average to slightly above average in California and Washington. However, I rarely worry about vintages when purchasing from these producers. Lillian, Carlisle and Cayuse seemingly deliver tremendous wines, year in and year out, regardless of conditions.

The Contenders:

  • 2009 Lillian Syrah –  Inky purple. Explosive aromas of candied dark berries, incense, violet and patchouli, with woodsmoke, olive and Asian spice nuances adding complexity. Lush, palate-coating black and blue fruit compote flavors are energized by bright spice and mineral notes. Picks up candied violet and licorice notes on the sweet, impressively long finish, which is given grip by late-arriving tannins. With its suave marriage of power and energy, this is built for the long haul. There’s no way I’d have guessed that this wine clocked in at 15.2% alcohol save for its fruit intensity. 94 points from Stephen Tanzer.
  • 2009 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill – The 2009 Syrah Cardiac Hill is a gorgeous, thrilling wine laced with bacon fat, tapenade, savory herbs and plums. It possesses gorgeous aromatic delineation and fabulous length. The intense, mineral-drenched finish argues for cellaring the wine for at least another 2-3 years, but readers are going to have a very hard time keeping their hands off this gem. Cardiac Hill is a very cold site. The wine (100% Syrah) was vinified with 40% whole cluster and aged in French oak barrels, 27% new. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.  93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard– A much more voluptuous, concentrated and obviously great Syrah, the 2009 Syrah Armada Vineyard yields lots of plum sauce, spice, licorice and crushed rock aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, layered, pedal-to-the-metal style. This is a great wine that will have 20-25 years of longevity.  97 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2009 Syrah Should I Open?

  • 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard (37%, 23 Votes)
  • 2009 Lillian Syrah (35%, 22 Votes)
  • 2009 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill (28%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

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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.

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Time to Buy Top Names from the 2014 Vintage in Bordeaux

2014 was a great vintage for the Cabernet Sauvignon based wines of the Left Bank. Although the Right Bank slightly under performed, there is no question, that overall this the best vintage since 2010. The three vintages proceeding the 2014’s were largely unremarkable and although 2009 and 2010 were true classics, most of the Classified Growths were overpriced in my opinion.

Given high pricing for the ’09’s and ’10’s I was somewhat resigned to the fact that I might need to move on from buying new release Bordeaux. After all the wines I really like need almost 20 years to mature and the release prices of most my favorites were prohibitive. Perhaps I would be better served to buy back vintages and roll the dice somewhat on provenance.

Fortunately for myself, and other consumers, three consecutive lackluster vintages served to dampen desire for Classified Growth Bordeaux. In order to move inventory prices decreased substantially for most Classified Growths. Coupled with a relatively stronger 2014 vintage, consumers are presented with a rare opportunity to buy top houses, from a fantastic vintage, at what seems to be discounted prices.

Below are the ’10 and ’14 prices for a few select wines:

’10 Montrose – $270  ’14 Montrose – $130

’10 Cos d’ Estournel – $225  ’14 Cos d’ Estournel – $130

’10 Lynch Bages – $190  ’14 Lynch Bages – $100

’10 Ducru Beaucaillou – $270  ’14 Ducru Beaucaillou – $130

Admittedly, in all cases the ’10’s are slightly better wines. Are they nearly twice as good as the pricing would suggest? I don’t think so. Given that prices appear to be back on the rise for the exceptional ’15 and ’16 vintages I think consumers have a chance to buy some of the very best Classified Growths at prices we may not see again for the foreseeable future. I’m buying all of the wines mentioned above and several other favorites. Happy hunting!

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The June Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. 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 Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2005 was an exceptional vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Conditions were perfect and the vintage rivals other greats of the last 30 years including 1990 and 1998.

The Contenders:

  • 2005 Clos Saint-Jean La Combe de Fous – One of the candidates for the wine of the vintage is the extraordinary 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape La Combe des Fous (same blend and elevage). Probably the best cuvee of this wine yet made, the wine has a saturated purple color to the rim as well as an extraordinary nose of blackberry, blueberry, black truffle, incense, lavender, and a hint of graphite. The wine is remarkably concentrated, spectacularly pure, full-bodied, with amazing length of well over a minute. This wine is a ‘wow, wow’ sort of wine, a profoundly great Chateauneuf du Pape. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2025. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2005 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe – One of the most age-worthy cuvees in the appellation, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe’s 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape was gorgeous on this occasion, showing classic iodine, seaweed and peppery herbs intermixed with layers of sweet currant, plum and blackberry fruits. Full-bodied, powerful and ripe, with a still youthful profile, this beauty won’t hit full maturity for another 3-4 years, and should hold for a decade or more after that. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2005 Domaine du Pégaü Cuvée Réservée– The 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee (normally a blend of approximately 80% Grenache and the rest Syrah and Mourvedre) exhibits a deep ruby/plum/garnet hue along with lots of grilled meat juices, roasted Provencal herbs, tar, blackberries and black currants. The wine is medium to full-bodied, still firm and tannic. It is those tannins that make the 2005 somewhat reminiscent of a tight, more austere-styled vintage such as 1995. The 2005 needs at least another 4-5 years of cellaring, and should last for 20 years or more. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Should I Open?

