#WineWednesday Review; 2012 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From time to time, I receive wines samples from wineries or their public relations agencies for review.  I’ve decided to feature such samples on #WineWednesday’s.

This is the second vintage of Faust I’ve tried (I also tried the 2011).

The Winery

Faust Winery is the creation of Augustin Huneeus and it continues to satisfy his long-held desire to produce a wine that embodies the most seductive characteristics of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Born in Santiago, Chile, Agustin is one of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to wine.  With a career spanning 50 years, he has produced wine in more than 15 countries.  Perhaps best known today for creating Quintessa, the stunning biodynamic vineyard and winery estate he and his wife Valeria own in Rutherford, Napa Valley, Agustin is recognized as a driving force in how fine wine is produced, recognized, sold and marketed in the United States.  The philosophy that great vineyards make great wine is his guiding principle.

The Faust vineyard is located in Coombsville, Napa Valley’s newest appellation located in the eastern foothills south of Atlas Peak.  It consists of 110 acres of mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines, with small plantings of Petit Verdot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.  The vineyard is farmed in ten distinct blocks, all of which have a unique character.  Yields on the property are especially low as extra care is put into practices such as winter pruning, green harvest and selective picking.

Faust also seeks small lots from family growers in other unique Napa Valley growing districts including Yountville, Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, St. Helena and Rutherford.

Faust is certified under the Napa Green Certified Land Program.

The Wine

The 2012 vintage is a blend of 80% Cabernet, 16% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc and 2% Petite Verdot.  After extended maceration and malolactic fermentation in barrel, it was aged 19 months in 30% new French oak. Over fifty percent of the fruit for 2012 came from the 110-acre Faust Vineyard in the Coombsville district 14.5% alcohol.  Retail – $50

IMG_1736

My tasting notes follow:

Deep garnet color. It offers blackberry, plum, cassis and hints of cacao and violets aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with good acidity, soft well-integrated tannins and an appealing texture with blackberry, plum, cassis, and extra dark chocolate flavors.   >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-: A delicious Bordeaux blend that’s approachable now, but would benefit from further aging.

Pair with: Lamb chops, Korean Sizzling Beef,  Slow cooked Beef Brisket or Meatloaf

Wine provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Fineman PR

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2012 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  This week’s wine is the 2012 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Casillero del Diablo Legendary Collection.

The Winery

Casillero del Diablo is one of the many brands of Concha Y Toro, the largest producer of wines from Latin America and is one of the global leaders in wine production. Legend has it that Don Melchor de Santiago Concha y Toro, who founded Concha Y Toro in 1883, created the wine legend of  ”Casillero del Diablo” (which translates to the “Devil’s cellar”) when he spread rumors that the devil lived in the cellar to keep strangers away from his private reserve.

Casillero del Diablo is one of the most popular brands in its native Chile, and the most renown Chilean wine brand in the world. It is sold in 135 countries and they sell around three million cases a year.

Since 2010 has partnered with English Football Club Manchester United. This wine is

The Wine

Fruit for this wine was sourced from the one of Chile’s most promising regions, the Colchagua Valley in central Chile.  The area is known for producing some of Chile’s finest wine, primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere , and Syrah.

This wine is blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Carmenere. It was aged for 14 months in a combination of medium-toasted French and American oak barrels.

14.5% alcohol; Retail – $18

IMG_1409

My tasting notes follow:

Dark garnet color with plum, violet, blackberry, eucalyptus, oak. and dried herb aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with a supple texture and cassis, blackberry, and a bit of dark chocolate flavors. Medium-long finish.

Rating: B+; I really enjoyed this wine!  While this is a one-time commemorative bottling, this is a Cab I recommend seeking out, especially if you like a bit of “greeness” in your Cab.   It offers very good value!  >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: Grilled meats, stews and hard cheeses

Sample provided for review. Many thanks to Creative Palate Communications!

Ratings Key

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings. Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of @DateNightWine with Phifer Pavitt

I recently received a couple of wine samples from Napa Valley based Phifer Pavitt Winery.  It’s a winery that’s completely new to me.

I don’t know why, but coming across new to me wineries is always a bit of a surprise.   That’s because…well…I’m a promiscuous wine lover that “gets around” so to speak. Between my daily consumption, my travels in the wine blog-o-sphere, wine country travel, trade tastings and receiving samples, I taste hundreds, upon hundreds of wines annually. Furthermore, I’m familiar with many more by word of mouth, and/or reputation.

