Sunday, December 29, 2019

Montes Alpha Colchagua Valley Syrah

Montes Alpha Colchagua Valley Syrah 2017

After tasting three ultra-premium Syrah's over the holidays, we returned to 'normalcy' with a moderate priced everyday casual sipping Syrah. Having tasted the Montes Folly, premium Syrah from Chile, I explored their standard label, Montes Alpha, to see the range of their portfolio and their standard label.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the top ratings for this bargain priced label, rendering high QPR - Quality Price Ratio, if you are to believe the pundits' reviews. This entry level label for this vintage release was awarded 94 points from James Suckling, and 92 points from Wine Spectator, lofty achievements for a the sub $25 price range.

We tasted this with artisan cheeses, fruits, chocolates and some salad. 

Montes Folly has been cited as the best Syrah in Chile. It is the first ultra-premium Syrah to be sourced from Chile. The grapes for this Montes Folly grow on the steepest hillsides of the Finca de Apalta vineyards in Apalta, Colchagua, Chile. The 2016 release of this label was awarded 96 points by James Suckling. I gave it 92 points.

The Montes Alpha label is also from the Colchagua Valley. It was aged 55% of the wine for 12 months in first, second, and third-use French oak barrels compared to the premium label which was  aged in French oak barrels for 24 months.

While the Montes Folly grapes were 100% Syrah, hand-selected and sorted on special selection sorting tables, the Alpha is a blend of 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Viognier.

Similarly, while Montes Folly is the finest hand selected grapes, Alpha is mass produced from the rest of the crop to produce the 22,000 cases made, of which 1,500 cases were imported.

The winemaker notes for this label; "Aromatic nose with outstanding aromas of ripe black fruits such as blackberries and figs. Aromas of crème de cassis meld with mild notes of leather and dark chocolate, which are very characteristic of Syrah from Colchagua. The palate is well balanced with rich acidity, incredibly smooth tannins, tremendous structure, and generous volume.

I found this less impressive than the reviewers, understandably, and more in line with the price point, rather the overachieving, lofty ratings, lacking polish, balance or any sense of elegance. Never-the-less, its a suitable value based every day sipping wine, ideal for pizza, pasta or snacks.

This was garnet colored, medium-full bodied, black fruits with notes of tobacco, hints of cedar and black olives and hints of mocha on the firm tart, tangy acidic strong tannin laced finish.

RM 88 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=3289059

https://www.monteswines.com/en/wines/montes-alpha/syrah

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Calera Mt Harlan Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004

Calera Mt Harlan Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004

For our gala family Christmas dinner, to accompany the baked ham that Linda prepared, I pulled from the cellar this aged Calera Pinot Noir. Readers of these pages know we don't do a lot of Pinot Noir except for special occasions or circumstances. For the gala family holiday dinner, I selected a label bearing #1 Son Ryan's name from a producer with a storied history in US and California Pinot Noir. I've written about the history of Calera Vineyards and the beginning of Pinot Noir as it was chronicled in the book, Heartbreak Grape.

As I have written in these pages, any lover of Pinot Noir would benefit from reading The Heartbreak Grape,  A California Winemakers Search for the Perfect Pinot Noir by Marc de Villiers, 1994, Harper Collins.  This is a wonderful true story that starts when Devillers becomes captivated by a wine served at a holiday party. The story evolves as his journalistic curiosity leads to researching the wine and its origins - the story of  Josh Jensen and Calera winery. He tells of the challenges and travails of developing the Pinot Noir grape in California, and then turning it into a business, an industry, and pursuing a dream. The name Heartbreak Grape speaks to the challenge of pioneering bringing the Pinot Noir grape varietal to America - finding the right terrior, climate, terrain, soil, drainage - all the elements required to produce this wine. It then follows the story of an entrepreneur following his dream to build a business and a brand. 

Heartbreak Grape by Marc De Villiers The book talks about the difficulties associated with this particular grape varietal. I've contended that, as written by Devillers, Pinot Noir is the most finicky of grapes and one of the hardest to find a high QPR - (Quality to  Price) ratio value - a moderate priced pleasant drinking label. The book talks about the challenges and difficulty of growing this grape and producing great wine. My experience with this wine is further evidence to this truth. Being a wine aficionado and frequent taster of fine wines, I find this challenge is exacerbated by the characteristics of Pinot Noir - its sutble fine nuances and subtle delicate nature. Its harder to discriminate between the subtleties of one fine Pinot to another. As my wine palate has matured and become more sophisticated, I've come to appreciate the delicate refinements of Pinot, but I must admit, I find a truly great Pinot harder find than a Cabernet or a Shiraz, but I am partial to the bigger more expressive forward fruit of these other varietals. In the end its all about price and for enough money its easy to find a great wine. The search for a great one at a modest price is the fun of tasting and collecting wine.

Calera produce several single vineyard designated labels of their Estate Pinot Noir. Each vineyard has a story and is named for a founder, partner, a key figure in the history of, or a key contributor to the brand. The Ryan Vineyard is named after Jim Ryan, who has been Calera’s vineyard manager since 1979. Ryan Vineyard is the highest vineyard on Mt. Harlan, reaching elevations of 2,500 feet. With annual yields under 2 tons per acre, the 13.1-acre site delivers vibrant and inviting Pinot Noir, with expressive red berry layers and sophisticated minerality.

We hold a half dozen vintages of this label going back to this, our oldest vintage. This 2004 release was awarded 90 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.  The pundits recommended to wait till after 2010 to drink which was probably well advised. 

At fifteen years, this is probably nearing the end of its prime drinking window and should be consumed in the next year or so.  

The Calera Pinot Noir rear or secondary labels are exceptionally informative with substantial information on the vineyard and the vintage of the contents (see left).

Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, predominant red berry tones with notes of black cherry and pomegranate, dusty rose and black fruits with hints of rhubarb, pepper, herb and mineral flavors accented by a earthy fine-grained tannic grip.

