Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2006

Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2006

Medium bodied, black cherry fruit with hint of earth, cola, red berry and spice. Tasted from 375 bottle at home with grilled steak and roasted potato dinner. Better than earlier review, lost the awkwardness, more polished, balanced and approachable than as reviewed last year.

RM 87 points



I find it a challenge to discover a high QPR - (Quality Price Ratio) Pinot Noir under $25 and moreso under $20. This is such a wine! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

This is the Sam's Cuvee, label selected and bottled for the former Sam's Wine & Spirits before being acquired by Binny's in Chicago. This was tasted with grilled porterhouse and ribeye steaks, potatoes, and sweet corn dinner outside by the pool at Mark and Shirley's.

The Cabernet Sauvignon was dark garnet colored and full bodied; firm, tight and a bit closed with predominant flavors of black berry, anise and a tone of creosote/tar that gave way to black currant and spicy clove on the finish moderate finish.

RM 88 points. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pair of South Australian Shiraz's 2004

Tasted BYOB with Danny A, Lt Col Joe S and Clint B at Angelis Italian Restaurant in Naperville. Great complements to their Portabello Mushroom ravioli entree.

Pott's Family Bleasdale Langhorne Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004 

From the Langhorne Creek appellation in South Australia, Bleasdaleas vineyards were founded in 1850 by Frank Potts, making Bleasdale one of Australia's oldest family-owned wineries. Having just celebrated its 150th anniversary, it is the second oldest continuously operated family-owned winery besides Yalumba located in the Barossa Valley. Potts was one of South Australia's original settlers having landed in Adelaide on the HMS Buffalo in 1836.

Medium bodied, fairly uninspiring lacking the full forward fruits, spice or body of so many Australian shiraz from the area, this exhibits black cherry and slightly tart cherrry fruits with a layer of creotsote/tar and hint of oak with firm tannins on the short finish. 

RM 87,  Robert Parker, Jr. 88 pts - Wine Advocate #168

Jim Barry "The McRae Wood" Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley, South Australia, Shiraz 2004

Medium bodied with subdued fruits, McRae Wood exhibited similar black cherry and black berry fruits but exhibited a layer of graphite and bacon that detracted from the fruit. Like the Bleasdale, also showed modest tannins on a moderate finish.

RM 87 points. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sbragia Family Vineyards Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Andolsen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

The fruit for this Cabernet comes from vineyards of a Dr. Andolsen, friend and family doctor of the producers,  located on the west side of Dry Creek in the rolling hills of the Coastal Range in Sonoma County, California in the Dry Creek appellation. 

Winemaker's notes - Aromas of sweet mint, leather, and savory herbs are followed by ripe flavors of blackberry, fresh cranberry and allspice. The blend is mouth-coating and finishes with rich savory notes that complement its velvety tannins.

This wine was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels imparting cedar and brown spice aromas and flavors and supple tannins. Malolactic fermentation softened the tannins and contributed to a rich, lengthy finish. A small amount of Cabernet Franc was added for  structure and subtle complimentary herbal characteristics.

A blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc.

My notes - medium-full bodied, full flavors of black cherry, black currant, hints of anise, smoke and spices on a lingering moderate finish of polished smooth tannins.
RM 90 points.



Tasted BYOB at Angeli's Italian Restaurant in Naperville with Danny, Tom, John C and Clint.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Varner Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay 2009

Varner Santa Cruz Mountains Spring Ridge Vineyard Ampitheatre Block Chardonnay 2009

Liat, our friend from Northern California visited and L prepared a Salmon with a  tangy Mango and Cilantro sauce and we served this Chardonnay which was a perfect accompaniment to the entree. It also was a toast to Liat's Northern California Santa Cruz Mountain roots in Los Gatos and long time homestead in the area high above Scott's Valley on Vinehill Road on the site of the old Smothers' Brothers vineyard estate.

Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains south and west of the San Francisco Bay tucked back in the Portola Valley west of Stanford University in the Santa Cruz Appellation, Varner Wines are the product of twin brothers Bob and Jim Varner. This area is not well known for Chardonnay but this 'Amphitheatre Vineyard' Chardonnay is highly regarded and much sought after. The Varner 'Amphitheatre Vineyard' Chardonnay represents a sense of place or "terroir". 

Winemaker Bob Varner selects fruit from the "Amphitheater Block" of their Spring Ridge Vineyard, which was first planted in 1980. This area has never been afflicted with Phyloxera so the vines are from the original root stock and plantings. Varner uses non-interventionist farming practices and native yeast fermentation, yielding a pleasant and impressive wine with character that is crisp and citrusy, with plenty of acidity and minerality. This wine is also a considerable value for the money.

This label is less well known perhaps than their Foxglove label, a line of affordable wines, which offer a high QPR - quality to price ratio; this is from their higher end offerings which are single vineyard and in this case single block designated bottlings. The Varner Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block Chardonnay comes from a two-acre block of own-rooted, 28-year-old vines and is aged in 30% new French oak on its lees until bottling.

The Varner Santa Cruz Mountains Spring Ridge Vineyard Ampitheatre Block Chardonnay 2009 was subdued and not over the top like so many Cal chardonnays - medium to full body, excellent texture with aromatic notes of honeysuckle, subtle oak, spice and lemon oil, it features flavors of baked apple, lemon and pear with moderate minerality and a crisp, steely component, with balanced acidity. 

RM 89 points.



Beringer Vineyards Nightingale Napa Valley Botytised Semillion Sauvignon Blanc 2004

 For dessert, Linda prepared warm individual chocolate cakes served with ice cream and fresh red raspberries. We  served this with  Beringer Vineyards Nightingale Napa Valley Botytised Semillion Sauvignon Blanc 2004 which accented the red berry fruits and chocolate perfectly.

Golden yellow on release, this eight year old is taking on a weak tea honey colored hue that will continue to darken with age. Medium to full bodied, scents and flavors of honey, apricot and melon finish with a subtle layer of smoke that moderates the fruit and sweetness.

This smokey current greatly resembles the profile of the Beringer Late Harvest Special Select Johannisburg Riesling 1993 that we have tasted over the ensuing eighteen years since release.

RM 89 points.