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Posts tagged ‘Sonoma’

2009 Carlisle Syrah Sonoma County – Bottle Notes

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike and Kendall Officer. Their passion is clear: small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards.

The 2009 Sonoma County Syrah is composed of 39% Sonoma Valley Syrah from Rossi Ranch, 23% Paso Robles Syrah, 19% Russian River Syrah from Papa’s Block and 19% Sonoma Mountain Syrah from Steiner Vineyard.

Magenta in color. 15.2% ABV. Aromas of meat, olives and black cherries. Violets, game, dark fruits, pepper and olive brine on the palate. Super concentration and extraction. Great acidity and sufficient tannins. Long finish. I would love to stick this wine in a Cote Rotie tasting!

The ‘ 09 Carlisle Sonoma County Syrah got tremendous press upon release when it received a 97 point rating from the Wine Spectator. I’m not going to go there but for $22.50 from the winery this is flat out one of the best Syrah values in all of California.

My rating: 92 points.

Current vintages of the various Carlisle Zinfandels are available via the mailing list, which is exceptionally long. Several retail outlets in California stock Carlisle, but you need to check with them at the time the winery releases their wines in the Spring and Fall.

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2005 Rafanelli Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

Alberto Rafanelli, an Italian immigrant, first founded A. Rafanelli Winery in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t until the early 70’s that Alberto’s son, Americo, came out with the present day label and started selling the wine commercially. David and Patty Rafanelli now run the winery and a 4th generation Rafanelli, their daughter Shelly, is the winemaker. The winery is perhaps best known for their Zinfandel but also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with all the fruit sourced from their vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. I’ve previously posted on Rafanelli in What’s Your Price for Zin?

I’m a big fan of Zinfandel on uniquely American holidays and celebrations, so this bottle was opened during the Super Bowl.

Gorgeous, jammy aromas of ripe fruit literally explode from the glass. Garnet in color and 14.8% ABV. Red fruits, more red fruits and spice on the nose. Cloves, plums, currants, pepper, cherry, boysenberry and blackberry on the palate. This wine is all about red fruits and spice. Nothing sophisticated or complicated but simply delicious and everything you look in for in Zinfandel. Medium acidity with a healthy dose of tannins. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points.

I have read notes of recent vintages having brettanomyces issues. I have not dipped into my stash of 2008-10 bottles, but it’s safe to say the ’05 I tasted tonight does not have any “brett” present.

Rafanelli is very traditional in how they run the winery. If you want to join the mailing list you need to send them a letter. They do not correspond via email, but will likely answer the phone if you give them a call. The extra effort required to acquire the wine is worth it.

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2006 Dehlinger Estate Chardonnay – Bottle Notes

Dehlinger Winery is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and was founded in 1975 by Tom and Carole Dehlinger. Eva Dehlinger took over winemaking duties in 2007. Known for their Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve previously blogged about Dehlinger in Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

The wine is lightly straw colored. Great aromas of smoke, nuts and pears. Minerals, hazelnut, lemon, citrus, hazelnut and honeysuckle on the palate. Rich and creamy with juicy acidity. The finish is spicy, long and exquisite.

My rating: 92 points.

Dehlinger Winery has a great reputation among wine connoisseurs. Wine writers have consistently given strong reviews while praising the winery for its uniqueness, quality, consistency and value. About 75% of their wine is sold via the mailing list. Amazing wines that are well worth the search.

 

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2005 Carlisle Syrah Pelkan Ranch – Bottle Notes

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike & Kendall Officer. Their passion is clear: small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards.

Pelkan Ranch is in the Knights Valley AVA. Located at 1000′ elevation on a rocky ridge top facing Mount St. Helena, the vineyard produces intense, thick-skinned Syrah. Being at a higher altitude and often above the fog line, the site is picked relatively early, usually the end of September or early October.

