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Posts tagged ‘Outpost’

2012 Outpost Grenache Howell Mountain – Bottle Notes

Outpost Wines was established in 1998 and sits on a pristine piece of land atop Howell Mountain 2200 feet above Napa Valley. Thomas Rivers-Brown has been the winemaker from the start and has gained further acclaim making highly sought after wines for Schrader, Rivers-Marie and many others. Besides Grenache, Outpost also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

Light red in color. 15.9% ABV. Pretty nose of red fruits, sage and white pepper. Light body with medium to strong acidity. This wine is a different beast than a TRB Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. Light, delicate and ethereal. Fresh strawberries, raspberries and cherries on the palate. The finish is long and sappy. Probably best in the near term. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Cellartracker reviews for this wine are all over the place. Perhaps there were good barrels and bad barrels or perhaps one of the perils of crowd sourcing wine reviews. If you have bottles you want to sell to me for a song I am happy to take them.

Crowdsourcing Wine Reviews – Trust Your Palate is one from the archives but relevant here.

Outpost wines are only available via the mailing list and sell out quickly. This Grenache is a buy for me year in and year out. Don’t miss the Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from True Vineyard. Highly recommended.

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2014 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – Bottle Notes

Thomas Rivers Brown and his wife Genevieve Marie Walsh have quickly made Rivers-Marie one of California’s most sought after Pinot Noir labels. The winery was founded in 2002 and the first release was the Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir. In addition to the line up of Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs, Rivers-Marie also makes a few single vineyard Cabernets and Chardonnay. Thomas is in high demand and serves as a consultant for a number of wineries including Schrader and Outpost.

The fruit for the 2014 Sonoma Coast was sourced from Riddle Ranch and Manzanita Vineyards.

Ruby red in color. 14.1% ABV. Brooding nose of dark fruits, pine needle, smoke and forest floor. Medium body and bursting with acidity. Deep, dark and rich. Black cherry, cranberry, sassafras and minerals on the palate. The finish is perfection. This is different than previous versions of this bottling. Dark and more brooding as opposed to light and floral. Irregardless, this wine is exceptional and a great value at $30. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Rivers-Marie wines are only available via their mailing list. The 2016 version of this wine will be released early next year. Sign up for the mailing list if you have not done so already

I’ve blogged about Rivers-Marie previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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The Week in Zinfandel (10/3/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2014 Kinsella Estates Zinfandel Spencer’s Vineyard

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 August Zinfandel of the Month is the 2014 Kinsella Estates Zinfandel Spencer’s Vineyard

Kevin Kinsella founded Kinsella Estates in 2008. Kinsella Estates is an organically farmed vineyard situated in a private valley in the foothills of the western edge of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Thomas Rivers Brown (TRB), of Schrader, Rivers Marie and Outpost fame, has been the winemaker from the start. Kinsella makes several Cabernet Sauvignons and a Zinfandel.

I did not decant this wine.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Subtle nose of red fruits, peach and earth. Medium body with lively acidity. Elegant and fresh. Cherries, strawberries, citrus and white pepper on the palate. The wine picks up weight with time in the glass. Pretty Zinfandel with a long finish. More claret style than previous versions but absolutely delicious nonetheless. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Review based on sample provided by the winery.

Look for the wine at retail or via the winery mailing list. The retail price is $50.

I have followed Thomas Rivers Brown for over a decade now yet somehow Kinsella Estates was not on my radar. This Zinfandel is every bit as good as the Zins that TRB makes for Outpost and Black Sears with a Dry Creek spin. Definitely worth your attention.

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2006 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard Old Vines – Bottle Notes

The 2006 Rivers Marie Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard Old Vines was the winning bottle in the June Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. This bottle was opened and poured immediately.

Thomas Rivers Brown and his wife Genevieve Marie Walsh have quickly made Rivers-Marie one of California’s most sought after Pinot Noir labels. The winery was founded in 2002 and the first release was the Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir. Rivers-Marie also does several single vineyard Cabernets and a Chardonnay. In addition to making his own wine, Thomas serves as a consultant for a number of wineries including Schrader, Outpost and Black Sears.

Light red in color. Almost translucent. 14.2% ABV. The nose is absolutely gorgeous with scents of pine needles, cranberry, sassafras and baking spices. Light and delicate with perfect acidity. Great texture and mouthfeel on the palate. Flavors of bing cherries, orange rind, cloves, nutmeg and cranberry. The finish is long and seamless. One of the best Pinot Noirs I’ve had this year. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Rivers-Marie wines are only available via their mailing list. The 2015 version of this wine will be released next Spring and is expected to cost around $75. Based on this bottle I will be sure to add this to my order.