RM 88 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=356681

https://www.calerawine.com/

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Brut Limited Edition Red Magnums

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Brut Limited Edition Red Magnum Bottles NV

For our gala family Christmas dinner, and to have on hand for upcoming special occasions, I picked up these Limited Edition Red Magnum bottles of  Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Champagne.

We served the Champagne with the starter courses of artisan cheeses, fresh shrimp cocktail and the salad course. Linda served baked ham, scalloped potatoes, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, fresh rolls and a medley of desserts.

The wine was a concensus highly rated selection being among the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019 at #95.

There is always opportunity to enjoy Champagne so I always keep a collection on hand for any occasion. Knowing we have two family weddings on the horizon, I went out on a limb and picked up several cases of these festive elegant limited edition bottles (shown below).

For the main courses, Ryan brought a special Mollydooker Velvet Glove Shiraz and I also served from our cellar, a vintage Calera, Mt Harlan, Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir.

The Winemaker Notes for this release: "The Brut NV represents the epitome of the Piper-Heidsieck
style: a classic, well-structured, and fruit forward champagne.

Piper-Heidsieck carefully selects fruit from more than 100 of Champagne’s crus to blend the Brut NV. This adds great complexity and dimension to the wine and allows the bold Piper-Heidsieck style to shine through.

A majority blend of Pinot Noir provides structure to the composition while Pinot Meunier expands the wine with its brilliant fruit expression and fleshiness and Chardonnay bring elegant tones and acidity. The precious reserve wines create a consistent flavor profile year after year.'

"This Champagne teases and allures us with its festive, light-drenched, pale gold shimmer and joyful display of neat, lively bubbles. Notes of almond and fresh hazelnut accompany the precise ascent of its bubbles. It is lively, subtle and light, leaving a deliciously incisive sensation of smoothness, marked by the pureness of fresh pear and apple and a delicate hint of citrus fruits. A harmonious mixture of bright, crunchy pomelo, blonde grapes and juicy white fruits creates the delightfully surprising sensation of lightness embraced by the structure and depth from the Pinot Noir; all beautifully balanced."

This release achieved Critical Acclaim having been awarded WS 92 points by Wine Spectator, 91 points by Jeb Dunnuck and 90 points each by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast.

White-golden straw colored, balanced, fruity, fresh and elegant, medium-bodied, stimulatingly fresh and well-structured blend with gorgeous fruit and a clean, persistent finish, a mineral edge and final fruitiness, beautifully textured with a solid mid-palate, good density, and a clean, crisp finish.

RM 90 points

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=2651727


Mollydooker 'Velvet Glove' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013

Mollydooker 'Velvet Glove' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013

For our gala family Christmas dinner, Ryan brought this Velvet Glove Shiraz. This is the ultra-premium label of the broad portfolio of Mollydooker of South Central Australia McLaren Vale. We hold a dozen vintages of the range of Shiraz from Mollydooker dating back to their founding years and before when they were bottling under the previous brand Marquis Philips in partnership with their American producer.

Before dinner, for the salad course, shrimp cocktail and a selection of cheeses, I served a special Limited Edition bottling of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut NV Champagne  from Limited Edition Red Magnum bottles

The name "Velvet Glove" refers to "the wine that wraps your entire palate in a ‘Velvet Glove’ of amazing fruit flavours that last forever", according to the producer. It is packaged in a non-standard shaped bottle that comes in a drawstring velvet cloth bag with the Velvet Glove logo embroidered in shiny silver.

The winemaker's notes for this vintage release: "An epic wine of amazing depth, complexity and precise balance. The 2013 Velvet Glove possesses all the flavours in the spectrum, with cherry and plum to the fore, then blackberry and mocha and finally liquorice and allspice. Only at the final moments on the palate does the fruit give way to finely poised tannins which ensure the wine has elegance as well as depth. Vibrant and rich, the Velvet Glove in 2013 creates Wow by combining opulence with finesse." ~ MattWalker-Brown ~

Lisa Perrotti-Brown of www.erobertparker.com Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave this release a score of 97 points. Legendary Harvey Steiman, publisher and critic for www.winespectator.com ~ Wine Spectator gave it 96 points.

I wrote recently in these pages about lofty ratings for two other ultra-premium Shiraz' from two other Shiraz growing regions, the Northern Rhone and Chile.  

This was dark blackish inky purple colored, full bodied, rich, viscous multi-layered concentrated but seamlessly integrated and perfectly balanced raspberry, blackberry and plum fruits with hints of blue fruits, tones of expresso, spice and hints of menthol with cassis and mocha notes on the long structured firm but smooth fine tannin laced finish.

RM 95 points.

The grapes were grown on the Gateway vineyard in McLaren Vale, barrel fermented and matured in 100% American oak and 100% new.
 
https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1986244

https://www.mollydookerwines.com.au/default.aspx 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Château La Nerthe Les Granières de la Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Holiday fun, traditions and an occasion to open special wines to reminisce and toast distance friends - Château La Nerthe Les Granières de la Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

T'is the holiday season and what has become an annual highlight and ritual has been the opening of a package from 'our French Friends' as they sign each of the gifts, an extraordinary package of gifts, delicacies and favorite treats from the South of France - chocolates, foie gras, nougates, French perfume, Renaissance arts calendar and more.

A visit to the Speziani family home was one of the drivers and highlights of our visit to Aix-en-Provence and the Luberon this past summer. Our relationship with them dates back to our hosting Philipe as a French exchange student in our home when son Alec was his sponsor back in High School.

Murielle prepared an incredible authentic Provencale dinner for the occasion which we featured in an earlier post at that time.



The arrival of the 'package' was texted to the broader family with the caption, "It's HERE". Actually there were two packages delivered at two times. They were opened with great ceremony with Alec and Vivianna present as we gleefully opened and sorted and laid out each item with delight.

The family fun continued as the text announcement of the 'arrival' prompted replies from family members who immediately responded bidding 'dib's' on favorite specialties such as this from Erin (below).

The conversation quickly centered on memories of our gala trip and pledges to return again soon and often and to coax our French Friends to come visit us in America.  

