Random Musings

Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards

Great Zinfandel is made in the vineyard. The quality of a bottle of Zinfandel is almost always correlated with the age of the vineyard from which it comes. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the state of California where most of the best Zinfandels come from vineyards that literally date back to the turn of the 20th century. The…

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Bottle Notes, Syrah

2008 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III Syrah – Bottle Notes

Previously known as Grand Rêve, Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and Ryan Johnson. 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…

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Bottle Notes, Pinot Noir

2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir – Bottle Notes

Antica Terra is an 11-acre estate in the Eola-Amity Hills of Willamette Valley. It was founded by John Mavredakis, Scott Adelson and Michael Kramer, who in 2005 convinced winemaker Maggie Harrison to join them. Harrison had been assistant winemaker to legendary Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non. Antica Terra makes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rose. Maggie has gained further acclaim…

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Bottle Notes, Cabernet Sauvignon

2000 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines – Bottle Notes

Located in the Walla Walla Valley appellation of Washington State, Woodward Canyon Winery was started in 1981 by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small. Woodward Canyon produces almost a dozen different wines, and their Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Chardonnay are some of the very best examples of those varietals produced in Washington State. I wrote about Rick…

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Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Three Zinfandels from McCay Cellars

Michael McCay, owner of McCay Cellars, has a simple goal: to make wine with a sense of presence and character that expresses the trueness of the vineyard. Michael is a relative newcomer to Lodi. He has only farmed there for 35 years. He came to Lodi in the early 1980s, planted a vineyard, started making wine in 1994, and launched…

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Bottle Notes, Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Grgich Hills Estate, in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley, was founded in 1977 by Mike Grgich. 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…

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Bordeaux, Bottle Notes

2003 Sociando-Mallet – Bottle Notes

The 2003 Sociando-Mallet was the winning bottle in the May Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for two hours and served with steaks. Chateau Sociando-Mallet is a 225-acre estate in St.-Seurin-de-Cadourne, which is part of the Haut-Medoc appellation just north of the city of Bordeaux. It has been owned since 1969 by Jean Gautreau. After many…

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Buying Wine

2011 “Birth Year” Case Wine Recommendations

This is my 3rd annual “Birth Year” case blog post. This post can serve as a guide for readers who had children born in the year of 2011. My 2009 list and 2010 list were published around this time in the preceding years. 2011 was a challenging year in many regions known for the longevity of their wines including both…

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