15.7% ABV and 140 cases produced. The wine is still almost purple in color. Inky and glass staining. A soaring nose of blueberries, mineral and smoke. A potpourri of savory black fruits, iron, tar, blood, iodine, licorice, chocolate, pepper and meat coat the palate. The finish is long and decadent. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Current vintages of the various Carlisle Syrahs are available via the mailing list, which is exceptionally long. Several retail outlets in California stock Carlisle, but you need to check with them at the time the winery releases their wines each spring and fall.

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2005 Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

Ravenswood was founded in 1976 by Joel Peterson. The winery is a pioneer in producing single vineyard Zinfandels from some of Napa and Sonoma’s most treasured vineyards, including Dickerson, Old Hill, Cooke and Belloni. I used to regularly visited Ravenswood in the summer, when they released their single vineyard wines. Back in the day they also had a BBQ out behind the winery. Great wine, great food and great memories.

Founded by William McPherson Hill in 1851, Old Hill Ranch is a historic jewel. The vineyard was purchased by Anne and Otto Teller of Bucklin Winery in 1981. Bucklin and Ravenswood are the sole producers of wine from the vineyard.

The wine is 75% Zinfandel and 25% mixed blacks (mixed blacks refers to a field blend of different grape varieties which were commonly planted around the turn of the century). Clocking in at 14.6% ABV the bottling is exceptionally balanced and not at all over-extracted. Jammy with raspberry aromas on the nose. Mint, mulberry, raspberry, pepper and mint on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. This is a wine that just screams to be paired with a burger or pizza.

My rating: 91 points

Widely available through the winery and at retail.

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2002 Dehlinger Estate Syrah – Bottle Notes

Dehlinger is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and was founded in 1975 by current owner/winemaker Tom Dehlinger. Known for their Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ruby red in color. Rich, red fruits and white pepper on the nose. Bacon fat, grilled meats, tar, anise and cherries on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long. Just a tremendous Syrah.

Dehlinger Syrahs are aged in 132 gallon oak puncheons. Twice the volume of a standard barrel, these casks permit a longer, slower maturation. At 10 years of age this wine still appears to have years ahead of it.

This wine is never mentioned as a top California Syrah. Perhaps that should change?

Dehlinger wines are primarily sold through their mailing list.

My rating: 94 points

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2004 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

Alberto Rafanelli, an Italian immigrant, first founded A. Rafanelli Winery in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t until the early 70’s that Alberto’s son, Americo, came out with the present day label and started selling the wine commercially. David and Patty Rafanelli now run the winery and a 4th generation Rafanelli, their daughter Shelly, is the winemaker. The winery is perhaps best known for their Zinfandel but also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with all the fruit sourced from their vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.

The wine is light purple, almost crimson, in color. Great nose of briar, raspberry and blackberry. Gobs of fruit on the palate. The wine almost seems light on its feet at 14.7% ABV. Lavender, pepper and a touch of vanilla. Terrific balance and acidity. Rafanelli is one of those wineries that rarely fails to live up to its reputation, and their wine always ages well.

I have read notes of recent vintages having brettanomyces issues. I have not dipped into my stash of 08-10 but it is safe to say the 04 I tasted tonight does not have any “brett” present.

Rafanelli is very traditional in how they run the winery. If you want to join the mailing list you need to send them a letter. They do not correspond via email, but will likely answer the phone if you give them a call. The extra effort required to acquire the wine is worth it.

My rating: 93 points

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2000 Dehlinger Pinot Noir High Plains – Bottle Notes

Founded in 1975 by current owner/winemaker Tom Dehlinger, Dehlinger Winery is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Although they are known for their Pinot Noir, they also make Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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2008 Carlisle Sonoma County Syrah – Bottle Notes

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike Officer. Their passion is clear: Small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards.

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California Wine Country Weekend: 8 Great Wineries to Visit

A weekend getaway to California wine country is always a good idea, but limited time means limiting the number of winery visits. We often have the good fortune of private tastings on our trips, but there are a number of great wineries with regular tasting room hours that are worth working into any itinerary. Read more

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