We pulled from the cellar two gala bottles of wine to commemorate and toast the occasion and the memories of our trip to France, our visit with friends there, and visiting their home and the gala dinner we enjoyed there.



For the occasion, to celebrate the opening and to toast our "French Family and Friends", we opened a Château La Nerthe Les Granières de la Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape to commemorate our visit to the region and the Chateau that we visited during our trip

Château La Nerthe Les Granières de la Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2013

The Winemaker's Notes for this release cite, "Bright red color with darker hints. On the nose, rich red berries suchas black currant and ripe cherry with a soft spicy touch. On thepalate soft tannins, showing berry fruits and sweet spices as well"

This label was awarded 90 points by both Wine Spectator and Wine and Spirits.  It was a perfect toast for the festive afternoon with the fruit and chocolate delicacies.

Bright ruby colored, bright vibrant expressive currant and red berry fruits highlight by notes of spice, and what WS refers to as "twinges of blood orange, tea and singed sandalwood", turning to fine-grained smooth tannins on the long finish.

RM 90 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=2494536

http://www.chateaulanerthe.com/ 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Philip Togni "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005


Philip Togni "Estate" Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

We pulled this Philip Togni "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet from the cellar for Friday night dinner at home with grilled steaks and baked potatoes to kick off the holiday week. 

This is Estate bottled, meaning all the grapes in the bottle were grown on the producer's own property vineyards or 'Estate'. This producer is on Spring Mountain but I admit we have missed it during our many trips to Spring Mountain District and are not familiar with the property. 

The property is near the top of the Mountain at 2000 foot elevation. There are 25 acres of vineyards that date back to 1981 - all Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc and Petit Verdot and all production in Estate sourced. Most of the 2000 case annual production is sold to a mailing list on a first-come basis with some offered in distribution in the US and in Europe. Cellar records indicate we have three vintages of this label in our cellar with this being the oldest at fourteen years.

Philip Togni is a former student of Emile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux where he earned a Diplôme National d’Oenologie while working as assistant Régisseur at Château Lascombes. Togni is joined by his wife Birgitta who specializes in the vineyard. They are joined recently by their daughter Lisa who has an MBA and has worked in the wine Trade working harvests at Château Léoville-Barton in Bordeaux and in Australia. 

This 2005 release was awarded 95 points by Vinous, 94 points by Decanter and John Gilman, 92 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and 91 points by Steve Tanzer.

Very much Bordeaux style, Tanzer and Robert Parker say this may be a 30- to 40-year wine and should drink well through 2047. Tanzer says to hold it for a decade. Decanter says it is just beginning to enter its 'early plateau' of maturity and I wonder if we drank it too soon and should've waited perhaps a decade to appreciate it at its apex. 

I learned throughout the nineties that we drank much of our Bordeaux collection from the eighties far too soon. Decanter says that while it has the structure and depth to last, it isn't so big as to materially improve much further from this point, so perhaps we caught it at its peak. The fun and dilemma of aging wine in a cellar collection. 

Bright ruby colored, medium-full bodied, bright vibrant red and black berry fruits with notes of coffee bean, hints of cassis, cedar, leather and smoked meat, a touch of  menthol and smoky oak with bright acids finishing with firm tannins and good length. 

RM 91 points. 

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=224268

https://www.philiptognivineyard.com/


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Venge Scout's Honor Napa Valley Red Blend 2013

Venge Scout's Honor Napa Valley Red Blend 2013

With Alec and Vivianna back from NYC for the holiday we dined at Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria. We took BYOB two bottles from our cellar.

Venge Scout's Honor Napa Valley Red Blend 2013




This is one of he 'V' wines I have fun collecting and serving when (soon to be daughter-in-law) Vivianna is here.

We've been enjoying Nils (and Kirk) Venge' wines since the early 1990's when Nils was featured by Wine Spectator Magazine in a 1994 article on up and coming wine producers. One of the labels of the Venge portfolio is Scout's Honor named for the family Labrador Retriever from that era. I remember Scout walking the rows in the vineyards with Nils (shown right from our 2002 visit).

Scouts Honor is based on a tradition of producing a full bodied, delicious and enjoyable red wine that can be opened and enjoyed immediately upon release however when cellared correctly it will age for 5 to 8 years.

Scouts Honor starts is a proprietary red blend with a base of old-vine Zinfandel and builds upon that with dry-farmed Petite Sirah, old-vine Charbono, and finish with mountain vineyard Syrah. The blend in the 2013 Scout's Honor is a red blend comprised of 71% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 10% Charbono and 4% Syrah.

We have been collecting this label since the earliest releases in the mid-nineties and hold vintages dating back to this one, the oldest in our holdings. We typically keep a half dozen vintages of this label on hand for easy, enjoyable smooth sipping with everything fare, from BBQ to beef to cheese and fruits and chocolates. 

For the 2013 release, grapes were farmed and harvested from four single vineyards in Napa Valley. The Zinfandel was picked from two, old-vine (60 to 100+ years old), vineyard sources: Venge’s newly acquired “Signal Fire Vineyard” estate, and the Frediani Vineyard—both located in the heart of Calistoga. The Charbono is from old, dry-farmed vines (60 to 100+ years old) also planted in the Frediani Vineyard. Long family friends, Joan and Will Nord, have a small vineyard named “Trio C” in Yountville and a little over 10 acres are dedicated to Petite Sirah—we love this site.  And, legendary grower, Jan Krupp, farms some of Napa’s finest Syrah on his Stagecoach Vineyard, high in the mountains of the Atlas Peak AVA to complete the blend. 

The 2013 vintage in Napa Valley was a perfect growing season.

Winemaker's notes for this release: "This vintage has a gorgeous, concentrated assemblage of aromas, with black fruits, crushed blue herbs, violets, cherry, licorice and anise. On the palate is pure richness from the old-vine Zinfandel with loads of black cherry, pepper spice, and an enveloping masculinity of char and tannins from the Syrah, Charbono and Petite Sirah. A seamless balance and mouth coating deliciousness are found throughout the palate, with an extra long finish with a touch of barrel tannin at the end."

