No Reservations Wine Tasting: Joseph Phelps Freestone

From time to time, I have a wine tasting experience that stands above the rest, and is everything I’m looking for – great wine and commendable service in a relaxed environment. It’s those such experiences that are the focus of this “No Reservations” series.  Why “No Reservations”? Because I can honesty say I have “No Reservations”  about recommending the winery anyone who is looking for a great wine tasting experience.This installation of No Reservations features Joseph Phelps Freestone

JPFreestone Front View


This article was previously featured on the American Winery Guide and is republished, by the author Martin Redmond

My wife and I do more than our fair share of wine tasting. More often than not, especially when visiting wine country, we plan to visit at least a few wineries. However, we it find equally satisfying when we visit one or two wineries, as part of a larger experience. Whenever we seek such an experience, we head west to the beautiful Sonoma Coast. Aside from some great Sonoma wineries, its beautifully rugged coastline, beaches, hiking trails and proximity to redwood forests offer a multitude of opportunities for Pacific Ocean sightseeing, strolls on the beach, picnicking, and hiking among other things. Whenever we venture out to West Sonoma County, one of our favorite wineries is Joseph Phelps Vineyard (“JPF”) in Freestone.

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The wines available for tasting include both Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast selections. My detailed tasting notes on the wines we tasted follow:

The Napa Valley selections included:

2012 Sauvignon Blanc – Floral and citrus aromatic with lively acidity, a creamy texture and citrus, melon and a hint of pineapple flavor Aged 7 months in French Oak. – 89pts

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – Still young, but with aromatic tobacco, black and blue fruit, and spiced vanilla, flavors. Slightly tannic with a long finish. – 91pts

photo (27) (1)

2011 Eisrébe – a delightful Eiswein-style dessert wine made from a grape you don’t see much outside of Germany and Austria, Scheurebe. The grapes were picked at 23 brix and flash-frozen (we don’t get freezing weather in Napa Valley often). It shows expansive honey, citrus aromas, and was sweet without being cloying thanks to its very good acidity. – 91pts

The Sonoma Coast selections included:

2011 Fogdog Chardonnay – Entry level wine with apple, pear, vanilla, mineral and a kiss of spice aromatics and flavor with firm acidity. – 90pts

2011 Freestone Chardonnay – Apple, pear, floral, and spice aromatics. It’s fresh, with a creamy texture, and apple, pear, citrus, and melon flavors and a long finish. – 90pts

2010 Pinot Noir – Entry level wine with cherry, cola, and earth with a kiss of spice aroma. It’s shows bright acidity and cherry, and spice flavors and a lengthy finish. – 88pts

photo (26) (1)

2010 Pinot Noir, Quarter Moon – Single vineyard wine estate wine with billowing cherry, cranberry, and Asian spice aromas. Silky smooth with cherry, raspberry, spice and vanilla flavors. Long finish. My WOTD. – 92pts

We had a great experience at Joseph Phelps Freestone – Highly Recommended!

Naked Sparkling Fun for Valentine’s Day or Singles Awareness Day!

Sure everybody knows about Valentine’s Day, but did you know there is a “Singles Awareness Day” (S.A.D.) too? It’s celebrated tomorrow, or the 14th, or the 15th.  Makes sense too…there are plenty of folks who are single and not involved in a romantic relationship.

I say celebrate either way!  And nothing says celebration like a bottle of bubbly! So whether you’re looking to add a little “je ne sais quo“, a little “pop”, to your Valentine’s Day  or Singles Awareness Day celebration, think sparkling wine!  Better yet, think sweet pink sparkling wine! It just screams “It’s party time” – solo, duo or otherwise!

This sweet pink sparkling wine is brought to you by the good folks at Naked Rebel Winery.  Naked Rebel winery was started by two brothers Chip (“Winemaker and Professional Cuddler”), and AJ Forsythe (“Sir Money Bags”) who made wine while they attended Cal Poly.  Aside from this wine, sold under the Pink Panda Cellars label, they also produce a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend for “the young at heart”

glow in the dark bottle

Pink Panda Bottle Glowing in the dark

Every bottle we make is printed with glow in the dark ink, so you and your loved one can find them in the dark.  You’re welcome.

There’s some clever marketing in full effect at Naked Rebel aimed straight at Millenials, and other casual wine drinkers who want to get their drink on without feeling compelled to be intellectually stimulated.  In fact, I suspect the good folks at Naked have another type of stimulation in mind. I think there are droves of folk who’ll they Naked hits the nail on the head when they say…

It is Pink, it is supposed to be fruity!

Because despite the ever-growing trend toward dry pink wines, there’s a big market for consumers who think pink and think sweet.  And they like it like that!