I’ve blogged about Rivers-Marie previously in Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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The Week in Zinfandel (5/30/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2008 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain – Bottle Notes

Outpost Wines was established in 1998 and sits on a pristine piece of land atop Howell Mountain 2200 feet above Napa Valley. Thomas Rivers-Brown has been the winemaker from the start and has gained further acclaim making highly sought after wines for Schrader, Rivers-Marie and many others. Besides Zinfandel, Outpost also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.

Violet in color. 16.2% ABV. Brambly red and black fruits on the nose. Big and chewy on the palate with a touch of heat. Flavors of raspberry liqueur, blackberries, white pepper and bittersweet cocoa. There are prominent, dusty Howell Mountain tannins on a medium length finish. Delicious Zinfandel but not for the faint of heart. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 91 points.

Outpost wines are only available via the mailing list and sell out quickly. Highly recommended.

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Thoughts on the Schrader Price Increase

With the offer for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon lineup Schrader announced a price increase of $50 per bottle bringing the cost per bottle before shipping and handling to $225. The increase was surprising as Schrader has alway promoted their commitment to low prices vis a vis other sought after Napa Valley Cabernets.

I don’t fault Schrader for the price increase. Comparable wines from the likes of Colgin, Araujo and Harlan are substantially more expensive. What bothers me about this, is the swift 30% price increase. I’d have preferred a gradual rise in prices over many years without the mantra of low prices for mailing members that seemed to be the calling card of Schrader.

I have no doubt that the wines will sell out even at the new price. That being said I think there is anecdotal evidence that they offered wine to a large portion of their waiting list. The coolest thing about Schrader in years past was that the wine competed with Napa’s best at a fraction of the price. That made it relevant in the wine circles I travel in whereas wines like the aforementioned Colgin, Araujo and Harlan are rarely ever seen. With another price increase this might be the fate of Schrader as well.

As Schrader was raising prices they also instituted a policy that mailing list members would be removed from the list for flipping the wines. Screaming Eagle has been doing this as well going back many years.

Ultimately I decided to pass on my allocation. I have enough Schrader in the cellar to get through the next decade. I also have no shortage of access to Cabernet made by Thomas Rivers Brown including Outpost and Rivers-Marie. These wines may not have the pedigree of Beckstoffer Vineyard, from which Schrader is sourced, but TRB’s signature is all over them. Given the choice I’ll side with an Outpost Cabernet at $85 and an Outpost True Vineyard Cabernet at $125 over a single bottle of Schrader at the new price of $225. In fact I’ll even have $15 left over to invest in Powerball tickets!

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The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Lineup from Kinsella Estates

Kevin Kinsella founded Kinsella Estates in 2008. Kinsella Estates is an organically farmed vineyard situated in a private valley in the foothills of the western edge of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Thomas Rivers Brown, of Schrader, Rivers Marie and Outpost fame, has been the winemaker from the start. Kinsella makes several Cabernet Sauvignons and a Zinfandel.

All of these wines will be released on March 1st.

2013 Kinsella Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Spencer Vineyard – Opaque purple in color. 14.4% ABV. Subdued nose of blue fruits, violets and milk chocolate. Immensely concentrated and plush. Layers upon layers of blueberries, cassis liqueur and cocoa. Incredibly silky tannins on an exceptional finish. Drink over the next 5-7 years. $95 at the winery. My rating: 94 points.

2013 Kinsella Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Tamara Vineyard – Pitch black in color. 14.5% ABV. Showstopping nose of graphite, mint and black fruits. Big and powerful with coarse tannins. Blackberry, blueberry, charcoal and leather on the palate. Tons of structure. This wine needs 6-8 years in the cellar. $125 at the winery. My rating: 93 points.

2013 Kinsella Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Jersey Boys Vineyard – Opaque purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Savory nose of blue fruits, flowers and herbs. Rich, lush and mouth coating. Blueberry liqueur, cassis, dark chocolate and currants on the palate. The finish is perfect with fine grained tannins. Decadent, hedonistic Cabernet Sauvignon. Follow this wine over the next decade. The real standout in the lineup. $125 at the winery. My rating: 96 points.

Reviews based on samples provided by the winery.

I have followed Thomas Rivers Brown for over a decade now yet somehow Kinsella Estates was not on my radar. If you find yourself on the long waiting list at Schrader, Rivers Marie and Outpost you should strongly consider the wines of Kinsella Estates.

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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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