The wine was barrel aged for 14 months in 50% new American Oak and the balance in once used tight grain French Oak. 1710 cases were produced.

This was bright garnet colored, medium-full bodied with super sweet berry fruits accented by cherry spice, pepper and notes of licorice and anise. It was a perfect complement to robust spicy pasta dishes.

RM 93 points.

My review tasting notes from this spring for this release: "This was even better than when we tasted it last year with the fruit being more balanced and settled predominating more over the other complex notes - dark inky purple colored, full bodied, bold, chewy, tongue coating, mouth puckering, concentrated, complex yet smooth, polished and balanced, delicious sweet black raspberry, blueberry and black cherry fruits with notes of violets, dark mocha, truffle, anise and spices, with an long finish that almost tastes like candy." 93 points. 

https://unwindwine.blogspot.com/2017/02/venge-scouts-honor-napa-valley-red-wine.html

This release got 94 points from Wine Advocate.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1825719

http://www.vengevineyards.com/

http://www.angeliscatering.com/


Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006

Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006

We took bottle BYOB to Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria with Alec and Vivianna home for the holiday. This was our second wine of the evening following Venge Scouts Honor that we opened first.

This is a complex and sophisticated Cabernet that begs for some accompaniment of cheese or meat dishes. At a dozen years of age, it is probably drinking at its apex but could assuredly age for another decade and still drink at this level. We probably should've set this aside to save for a future date and drink an older wine already at or reaching the end of its prime drinking window.

The winemaker says of this wine, "This is the varietal that we believe will increasingly be recognized as the icon varietal of Washington State and comprises the majority of our production. This Cabernet is stylish, elegant, and impeccably balanced. We accomplish this by meticulous viticultural management, utilization of a rare sorting system, gentle handling of the fruit and the wine, customized practices for every lot no matter how small, and carefully selected French oak." 

Abeja founders Ken and Ginger Harrison went to Walla Walla Valley in the southeastern corner of Washington State in the late 1990s in search of land suitable for planting world class Cabernet Sauvignon. They found what they felt was an ideal vineyard location suited for grape growing and winemaking, but also had a historic farmstead with existing buildings. They set upon restoring the property to preserve the property’s rich heritage while creating a one-of-a-kind Walla Walla wine country destination.

Abeja, which is Spanish for bee, the name Abeja (pronounced 'ah-BAY-ha') was chosen to honor their respect for the environment. The Harrison's were joined by Winemakers Daniel Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler and today they craft acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot as well as much sought-after, limited-release estate and reserve wines, offered exclusively to mailing list members.

Abeja operate two Estate vineyards. Heather Hill and Mill Creek. Heather Hill is a 19-acre vineyard located on the southwestern border of the Walla Walla Valley appellation and is notable for its diverse soils, plateaus and slopes. The vineyard's elevation climbs from 850 ft. at the base to 990 ft. at the crest. Because of its varied topography, the site presents, three unique vineyards, each with its own distinct terroir. It was planted in 2002 with Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Cabernet Franc.

Mill Creek Estate vineyard is 12 acres of vineyard that surround the winery and The Inn at Abeja, located at the base of the Blue Mountains on the east side of the Walla Walla Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sits at an elevation of 1300 ft. Because of its proximity to the Blue Mountains, the area is cooler than vineyards on the south side of the valley. Viognier and Syrah were planted here in the late 1990s. Chardonnay and Merlot were planted in 2006.

Abeja also works with a handful of Columbia Valley growers through long-term relationships with top vineyards including Bacchus, Dionysus, Weinbau, Celilo, and Conner Lee that allow the winemakers to work closely with the growers in their viticulture towards crafting their desired style.

Abeja also operate The Inn at Abeja with renowned gourmet breakfasts and refurbished farm cottages, gardens, vineyards and vistas of the Walla Walla Valley.

Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006

We discovered Walla Walla and explored the region during our trip there last year, our second wine trip to Washington State of the year! We believe the as yet undiscovered region offers world class wines on par with classic regions such as Bordeaux and Napa, the Rhone Valley and South Australia, available at high QPR - quality price ratios due to prices well below those of the more established regions.

This is a Bordeaux Blend comprised of all the requisite Bordeaux varietals in a mix found in a Left Bank Medoc label - 90% Cabernaet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 2,800 cases were produced.

This release was awarded 92(+?) points by Stephen Tanzer, 92 points by Wine Enthusiast and 91 points by Wine Spectator.
Garnet colored, medium full bodied, ripe, bright expressive nicely balanced black berry, black currant and cherry fruits accented by notes of mocha, black tea, tobacco, sweet oak and hints of lavender and pepper finishing with nice smooth soft well integrated tannins.

RM 91 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=596025

https://www.abeja.net/vineyards.php

https://www.abeja.net/

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Red Blend 2007

Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley Red Blend 2007

Robert Craig represents one of the largest holdings in our cellar with his 'four mountains and a valley' represented with Cabernet Sauvignon from Craig sources on Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain, Mt Veeder, Atlas Peak and Napa Valley.  

The Affinity label is Craig's Bordeaux Blend with the predominant Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the various Craig vineyard sites. Our Cellartracker records show we hold twenty vintages of this label dating back to the inaugural vintage release in 1993.

For pleasurable sipping with some grilled tenderloin I pulled this 2007 vintage release, twelve years old, not too old, not too young, but presumable just right for the occasion, probably at its apex but certainly will continue to be drinking nicely for several more years. 

We visited the Robert Craig estate winery high atop Howell Mountain on several occasions, including the Robert Craig Howell Mountain Harvest Party '09 back in 2009, when we first tasted some of the 2007 vintage release labels from barrel and when we would have acquired this wine.

I wrote about Affinity and this release in a blogpost back earlier this year.

Since that time this wine has appreciated in value significantly from the release price we paid to the current selling price published at $89. This is largely due to the high ratings this release was awarded, 96 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and the fact that Craig has raised the price of this wine over the ensuring years. 