  • 2005 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée Réservée (41%, 17 Votes)
  • 2005 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (37%, 15 Votes)
  • 2005 Clos Saint-Jean La Combe de Fous (22%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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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 July installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Pick My Next Bottle – Some New Zinfandels

The May installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Zinfandels that have not been reviewed on this site since its inception over 5 years ago. 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.

I think anyone who is reading this blog is familiar with Novy and Joseph Swan. Novy Family Wines is a collaboration between Adam & Dianna Lee of Siduri Wines and Dianna’s family. Joseph Swan Vineyards was founded in the late sixties and Rod Berglund is the longtime winemaker and owner. I’ll have to confess I had not heard of Amapola Creek despite the winery being well over a decade into it’s existence. That being said the combination of Richard Arrowood as winemaker and fruit from the Monte Rosso Vineyard is about as close as it gets to a sure thing in the wine world.

Please vote for the bottle you would like to see me open this weekend although rest assured I will have tasting notes up on the other wines is the not too distant future.

The Contenders

  • 2011 Joseph Swan Zinfandel Mancini Ranch Vineyard – Zinfandel from old vines is rarely this light and refreshing, yet still exuberant in fruit. A mix of tart cherry and just-ripe blackberry comes with a lingering edge of citrus around the cinnamon and black pepper spice. Funky earth ripples through the middle, before a subtle take on leather finishes things out. 91 points from the Wine Enthusiast.
  • 2013 Amapola Creek Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – From the famous Monte Rosso red soil vineyard. The 2013 Zinfandel Monte Rosso (680 cases coming in at 16% alcohol) is 100% Zinfandel. At $45.00, this is a great buy! Made from 123-year-old head-pruned vines, the wine has a dense ruby/purple color, a big, sweet kiss of black cherry, blackcurrant and blackberry with some dusty, loamy soil undertones and pepper as well as hints of charcuterie and spice. It is full-bodied, lavishly rich, and stunningly pure. It should make a savory mouthful for at least a decade. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2013 Novy Zinfandel Papera Ranch Vineyard – The 2013 Zinfandel Papera Ranch is slightly richer and more classic than the Russian River, from a vineyard planted in 1934. The wine is 97% Zinfandel and the rest mixed old-vine black varietals planted probably by the first or second generation of Italian immigrants. The wine has a deep ruby/plum color, a big sweet kiss of steak tartare, beef blood, blackcurrants, sweet cherries, baking spices, herbs and new saddle leather. It’s rich, ripe, full-bodied and opulent. This is a beauty to drink over the next 6-8 years. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Zinfandel Should I Open?

  • 2013 Amapola Creek Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard (39%, 16 Votes)
  • 2013 Novy Zinfandel Papera Ranch Vineyard (32%, 13 Votes)
  • 2011 Joseph Swan Zinfandel Mancini Ranch Vineyard (29%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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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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2014 “Birth Year” Case Wine Recommendations

This is my 6th annual “Birth Year” case blog post. This post can serve as a guide for readers who had children born in the year of 2014 and want to set aside some wine for them to enjoy when they reach the age to appreciate said wines. My 2013 list was published in May of last year.

2014 was exceptional in Napa and also marked the first really good vintage in Bordeaux since 2010. This is great news for this exercise as many collectors turn to Cabernet Sauvignon when shopping for birth year wines.

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 only included wines that cost $150 or less. This is no small task given escalating prices in regions like Napa Valley and the Northern Rhone. Fortunately, 2014 saw “reasonably priced” wines from Bordeaux. These wines should all be available at retail right now. None of these wines should be very hard to find. Happy hunting!

  1. 2014 Chateau Lynch Bages – Region: Bordeaux, Score: 94 points from the Wine Spectator, Price: $100.
  2. 2014 Chateau Montrose – Region: Bordeaux, Score: 96 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $130.
  3. 2014 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou – Region: Bordeaux, Score: 96 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $130.
  4. 2014 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $60.
  5. 2014 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 92 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $65.
  6. 2014 Antinori Tignanello – Region: Tuscany, Score: 93 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $90.
  7. 2014 Chateau Climens – Region: Barsac, Score: 97 points from the Wine Spectator, Price: $70.
  8. 2014 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Washington, Score: 93 points from the Wine Spectator, Price: $100.
  9. 2014 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec Le Haut-Lieu – Region: Loire, Score: 93 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $40.
  10. 2014 Domaine Charvin – Region: Rhone, Score:95 points from Vinous, Price: $50.
  11. 2014 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese – Region: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Score; 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $45.
  12. 2014 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie – Region: Rhone, Score: 96 points from James Suckling, Price: $130.

If you have followed this series over the years then you may have noticed that wines like Montrose, Tignanello, Charvin and Prum have made multiple appearances. Simply put these are fairly priced, world class wines that should age effortlessly for up to 20 years. The real beauty of this list is you should be able to source the wines without needing to belong to a mailing list. Look at reputable wine stores like Wine Exchange, JJ Buckley and K&L Wines.

I doubt you will find the likes of Lynch Bages, Montrose and Ducru-Beaucaillou at prices like this when the 2015 and 2016 vintages hit the market. This might be the best buying opportunity for Bordeaux we will see in many years.

Other wines to consider that will be more readily available later this year include Cabernets from Dunn, Foreman, Ridge and Chateau Montelena.

I’d love to hear about what wine you are setting aside for your children that were born in 2014.

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