Despite my vinous promiscuity, I really shouldn’t be surprised.  There probably 600-700 wineries where I live in Northern California. So, it should be a surprise when come across a new to me winery.

Good thing I love a good surprise!  It’s very exciting for me to try new to me wine because I don’t have any preconceived notion about the winery or wines on way or another.

Here’s the 411 on Phifer Pavitt…

From the Winery…Phifer Pavitt Winery is a dream of Suzanne Phifer and Shane Pavitt, who purchased twenty-three acres on Silverado Trail in 1999. Over the course of several years of ‘date nights,’ the couple hatched the idea of their own Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in 2005. The winery opened in November 2010 and is housed in a historic “Napa Valley vernacular” barn, with a board-and batten façade and metal roof, nestled into a scenic spot looking out over views of Napa Valley. The barn was found in nearby Franz Valley where it was situated for more than 100 years before being relocated to its current home. The barn was ‘repurposed’ into a winery; repurposing has become a dominant theme.  Suzanne and Shane work to reduce the winery’s carbon footprint and preserve natural resources. The decor includes numerous eco-chic elements, including reclaimed barbed wire ‘chandeliers,’ recycled blue jean insulation, recycled Wyoming snow-fencing paneling, a 1946 Farmall tractor and a walnut slab suspended from the ceiling in the upstairs tasting room. The latest addition to the tasting room consists of four salvaged large wood slab tables.

Phifer Pavitt  produces two wines – the Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc.   They source their fruit from several Napa Valley vineyards.  Until this year, when a second source near the town of Yountville was added, the Cab was sourced from Temple Family Vineyards’ Lakespring Ranch in Pope Valley.  The Lakespring Ranch vineyard is farmed organically. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are sourced from the sustainably farmed Juliana Vineyards, also in Pope Valley.  They have plans to produce a sparkling wine in the future.

Their annual case production is about 1,450 cases.  They are open for tours and tastings Mondays – Saturdays by appointment only at 11:00a.m. or 1:00 p.m., at a cost of $40/person.

The Wines

2013 Phifer Pavitt Sauvignon Blanc Date Night

Phifer Pavitt’s first vintage of the Sauvignon Blanc was 2010.  This wine is made in a Bordeaux Blanc style.  The hand-picked fruit was whole-cluster pressed, and the wine was fermented  in stainless steel utilizing two special yeast strains particularly suited to enhancing the Sancerre-like qualities of the fruit.  The lees were stirred weekly for five months. No malolactic fermentation was allowed. Retail – $30; abv – 14.5%

Phifer SB

My tasting notes follow:

Pale golden color with peach, key lime, grapefruit, guava and subtle grassy aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with a very pleasing supple texture and very good acidity. It shows delicious guava, key lime, peach, and a hint of grapefruit flavors, and a lingering sweet finish. Rating: A-

2011 Phifer Pavitt Cabernet Sauvignon Date Night

Phifer Pavitt has been producing their Cabernet Sauvignon since 2005. This vintage of a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot.  After fermentation on native yeasts, the wine was aged 18 months in 75% new 225 Liter French Oak barrels.  Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Retail – $80; abv – 14.5%

Phifer Cab

My tasting note follows:

Ruby color with lifted, very appealing cassis, black cherry, violets, tobacco, caramel, sweet spice aromas, along hints of eucalyptus, and cedarwood.  On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, persistent and fresh with a silky texture and black cherry, plum, cassis, graphite,tobacco, and spice flavors. Long finish.

Rating; A - These are charming, delicious well-made wines worth checking out, especially the Cab!

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Wines were provided as samples for review.  Many thanks to Phifer Pavitt and Julie Ann Kodmur

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings. Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Robert Craig Affinity

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Robert Craig Affinity.

The Winery

The eponymous Robert Craig Winery was founded in 1992; he has been involved in the wine industry for many years, most notably at The Hess Collection as their General Manager. In addition he helped develop 300 vineyard acres on Mt. Veeder and was instrumental in forming a sub appellation for the Mt. Veeder area. Bob has been focused on hillside vineyards since he became interested in wine in the 1960’s. It’s fair to say he spends a significant amount of time in some of the major hillside producing regions of Napa including at his house which is built on Mt. George. Robert Craig’s wines are sourced from Mt. Veeder of course as well as the Spring Mountain and Howell Mountain AVA’s.(Source)

The winery is located at an elevation of almost 2300 feet high up on Howell Mountain. .At this elevation they do occasionally see some snow in the winter.  Their estate vineyard is among the highest in the Napa Valley.  The location can be a challenge to get to, and their permitting limit them to a small number of visitors, so they maintain a tasting room in Downtown Napa.