I wrote in a recent tribute to the recently departed Robert Craig, he used to say he took pride in holding the price point of this label so as to provide high QPR - Quality Price Ratio, the branding strategy innuring perceived value to the brand as a whole and this label in particular.  

We acquired our entire available allocation of single vineyard designated labels from Robert Craig for this vintage year and are being rewarded for their quality and value. Robert Parker said of this vintage, "This is the best group of wines I have ever tasted from Robert Craig Winery. Not only is there not a single disappointment in this portfolio, but these are all noteworthy wines, with thrilling levels of quality. Moreover, they are moderately priced for Napa Valley as well as ageworthy. I think these are the finest wines that I have ever tasted from Robert Craig Cellars."

Wine Enthusiast gave this a 92 rating and said, "the ’07, Craig has produced his best bottling since the late 1990s."

We still hold several cases across the portfolio for this vintage release. 

Bright garnet colored, medium-full bodied, black berry and black raspberry fruits, nicely balanced and structured with hints of graphite, accents of currant, mocha, sweet oak and smoky cedar flavors, turning to smooth approachable finely ground tannins on a long, dry, spicy finish.

RM 92 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=802059

https://www.robertcraigwine.com/index.cfm

 

 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage and Montes Folly Syrah


Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage and Montes Folly Syrahs

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Syrah 2009

Domaine JL Chave History, Overview
The label today reads Domaine JL Chave. But the story of this Rhone producer doesn’t start here. It goes a long way back. In fact, the Chave family is one of the oldest names in the world of wine. They have been producing one of the world’s greatest wines since 1481!
The label bears an inscription commemorating this achievement, “Vignerons de Père en Fils depuis 1481”, which is translated to, Vine growers from father to son since 1481! The Chave family began cultivating vineyards and making wine in what we now know as the St. Joseph appellation.
They stared buying land on the Hill of Hermitage in 1865. The land and family business of making great Rhone wine continues being passed from generation to generation. Most recently from father to son with Gerard Chave to Jean Louis Chave. Jean Louis Chave is the 16th generation of his family to manage the famous Hermitage producer.
The Chave family made the move to Hermitage following the attack of phylloxera that struck most of Europe’s vineyards in the late 19th century.
The Chave family began producing wine in Mauves, when they entered the wine business. In fact, this is where the Chave family still produces their Hermitage wine today. In late 2014, JL Chave completed a renovation and extension of their cellars.
Domaine Jean Louis Chave Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Wines, Winemaking
JL Chave produces 2 Hermitage Rouge wines and 1 Hermitage Blanc wine.
Jl Chave owns 14 hectares of vines in Hermitage. 10 hectares are planted to Syrah and are used to produce 2, Hermitage Rouge wines, JL Chave Hermitage and Chave Cuvee Cathelin.
The vines are old, with an average age of 50 years, give or take a few years. The remaining 4 hectare of vines are planted to 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. The grape vines for their white Rhone wine are even older than their red wine vines as they are mostly more than 60 years of age.
Along with the Frey family who own Jaboulet and Michel Chapoutier, the Chave family owns the largest percentage of planted hectares in the Hermitage appellation.
Jl Chave Hermitage Blanc2 300x259 Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rhone Wine, Complete Guide
The key to the beauty and complexity found in JL Chave Hermitage comes their mastery of blending. While for the red wines, the only grape used is Syrah, the wine is produced from a melange of fruit sources that come out of some of the best plots in the entire Hermitage appellation.
The vineyards are dispersed over the hill of Hermitage. In total, they have vines spread among 14 different parcels in 9 vineyards, or lieux-dits.
The red wine grapes are planted in Bessards, L’Hermite, Peleat, Meal, Beaume, Diognieres and Vercandiered vineyards. The 2 hectares of vines on Bessards is considered by many people to be the heart and soul of the JL Chave wine.
With the wide variety of terroir the vines of JL Chave are planted in, as expected, the types of soils are equally varied. The vineyards have a terroir of rocky soils ranging from granite, limestone, schist, clay and sandstone soil. The Bessards lieu-dit has a terroir that is mostly, steep granite hillside soils.
They have old vines. On Bessards, the average vine age is 50 years. However, the oldest vines on Bessards are more than 80 years of age. Their parcels located on Les Rocoules and Peleat have vines that are even older at over 85 years of age.
The white wine grapes for Chave are planted in 5 hectares of vines that come from Les Rocoules, L’Hermite, Peleat, Maison Blanches and other vineyards. Les Rocoules has some of the oldest white wine grapes in the Northern Rhone, with vines that are more than 80 years old.
Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge
Since 1991, JL Chave has been using mostly stainless steel, along with 3 wooden open top fermenters for alcoholic fermentation. The fruit is destemmed.
Interestingly, this practice took place during the production of wines during the 1800’s, but that fell out of favor late in the 20th century. The fruit from each terroir is vinified separately.
For the red wine of Chave, the grapes are usually partially, but not always fully destemmed. In very ripe years, a portion, up to 50% of the stems might be left on the grapes.
It really varies from vintage to vintage. Vinification takes place in a combination of cement vats, stainless steel and old, open, French oak barrels. Each parcel is vinified and aged separately, until the blending takes place.
Depending on the vintage, malolactic fermentation can take place in casks, vats or tank. Once fermentation has been completed, the wine is moved the large 228 liter oak barrels for ageing. The wines of Jean Louis Chave are aged in barrel for about 18 months. The amount of new oak varies from 10-20%, depending on the vintage.
The used barrels range in age from 1-5 years which can come from Burgundy. Jean Louis Chave has been reducing the amount of new oak with time. His logic is, with refined tannins, the wine does not need that much new oak.
The wine is blended after 18 months in barrel, usually in July. Jean Louis Chave waits for 60-90 days after blending before bottling. The production of Chave Hermitage rouge ranges from 2,000 to 2,500 cases per vintage.