This one is worth checking out too because  behind the glow in the dark, cute Panda packaging you’ll find a good pink sparkling pink made from Pinot Noir.

Pink Panda Sparkling

Pink Panda Sparkling

My tasting note follows:

Pretty pink color with ripe fresh strawberry soda aromas.  On the palate, it’s fruity, and sweet with a moderately creamy mousse and strawberry and raspberry flavors.  

If you like your sparkling wine fruity and sweet, this is a fun quaff I recommend!  Proceeds from the sale of this Pink Panda supports  a good cause too.  For  every bottle you buy, Naked Rebel Winery makes donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Pair with: Chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake, creme brulee, or for the young or young at heart celebrating V-Day, get naked and pair with your sweetheart! And for those celebrating Singles Awareness Day? I say you deserve to celebrate too!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 11% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • Where it’s from: > California> Sonoma>Alexander Valley
  • Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
  • Production method: Charmat Bulk
  • Dosage: Demi-Sec
  • Retail: $18
  • Cases produced: 400
  • Drink: Now – 2014
  • >>Find this wine<<

Sample provided for review by Naked Rebel Winery

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This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Tasted: A Trio of V. Sattui Winery Wines

V. Sattui Winery is located in Napa Valley town of St. Helena.  It’s one of the most popular stops (over 400k visitors annually) along Highway 29.  And with a plethora of wonderful wines (over 45), an on-site gourmet deli and cheese shop, great picnic grounds, and a reasonable ($10) wine-tasting fee (down-right inexpensive by Napa Valley standards)- why not?!

V. Sattui has an interesting history – Before Prohibition, and After Prohibition.  The winery traces it’s roots back to 1885 when Vittorio Sattui established a winery in Italian Colony of the North Beach in San Francisco.  The winery later expanded and flourished in the Mission District of The City.  Then, after Prohibition was enacted in 1919, the winery closed.

The story picked up again in 1976 when Dario Sattui re-stablished the winery. But not without being on the verge of going out of business.  Dario’s persistence, vision, innovation, and commitment to excellence has guided V. Sattui Winery to the pinnacle of success (click here for complete history)  That same vision, and commitment to excellence lead Dario found Castello Di Amorosa.

“We don’t deify wine…It’s not about the wine, it’s about having a good time.” – Dario Sattui (courtesy of SF Gate)

V. Sattui Winery is a winery-direct business, meaning the wines may only be purchased at the winery in St. Helena, on-line or by phone. The wines aren’t sold in stores or restaurants.

V Sattui Trio

I have a confession – as many times, as I’ve been to Napa, I’ve never visited the winery.  That’s primarily because I tend to favor smaller wineries.  After tasting this trio of wines, I’ll be rectifying my oversight my next trip to Napa Valley!

My tasting notes follow:

V Sattui 2009 PS

2009 V. Sattui Winery Petite Sirah

Inky violet color with tart black fruit, chocolate, and cedarwood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-full bodied, with dusty tannins (I like a wine with some grip), and ripe blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and dark chocolate flavors. Medium finish. – 89pts

Rating: Recommended.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.8%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaNapa Valley
  • Grape Varieties: 97% Petite Sirah, 2% Petite Verdot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cooperage: 18 months in 16% new American oak, 24% New French Oak, 60% seasoned oak
  • Vineyard: Allias Vineyard; Head-trained vines planted in 1926
  • Retail: $35
  • Cases produced: 150

V. Sattui 2009 Zin

2009 V. Sattui Winery Zinfandel Gilsson Vineyard

Violet color appealing briary, floral dark fruit and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium full bodied with well integrated dusty tanning, medium acidity and mixed berry, black cherry, vanilla and spice flavors. Medium long finish. – 91pts

Rating: Highly Recommended.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountyRussian River Valley
  • Grape Varieties: 98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
  • Cooperage: 18 months in 13% new American Oak, 22% new French oak, 65% seasoned oak
  • Vineyard: Gilsson Vineyard; Head-trained vines planted in early 1960s
  • Retail: $37
  • Cases produced: 839

V Sattui 2010 PN

2010 V. Sattui Winery Pinot Noir Henry Ranch Carneros

Ruby color with very good aromatics of cherry, raspberry, and spice. On the palate, it’s creamy smooth and medium bodied with cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Med long finish. – 90pts

Rating: Highly Recommended.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaNapa / SonomaCarneros
  • Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
  • Cooperage: 10 months in 50% new French oak, 50% seasoned French oak.
  • Vineyard: Henry Ranch Vineyard; planted to Pommard and Dijon clones
  • Retail: $39
  • Cases produced: 1089

Wines above were provided as media samples for my review


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