That’s where my wife and I first tasted Robert Craig wines.

We were hosted by Tia Simon, and since it was Valentine’s weekend, she asked if we were interested in a chocolate and wine pairing.   I’m not crazy about pairing chocolate and wine, but it was a fantastic experience.  The pairing all worked, but more importantly, we loved the wines!

The Wine

Robert Craig has been bottling this Bordeaux style wine since 1993.  It’s a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec.  The Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a hillside property.  The other four Bordeaux varieties are added to enhance the structure of the wine; giving it depth, dimension and layers.

The fruit is hand-picked and hand sorted, then kept in separate lots during fermentation and barrel aging. The wine was aged 18 months in French Oak.

14.5% alcohol; Retail – $51

IMG_0936

My tasting note follows:

Opaque dark ruby color with appealing cassis, black cherry, and roast espresso beans with hints of violet and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s elegant with a silky smooth texture and black cherry, cassis, vanilla and spice flavors with a long mineral accented finish.  >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A; Highly recommended!

Pair with: Lamp chops, or grilled tuna!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The Winery

Faust Winery is the creation of Augustin Huneeus and it continues to satisfy his long-held desire to produce a wine that embodies the most seductive characteristics of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Born in Santiago, Chile, Agustin is one of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to wine.  With a career spanning 50 years, he has produced wine in more than 15 countries.  Perhaps best known today for creating Quintessa, the stunning biodynamic vineyard and winery estate he and his wife Valeria own in Rutherford, Napa Valley, Agustin is recognized as a driving force in how fine wine is produced, recognized, sold and marketed in the United States.  The philosophy that great vineyards make great wine is his guiding principle.

The Faust vineyard is located in Coombsville, Napa Valley’s newest appellation located in the eastern foothills south of Atlas Peak.  It consists of 110 acres of mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines, with small plantings of Petit Verdot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.  The vineyard is farmed in ten distinct blocks, all of which have a unique character.  Yields on the property are especially low as extra care is put into practices such as winter pruning, green harvest and selective picking.

Faust also seeks small lots from family growers in other unique Napa Valley growing districts including Yountville, Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, St. Helena and Rutherford.

In addition to this wine, Faust also produces two other wines which are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – “The Pact” (sourced from Napa Valley’s newest appellation – Coombsville), and “The Lure” (sourced from the renowned Stagecoach Vineyard).

Faust is certified under the Napa Green Certified Land Program.

The Wine

The wine is a blend of all five of the six Bordeaux grape varieties featuring 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec, and 1% Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are sourced from throughout the Napa Valley including estate vineyards in Coombsville, and Rutherford and Yountville, Mount Veeder, Atlas Peak, and St. Helena.

All grapes were hand-picked, double-sorted and crushed, then cold-soaked and fermented in both French oak and stainless steel tanks.  After an extended maceration, Faust was aged for 19 months in French oak.

78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc; 14.2% Alcohol

Faust
My tasting notes follow:
Dark ruby color with enticing dark cherry, dark chocolate, dried herb and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied,  and concentrated, with harmonious fruit, acidity, and tannins and a supple texture.  It shows delicious dark cherry, cassis, spice flavors with a subtle minerality.  Long finish.  Drink now, but will age for 5-7 years  >>Find this wine<<
Rating: A: A delicious and harmonious Bordeaux blend!

Pair with: Lamb chops, Korean Sizzling Beef,  Slow cooked Beef Brisket or Meatloaf

Wine provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Fineman PR

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2005 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, since today is #CabernetDay my Wine Of The Week is the 2005 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection.

The Winery

Caymus Vineyards is a part of the Wagner Family of Wine along with Mer Soleil, Conundrum, Belle Glos and the newest label, Emmolo.

The Wagner family has a long history in the Napa Valley that dates back to 1906 when Carl Wagner, an immigrant from Alsace, and grandfather of Chuck Wagner, purchased farmland in Rutherford in the Napa Valley.