Read more at:https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/rhone-wines-cote-rotie-hermitage-chateauneuf-du-pape/rhone-wine-hermitage-producer-profiles/jean-louis-chave-hermitage-rhone-wine/
Showing much better than when last tasted a few years ago. The wine is intense, powerful, concentrated, vibrant and fresh, with load of sweet, slightly honeyed lemon, grapefruit, flowers and stone notes. Luscious in texture, the wine leaves a long impression of fruit and freshness.
Read more at:https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/rhone-wines-cote-rotie-hermitage-chateauneuf-du-pape/rhone-wine-hermitage-producer-profiles/jean-louis-chave-hermitage-rhone-wine/
Domaine JL Chave History, Overview
The label today reads Domaine JL Chave. But the story of this Rhone producer doesn’t start here. It goes a long way back. In fact, the Chave family is one of the oldest names in the world of wine. They have been producing one of the world’s greatest wines since 1481!
The label bears an inscription commemorating this achievement, “Vignerons de Père en Fils depuis 1481”, which is translated to, Vine growers from father to son since 1481! The Chave family began cultivating vineyards and making wine in what we now know as the St. Joseph appellation.
They stared buying land on the Hill of Hermitage in 1865. The land and family business of making great Rhone wine continues being passed from generation to generation. Most recently from father to son with Gerard Chave to Jean Louis Chave. Jean Louis Chave is the 16th generation of his family to manage the famous Hermitage producer.
The Chave family made the move to Hermitage following the attack of phylloxera that struck most of Europe’s vineyards in the late 19th century.
The Chave family began producing wine in Mauves, when they entered the wine business. In fact, this is where the Chave family still produces their Hermitage wine today. In late 2014, JL Chave completed a renovation and extension of their cellars.
Domaine Jean Louis Chave Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Wines, Winemaking
JL Chave produces 2 Hermitage Rouge wines and 1 Hermitage Blanc wine.
Jl Chave owns 14 hectares of vines in Hermitage. 10 hectares are planted to Syrah and are used to produce 2, Hermitage Rouge wines, JL Chave Hermitage and Chave Cuvee Cathelin.
The vines are old, with an average age of 50 years, give or take a few years. The remaining 4 hectare of vines are planted to 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. The grape vines for their white Rhone wine are even older than their red wine vines as they are mostly more than 60 years of age.
Along with the Frey family who own Jaboulet and Michel Chapoutier, the Chave family owns the largest percentage of planted hectares in the Hermitage appellation.
Jl Chave Hermitage Blanc2 300x259 Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rhone Wine, Complete Guide
The key to the beauty and complexity found in JL Chave Hermitage comes their mastery of blending. While for the red wines, the only grape used is Syrah, the wine is produced from a melange of fruit sources that come out of some of the best plots in the entire Hermitage appellation.
The vineyards are dispersed over the hill of Hermitage. In total, they have vines spread among 14 different parcels in 9 vineyards, or lieux-dits.
The red wine grapes are planted in Bessards, L’Hermite, Peleat, Meal, Beaume, Diognieres and Vercandiered vineyards. The 2 hectares of vines on Bessards is considered by many people to be the heart and soul of the JL Chave wine.
With the wide variety of terroir the vines of JL Chave are planted in, as expected, the types of soils are equally varied. The vineyards have a terroir of rocky soils ranging from granite, limestone, schist, clay and sandstone soil. The Bessards lieu-dit has a terroir that is mostly, steep granite hillside soils.
They have old vines. On Bessards, the average vine age is 50 years. However, the oldest vines on Bessards are more than 80 years of age. Their parcels located on Les Rocoules and Peleat have vines that are even older at over 85 years of age.
The white wine grapes for Chave are planted in 5 hectares of vines that come from Les Rocoules, L’Hermite, Peleat, Maison Blanches and other vineyards. Les Rocoules has some of the oldest white wine grapes in the Northern Rhone, with vines that are more than 80 years old.
Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge
Since 1991, JL Chave has been using mostly stainless steel, along with 3 wooden open top fermenters for alcoholic fermentation. The fruit is destemmed.
Interestingly, this practice took place during the production of wines during the 1800’s, but that fell out of favor late in the 20th century. The fruit from each terroir is vinified separately.
For the red wine of Chave, the grapes are usually partially, but not always fully destemmed. In very ripe years, a portion, up to 50% of the stems might be left on the grapes.
It really varies from vintage to vintage. Vinification takes place in a combination of cement vats, stainless steel and old, open, French oak barrels. Each parcel is vinified and aged separately, until the blending takes place.
Depending on the vintage, malolactic fermentation can take place in casks, vats or tank. Once fermentation has been completed, the wine is moved the large 228 liter oak barrels for ageing. The wines of Jean Louis Chave are aged in barrel for about 18 months. The amount of new oak varies from 10-20%, depending on the vintage.
The used barrels range in age from 1-5 years which can come from Burgundy. Jean Louis Chave has been reducing the amount of new oak with time. His logic is, with refined tannins, the wine does not need that much new oak.
The wine is blended after 18 months in barrel, usually in July. Jean Louis Chave waits for 60-90 days after blending before bottling. The production of Chave Hermitage rouge ranges from 2,000 to 2,500 cases per vintage.

Read more at:https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/rhone-wines-cote-rotie-hermitage-chateauneuf-du-pape/rhone-wine-hermitage-producer-profiles/jean-louis-chave-hermitage-rhone-wine/
Fellow Pour Boy Dr Dan was going to serve this late one night after we'd had four or five other bottles at a wine dinner. I suggested we hold it for when it could be the centerpiece of a tasting, being a 100 point wine that it is. So, we took this and another complementary Syrah to Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria for a festive holiday season Saturday night dinner. Yes, this release was awarded 100 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 98 points by Wine Spectator, and 96 points by Vinous. 

Not often do we 'normal' folks get the pleasure to drink a 100 point wine. As I've written in this column about collecting and tasting, there are 'every day' wines, 'once-a-week', 'once-a-month', and 'once-a-year' wines, and then, of course, 'special occasion' and 'once-in-a-lifetime' wines. At this rating, it drives a ultra-super premium ($500+) price-point, such that for all but the very privileged few, this is in the latter rather than former categories.  

