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Posts tagged ‘Outpost’

Spare Me the Bottle Age When It Comes to Zinfandel

Virtually every week I peruse WineBid to see if there are any wines worth bidding on. It strikes me that when I browse through the Zinfandel category I see countless bottles of Zin that are 10 plus years of age. Often I will see bottles that are 15-20 years old. I think that more often than not these wines end up on WineBid because collectors are disappointed with the way their aged Zinfandel tastes.

This past week I opened a 2003 Ridge Lytton Springs out of magnum. The wine was interesting with flavors of black tea and aromas of bay leaves and wet forest floor. It was definitely drinkable and paired admirably with a grilled steak. What the wine lacked though was the juicy acidity and brambly fruit characteristics that I adore in Zinfandel. This was the oldest bottle of Zin in my cellar and I had aged it intentionally to see how it would develop.

I am a proponent of aging wine in the cellar if they improve or become more compelling with bottle age. Obvious examples for me would include Bordeaux and top tier Cabernets from Napa. They develop compelling secondary characteristics and the tannins are more in balance with the fruit profile. While my bottle of ’03 Ridge Lytton Springs clearly made it to 15 years of age I am certain it was not better than had I consumed if 5-7 years ago. I know many a wine consumer who won’t touch a bottle of Ridge Geyserville or Lytton Springs until it reaches 15 years of age. I’ll err on the side of drinking them sooner rather than later going forward.

With that being said a little bottle age can clearly benefit some Zins. A recent bottle of 2015 Ridge Pagani was just a little too over the top at this time and a year or two in the cellar should bring more balance to the wine.

I will not pass judgement on those of you who want to cellar your Zins. I plan to drink most of my single vineyard Zin from the likes of Carlisle, Turley and Ridge in the the 5-8 year window after release. Wines like Outpost and Black Sears that are sourced from Howell Mountain will also be consumed after 5-8 years. Entry level Zins like Turley Juvenile and Old Vines or Carlisle Sonoma County will be consumed 1-3 years after they are released. Unless I lose track of the bottle in my cellar I don’t intend to keep bottles of Zin past 10 years of age going forward.

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2011 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.

Magenta in color. 15.3% ABV. Sensational nose of juicy red fruits, flowers and white pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Big and bold with gobs of fruits. Well balanced. Cherries, plums, chocolate and a healthy dose of Howell Mountain pepper on the palate. The finish is extraordinarily long. Super Zinfandel that will drink well for another 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Outpost wines are only available via the mailing list and sell out quickly. Even at $50 this Zin is a buy for me year in and year out. Don’t miss the Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from True Vineyard. Highly recommended.

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2007 Rivers-Marie Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard – 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.

Summa Vineyard was first planted in 1979 by Steve Young on a pristine ridge top site on Taylor Lane west of the town of Occidental six miles inland from the Pacific coastline on the true Sonoma Coast.

Light red in color. Almost translucent. 14.1% ABV. Really pretty nose of cranberry, citrus and pine needle. Light body with vibrant acidity. Light, ethereal and so very delicate. Cranberry, cherry, blood orange and pomegranate on the palate. The finish is long, elegant and silky. I’ve always known that the Pinots from Rivers-Marie were special. It is safe to say the wines also stand the test of time as well. One of the best Pinots I’ve had from TRB. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 95 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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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!

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

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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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