Chuck was just 19 when he joined his parents in 1972 to create Caymus Vineyards, and they produced their first Cabernet Sauvignon.  In 1975, the Wagners produced their first Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (click here for the Caymus timeline).

The Wagners are serious about the ‘family” in the Wagner Family of Wine moniker. Chuck’s children, Charlie II, Joseph, and Jenny perpetuate a proud family tradition of farming and winemaking.

The Wine

This bottle of wine was a gift from my most generous boss – Phil.  Prior to opening the wine last week, it had been in my “cellar” for about 3 years waiting for the right time.  We opened it and it enjoyed it with a friend who is convalescing from knee surgery.

Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is the only wine in the world twice honored as “Number one wine in the world” by Wine Spectator Magazine….In addition, this wine was honored with the highest average score rating by the same magazine over the last 15 years. – Caymus Vineyards

One of the most allocated and collectible Cabernet Sauvignon in the world, Caymus Vineyards Special Selection is crafted from the outstanding barrels of the vintage. Special Selection is produced only in vintages that proprietor Chuck Wagner feels are suitable for this designation. >>Find this wine<<

The 2011 Vintage of this wine retails for $130. 15.2% alcohol

Wine of the Week; 2005 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Select

 My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with very appealing plum, cassis, blueberry, a hint of leather, and sweet oak aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, focused, intense and refined with a lush texture and well-integrated oak, and soft sweet tannins. It shows plum, blackberry, mineral and a bit of vanillin spice flavors. Long finish.

Rating: A:  This wine is drinking beautifully now, but it has plenty of years ahead of it! Beautiful now with plenty of years ahead of it.

Pair with: Of course a nice rib-eye comes to mind with a Cab, but other options include Slow-braised beef – or venison, a great burger (Gott’s anyone?), lamb or mushroom stroganoff!

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2009 Volta Cabernet Sauvignon

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Volta Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Winery

Volta Wine  is an artisanal producer of single vineyard wines from the Napa Valley. The winery is owned by Steve Lau and Frederick McCarthy.

In a sonnet, a volta is the moment when a distinct change of thought or mood occurs. When Steve Lau and Frederick McCarthy met in 2009, it was a turning point in both of their lives. Steve had been a musician and record company executive prior to starting a small, artisanal winery. Frederick had built a career in finance and as a real estate entrepreneur while developing an enthusiasm for wine. Individually, Frederick and Steve had learned to appreciate the unique differences that time, place and terroir brings to each vintage and bottle. Their travels over the years had taken them to some of the world’s best wine regions where they explored small local vineyards off the beaten path. One night, at a dinner party hosted by a mutual friend, Steve and Frederick discovered they shared the goal of building a world-class winery. Frederick and Steve decided to team up and devote their skills, passion and energy to creating organically-farmed, responsibly crafted wines that would always inspire.

The winemaker is Massimo Montecelli. He’s a fourth generation winemaker whose family is in the business. Having been the winemaker at renowned Silver Oak, he knows a thing or two about making Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Wine

Fruit for the wine is from the organically farmed Mission Ridge Vineyard, which hugs a southwest facing slope at an elevation of nearly 720 feet above sea level. During the day, the ridge enjoys summer heat but temperatures drop at night with cooler air coming in from the San Francisco Bay. The rocky, volcanic loam soil, high elevation and southwest exposure all combine to create a dynamic micro-climate. The vineyard yields small clusters of intensely flavored grapes that ripen slowly and late into the growing season. Certified organic, the land is respectfully farmed, without the use of chemicals or insecticides. All  the fruit was hand-picked, and the wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Retail – $60; 14.5% alcohol. Case Production – 450

photo (74)

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque garnet color with lifted black cherry, plum, cassis, mocha and leather aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, well structured,  and dense with a supple texture, an appealing grip and black cherry, plum, chocolate, cassis, espresso and a bit of vanilla flavors. Long finish.

Rating: A:  This one is a charmer. It’s ready to drink, but can age.

Pair with: Lamb burgers, lamb kebabs, or grilled flat-iron steak!

Disclosure: Sample provided for review. Opinions are my own

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

 

Wine of the Week; 2011 Uproot Wines 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine of the Week is the 2011 Uproot Wines Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Winery

What happens when Manhattan meets Napa Valley?  Partner-winemaker Greg Scheinfeld, a Long Island native left Wall Street in 2006 after deciding to switch coasts to pursue his passion for wine. Gaining cellar experience at Cakebread, Joseph Phelps and Vineyard 29–Scheinfeld approached friend and Zelkova Ventures co-founder, Jay Levy with the aspirations of opening a wine business.