This is also exceptionally extraordinary because it is a SYRAH. More often, 100 point wines tend to be Bordeaux or Burgundian varietals or blends, or perhaps vintage Ports. Very few wines of the Syrah varietal have received 100 point recognition, Penfold's Grange, arguably the top wine of Australia, and this being the only two I've seen or had the privilege of tasting. 

Moreover, I admit, I am not accustomed to such lofty profiles or character for a single varietal wine based on Syrah. While we drink a lot of this varietal and it is one of our favorites, the profile is not the norm to which we are accustomed. 

We recently had a similar experienced the 'other' such wine, Penfold's Grange from the 1990 vintage. Tonight's experience was much the same. 

We are used to, and love, big, bold, forward, fruit forward, expressive, thick, concentrated style wines, rare, but found once in a while in Syrahs. Such wines, tend to me more one dimensional, and frankly 'over-the'top' to be considered for such rarified accolades, more afforded wines that are elegant, polished, symphonic in their perfectly balanced and harmonious presentation. 

Like the Grange we drank recently, the word I would use to describe this is 'flawless'. 

The Chave was dark blackish/purple colored, medium-full bodied, flawless, seamless, perfectly balanced and harmonious blackberry and black currant fruits highlighted with subtle tones of anise, smoke and hints of exotic spices and pepper.

RM 92 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1077097

On this evening we also opened a rare special bottling of this Chilean Syrah. 

Montes Syrah Folly La Finca de Apalta 2010

Montes Folly has been cited as the best Syrah in Chile It is the first ultra-premium Syrah to be sourced from Chile. The grapes for this Montes Folly grow on the steepest hillsides of the Finca de Apalta vineyards in Apalta, Colchagua, Chile, where the vines have adapted best and have found good balance between yields and vegetative expression.

The terroir driven soils are of granitic origin and primarily consist of decomposing rocks from high above in the chain of mountains that crosses the valley, and therefore the soils in this sector are rather thin and poor in organic matter with a good percolation capacity, which enables the roots to explore the entire profile in search of water.

The grapes are hand-selected and sorted on special selection sorting tables. The vinified wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 24 months.

The 2016 release of this label was awarded 96 points by James Suckling.

Not in the class of the 'old world' Northern Rhone Hermitage Chave, this 'new world' or emerging market Syrah represents the art of the possible of what is coming from the emerging wine producing regions and nascent producers.

More new world style like a big Australian Syrah with its complex concentrated forward fruits, almost obtuse when compared to the Chave, dark inky purple with blackberry and black raspberry fruits highlighted by notes of spice, cassis, currants, mocha and hints of black olive.

RM 92 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1479344

https://www.monteswines.com/en/ 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Mullan Road Cellars Columbia Valley Red Blend 2015

Mullan Road Cellars Columbia Valley Red Blend 2015

We dined at Ocean Prime in Indianapolis at Keystone at the Crossing and ordered this Washington State Columbia Valley Bordeaux Blend from the winelist.

This is a project of Dennis Cakebread a legend in Napa Valley and well known Cakebread Cellars that date back to 1973. Looking to expand beyond Napa Valley Dennis explored other wine regions that demonstrated consistent wine quality. He first traveled to Walla Walla in Washington State Columbia Valley in 2010. There he met formed a friendships with talented winemaker Aryn Morell.

Aryn Morell grew up in Washington state but left to study  chemical engineering at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. After a weekend in Napa Valley, he set his sights on applying his education in the wine industry. He spent time learning the craft at Golden State Vintners, Edgewood Estates, and Silver Oak , and eventually gained experience at Joseph Phelps, Quintessa, Chimney Rock, and Chappellet, to name a few. These experiences served as the foundation for Aryn’s vision to craft world-class wines.

In 2007, he seized the opportunity to move back to Washington to apply his winemaking skills making premium Washington State wines. In 2012, Aryn met up with Dennis Cakebread to work on a new project to develop a Bordeaux blend that was the beginning of Mullan Road Cellars.



We visited Washington State twice last year, first to Seattle and the Woodinville Wine District, then culminating in a tasting trip to Walla Walla  and several regional producers there. Wine production in Washington has grown from 300 to over a thousand producers in the last two decades and they are now producing world class wines, on par with Napa and Bordeaux, often at a fraction of the price, or at least at notable discounts for comparable wines, resulting in great value QPR. Hence, I was eager to try this wine from a notable Napa Valley producer.  We also visited Cakebread Cellars during our Napa Valley Wine Experience last year, so this was the intersection of two of our recent wine ventures and discoveries. 
 
Mullan Road Cellars Red Wine Blend 2015
 

We ordered from the winelist this 2015 vintage release, a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc. It was aged 18 months in 30% new French and American oak barrels, 3,570 cases of this red blend were produced.

The 2015 Mullan Road Red Wine Blend was awarded 94pts Wine Advocate, 91+ by Stephen Tanzer, and 90pts by Wine Spectator and the International Wine Report.

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, expressive concentrated blackberry fruits with notes of cassis, licorice, mocha a hints of leather, spice and cigar box with an approachable structured tannin laced finish.

RM 90 points.

https://www.cellartracker.com/editnote.asp?iWine=2908454

https://shop.mullanroadcellars.com/

https://www.ocean-prime.com/locations-menus/indianapolis 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

D'Arenberg Dead Arm McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002

D'Arenberg Dead Arm McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002

For a midweek evening pop and pour sipper with artisan cheeses and fresh fruits I pulled this vintage distinctive label Aussie Shiraz from the cellar. The label 'Dead Arm' is named for the vines that survived a grape vine disease that afflicted the vineyard back at the turn of the last century. Typically a grower would pull out and replace the afflicted vines with new plantings. D'Arenberg kept the vineyard intact and found that one half, or an ‘arm’ of the vines slowly died leaving the surviving remaining half of the vine. The resulting vine produced rich intense fruit due to the vibrant roots delivering nutrients to but half the vine with the resulting low yielding fruit achieving amazing  amplified intensity.

d’Arenberg is one of the most significant wineries in McLaren Vale South Australia. It dates back to 1912 when Joseph Osborn, a teetotaller and director of Thomas Hardy and Sons, purchased 25 hectares (54 acres) of well established Milton Vineyards in the hills just north of the townships of Gloucester and Bellevue, (now known as McLaren Vale). Joseph’s son Frank Osborn left medical school, trading in scalpel for pruning shears to manage the property. He increased the vineyards to 78 hectares. Fruit was initially sold to local wineries until the construction of a winery and cellars was completed in 1928.