We’re experience makers. And, yes, here in Napa, some might even say we’re trouble makers. Uproot is reimagining winemaking to create a fresh, modern, energized experience for a new generation of wine drinkers.

Launched in 2013,  Uproot Wines is sourcing  fruit from top vineyards throughout California, and utilizing the best winemaking processes. Nothing new about that strategy for selling boat loads of wine.

But Uproot, with millennials clearly in their cross hairs, is doing it with a twist…starting with the label on the front of the bottle.

It’s not a label, at least not in the traditional sense.  In fact, its’ essentially the winemaker’s tasting notes as an infographic.

Uproot’s first-of-its-kind Flavor Palette, a color and taste-based visual identity system on the wine label, allows each person to understand the flavor profile even before tasting.  Each of the color blocks represents a tasting note and the size of the block tells you how dominant each note is in the flavor profile.  For example, the Flavor Palette for this wine is:

Wine of the Week: 2011 Uproot Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

The “Flavor Palette” for the 2011 Uproot Wines Cabernet Sauvignon.

The color code isn’t explained on the label, but Uproot explains the codes in social media promotions and at social sales events that are a key part of its marketing strategy.

But once the consumer become familiar with the brand, and understands the color coding, I think it’s a great marketing twist that can be appealing to the targeted consumers.  And practically speaking, consumers can get a sense for the flavor profile of the wine in a glance.

In addition to this wine, Uproot also produces a Grenache, and Grenache Blanc from the Santa Ynez Valley, a Rose and a couple of Sauvignon Blancs.

The Wine

This wine was made from grapes sourced from Howell Mountain. It was fermented in 65 percent new French oak from four different coopers.

14.4% alcohol; Retail – $78; Production – 450 cases

photo 1 (9)

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with appealing cigar, black cherry, blackberry, and dark chocolate aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, elegant, and focused with firm tannins, and blackberry, cassis, black cherry, dark chocolate flavors and a long finish. 

Rating: A-: This is an outstanding bottle of Cab that should continue to improve if you choose to lay it down for a few years.

Pair with: I paired this wine with grilled lamb loin chops – great pairing!  Also consider pairing with braised short ribs, or Portabello Mushroom Stroganoff.

Sample provided for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  Or for this week, an outstanding wine – the 2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia.

The Winery

In the late 1960’s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S., Hensel Phelps Construction Company, when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 Joe bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards and construction of a winery. The first harvest in 1973 yielded Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Johannisburg Riesling bottlings, all custom crushed at nearby wineries. The Joseph Phelps winery was completed in 1974 in time for harvest, crushing grapes for the first Insignia and the first Syrah bottlings.  Click here for more history.

Today, Joseph Phelps sources their fruit 100% from their estate vineyards.  Estate vineyards include the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Backus Vineyard in Oakville, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and beginning with the 2011 growing season, Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

The Wine

Insignia, the flagship wine of Joseph Phelps was first produced in 1974.  Four decades later it is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Thirty-one of thirty-seven vintages have been rated 90 or more points by various wine publications, including three perfect 100 point scores for the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in Mr. Parker’s Historical Tasting of Insignia report.

Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California.

The 2001 vintage is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec primarily from estate-owned vineyards in Stags Leap and Rutherford, with additional fruit coming from independent growers. The grapes were harvested at an average 24.8° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 22 months in 100% new French oak barrels. 13.9% alcohol

We opened this wine for this year’s Open That Bottle Night was last Saturday.  Open That Bottle Night, created by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, and is the one night a year that we are all encouraged to get out that bottle of wine that is so special that no occasion seems special enough to actually open it.

My wife and I hosted 3 other couples, each of whom brought along their own special bottle of wine.  I pulled out this bottle (which was a gift from my very generous boss) simply because it was an older vintage than the bottle I’d been considering for weeks.

We sat down to a wonderful dinner of Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs.  The other reds we enjoyed were a mature Bordeaux – a 1986 Chateau Meyney, and the 2008 Silver Oak Napa Valley.

I decanted this bottle about 2 hours before dinner, and the Meyney was decanted for about 3 hours.

It wasn’t even close.  This bottle “kicked ass and took names”!  It was the unanimous favorite!