In 1943 Frank’s son Francis d’Arenberg Osborn, universally known as “d’Arry”, returned from school at age 16 to help his ill father run the business. He took over management responsibility in 1957. In 1959 d’Arry launched the d’Arenberg label, named in honour of his mother, Frances Helena d’Arenberg.

d'Arenberg wines gained cult status when the 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon won the 1969 Royal Melbourne Wine Show and the 1967 Red Burgundy (Grenache based) was awarded 7 trophies and 29 gold medals in Australian capital city wine shows.

By the 1970’s d’Arenberg wines had gained a significant national and international profile. The fourth generation, d’Arry’s son Chester d’Arenberg Osborn continued his family’s winemaking tradition. having grown up helping his father in both the vineyards and the cellar.

After graduating from College and touring Australian and European wine regions, Chester took over as Chief Winemaker in 1984, continuing the family best practices of minimal inputs, no fertilization, cultivation and irrigation wherever possible, thereby achieving natural soil flavours with very low yields.

d'Arenberg was named Winery of the Year in 2003. In June 2004 Chester’s father, d’Arry was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his contributions to the wine industry and to the McLaren Vale region. After more than 65 consecutive vintages, d’Arry continues to create an internationally recognized wine brand commonly known as the ‘Red Stripe’ due to the distinctive diagonal red stripe that adorns the label.

We first discovered d'Arenberg Dead Arm back in the early nineties and have collected vintages ever since. I still remember my first tasting of an early 90's release and being blown away by the blue fruit highlights. We still hold nearly a dozen vintages dating back to 1995. Bottle shown is a 375ml 'split' which we also hold, the bottle consumed was a standard size 750.

d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia 2002

This release was awarded 94 points by James Halliday, 93 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points Wine Spectator and 91 points by Wine Enthusiast and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.

At sixteen years, this is probably at its peak and not likely to improve any with further aging. 

Consistent with earlier tasting notes from back in 2013, "typically a big fruit forward complex wine, the 2002 was a bit more subdued and muted than its normal big forwardness but what was an off-tone of minerality. Lacking that uber ripe almost raisin-fig with a layer of cedar predominating, this still held that complex black berry fruits with tones of pepper, spice, and cassis and hint of vanilla with a big long bold finish that has a slight tone of tangy cherry."

Tonight this showed some of that classic Dead Arm with its dark garnet color, medium full body with concentrated rich black berry fruits with notes of blue berry with notes of menthol, cassis, creosote, smoke and spices with hints of black pepper and mocha on the finish.

RM 90 points. 

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=27221

http://mcnees.org/winesite/labels/labels_australia/lbl_AU_d-Arenberg_Dead_Arm_Shiraz_2002_375_remc.jpg 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Robert Keenan Napa Valley Syrah 2014

Robert Keenan Napa Valley Syrah 2014

Midweek casual sipping we pulled from the cellar this Napa Valley Syrah from Robert Keenan Winery on Spring Mountain. We discovered Keenan during our many visits to Napa Valley and our treks up Spring Mountain to visit Fantesca, Pride Cellars, Paloma and Spring Mountain Vineyards. 

We visited the winery high atop Spring Mountain above St Helena during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 2007 (shown left).

We have enjoyed collecting Keenan and having fun sharing and gifting it to a namesake friend and business alliance partner.
 In 1974 Robert Keenan purchased 180 acres in the Spring Mountain District at an elevation of 1700 feet, located on the eastern slope of the Mayacamas Mountain range overlooking St Helena in Napa Valley.



The Spring Mountain District gained recognition as an American Vineyard Appellation (AVA) in 1993.

The unique terroir of the appellation is characterized by low vigor soils on the steep, rocky, mountainsides, ideal for vineyards to produce wines of great concentration, structure, and pure varietal flavors.

The original acreage included the historic but crumbling Peter Conradi Winery, founded in the late 19th Century and one of the first pioneering properties established on Spring Mountain. The property was originally planted vineyards in Zinfandel and Syrah.

The property declined when it was abandoned during Prohibition until the time Keenan arrived in 1974. He extended the original vineyard acreage and replanted the property primarily in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

A new winery was built using the existing stonewalls from the old Conradi building. Keenan Winery’s first harvest there was in 1977.

Michael Keenan took over leadership of the estate in 1998 and replanted the vineyards to increase grape quality. He built a solar power system that went on-line in 2007 that now supplies all of the estate’s energy needs. 

Keenan first produced Syrah in 2001 sourced from grapes grown in the Coombsville and Atlas Peak regions of south eastern Napa Valley.

Today Keenan Winery produces four estate wines from grapes grown on the Spring Mountain Estate: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Cabernet Franc and a Merlot Reserve from the Mailbox Vineyard.

This 2014 vintage release Keenan Syrah is comprised of 57% Coombsville Syrah with the balance being Atlas Peak Syrah. It was aged in French and American oak barrels for seventeen months with a total of 520 cases produce.

Winemaker's Notes: "The nose of the wine offers aromas of black cherry and blackberry along with underlying floral nuances. The texture is soft, yet the wine maintains wonderful structure. Each vintage of the wine offers aromas of black cherry and blackberry along with underlying floral nuances. The texture is soft, yet the wine maintains wonderful structure"

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, sweet black berry and black raspberry fruits accented with notes of a hint of cognac, smoke and white pepper with tongue puckering fruity tannins on a lingering finish.

RM 91 points. 

https://www.cellartracker.com/barcode.asp?iWine=2592273

https://www.keenanwinery.com/