JP Insignia

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque garnet color with exuberant black cherry, blackberry, black currant, cedarwood, espresso aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, surprisingly fresh and well-balanced with silky sweet tannins. It shows ample mouth-filling fruit with waves of blackberry, cassis, espresso and a bit of mineral flavors. Long finish.

Rating: A:  A simply stunning bottle of wine that should reward further cellaring. In fact, my wife and I were still talking about its aromas, flavor, complexity and mouth feel 3 days later!

Pair with: It was fantastic with the Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs!

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Other posts you might enjoy

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

DIY Super Tuscan

I recently received an interesting wine sample from Castello di Amorosa.  The sample included their flagship Super Tuscan – La Castellana, along with three 2012 barrel samples, and a pipette.

photo 1 (1)

I featured the prior 2008 vintage of La Castellan as my Wine of the Week last year, so I’m pretty stoked about trying the 2009!  In the meanwhile, my wife and I eagerly welcomed the chance to create our Super Tuscan blend from the three barrel sample provided by Castello di Amorosa!

If you’re not familiar with a Super-Tuscan, simply put, it’s a blend of Sangiovese and Bordeaux grape varieties (primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot).  There are generally two kinds – those that are dominated by Sangiovese, or those dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (for story behind how the term “Super Tuscan” was created as told by Sebastiano Rosa  of Sassicaia fame, click here).

The term “Super Tuscan” describes any Tuscan red wine that does not adhere to traditional blending laws for the region

The three 2012 barrel samples, all sourced from the Napa Valley, were Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, Carneros Merlot, and Diamond Mountain.

photo 2

The first thing I did was taste the wines individually before we started our “blending trials” at “Castello di Redmond”, so I could get a sense of what each wine would add to the blend.  Here are my quick notes on each:

  • 2012 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon – Muted red fruit and vanilla aromas; fruity dark cherry, red currant, and a bit of vanilla flavors. along with some . A bit tannic, fine length and the most pronounced flavor profile especially on the front and mid palate. I got a sense of some Rutherford dust too!
  • 2012 Carneros Merlot – Fresh with black and blue fruit aromas.  Less fruity and surprisingly more tannic than the Cab with a slightly bitter taste on the back palate; plumper than the Sangiovese
  • 2012 Diamond Mountain Sangiovese – Most aromatic of the three with red fruit, leather and earth aromas; Medium+ acidity; candied cherry flavor. My favorite of the three wines on a standalone basis.

photo 3

After tasting through the wines individually, we got busy blending!

The first thing I have to say is that controlling the exact amount of wine released from the pipette can be tricky!  Once I got that down, we created four blends:

  1. 70% Sangiovese/20% Cab/10% MerlotCherry, vanilla, earth aromas that echoed on the palate; medium+ acidity, dusty tannins and fine length. 
  2. 80% Cab/10%Sangiovese/10% MerlotCassis, cherry, earth aromas that echoed on the palate; medium acidity, fine length; less vanilla aroma/flavor than #1
  3. One-third each Cab, Merlot and Sangiovese – Earth, cherry, and vanilla aromas, that echo on the palate; slightly hot on the nose, shortest finish and mid-palate lacking.
  4. 50% Sangiovese/25% each Cab and Merlot - Fruitier, and more tannic than both #1 and #2, cassis, cherry, oak aromas; medium+ acidity, cherry, cassis flavors, shorter finish than #1 and #2

The results

Blend #1 edged out blend #2 for top honors. Initially, my wife favored #2, but eventually came around to saying #1 was her favorite.  Wine number #4 was third and #3 was our least favorite.

My takeaways

Blending is can be big fun (um…once you get control of the pipette;-), but I came away from the experience with a new-found appreciation for the discipline and rigor involved with blending. Like some many other aspects of winemaking, It’s part science, part art.

The benefits of blending we readily apparent to me.  The sample wines blended together tasted better than they did individually.  The blended wines also seemed more balanced.  At least that was the case with blends #1, and #2 for me.  Not so much for #3 and #4.  While still enjoyable, I didn’t find those blends as enjoyable as the Sangiovese or Cab individually.

And finally, from the “actions speak louder than words” perspective, after our blending trials we had some leftovers of all three wines.  The first to disappear was the Sangiovese!

Wine provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Castello di Amorosa

Related post you might enjoy:

Wine of the Week; 2008 Castello di Amorosa La Castellana

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.