#WineWednesday Review; A Taste of Silver Trident Winery

From time to time, I receive wines samples from wineries or their public relations agencies for review.  I feature such samples on here on #WineWednesday Review. This week I’m featuring two distinctive wines from Silver Trident Winery.

The Winery

Silver Trident Winery is a Napa Valley based winery located in Yountville that offers a completely different and singular wine tasting experience. Its Tuscan style “tasting home” offers a sit down tasting in a setting featuring Ralph Lauren furniture, home decor, and other accessories. In fact, it is the only Ralph Lauren outlet combined with a winery in the world!  Not only that,  but everything in the tasting room, which is one of a kind (not sold in any Ralph Lauren shops or their website), is for sale.

I had a chance to visit a couple of months ago. It truly was a one of a kind, marvelous experience.  Certainly the Ralph Lauren furnishings, decor and accessories were alluring. And you can’t beat the combination of comfort, style and hospitality offered.

But I’m more about the wine.

I’m pleased to report the wines are on par with the rest of the experience!

#WineWednesday Review; A Taste of Silver Trident Winery

L-R; 2014 Symphony No. 9 Sauvignon Blanc and 2014 Apollo’s Folly Rose of Pinot Noir

In addition to the two wines tasted here, Silver Trident also 2012 Playing With Fire (A Napa Valley Red Blend, $45), 2013 Benevolent Dictator (Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, $55) and the 2010 Twenty Seven Fathoms (Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $90)

The Wines

2014 Silver Trident Sauvignon Blanc Symphony No. 9 – USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
Very pale straw color with appealing grapefruit, lemon peel, tropical fruit and a hint of chalk aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with a great texture, depth and bright acidity. It shows grapefruit, lemon peel, and white peach flavors with a mineral note and a lingering satisfying finish. Fermented in 70% Stainless steel, 30% Neutral French oak. 14.2% alcohol. Retail -$28 Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2014 Silver Trident Pinot Noir Rosé Apollo’s Folly – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Pretty salmon color with strawberry, raspberry, stone fruit, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with juicy strawberry, raspberry, stone fruit, and a hint of savory spice with a mineral element and a lingering finish. 14.1% alcohol. Barrel fermented in 80% stainless and 20% neutral French oak. Retail $28 Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

If you’re looking for a one of a kind Napa Valley wine experience, check out Silver Trident!

Follow my wine reviews on Vivino and Delectable

Wines provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Bob Binder of Silver Trident Winery  and Julie Ann Kodmur

_________________________________________________________________

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.

WINEAPAWLOOZA 2015- A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

I attended, as a media guest, the 2nd annual WINEAPAWLOOZA on July 18th at Gamble Family Vineyards in Oakville. WINEAPAWLOOZA is a fundraiser for Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (“JARR”).

The Cause

Founded in 2014 by Monica and David Stevens, JARR is a non-profit no-kill rescue and refuge for companion and farm animals in the Napa Valley.  They provide transitional and permanent shelter, adoption and rescue services, food for the pets of seniors, the homeless and low-income families as well as humane education, animal advocacy and a commitment to ending animal cruelty and overpopulation. The memory of the Stevens’ beloved dog Jameson, an adopted Great Pyrenees who lived to the age of 14, inspires the spirit and mission of JARR, which is named after him. “Jameson brought immeasurable companionship and love into our lives. We are so lucky to have known him,” Monica Stevens explains.

The Event

Under azure skies, and seemingly made to order perfect Napa Valley weather, we arrived at Gamble Family Vineyards.

I found myself filled with a curious mixture of excitement and trepidation.

No doubt I was excited by the opportunity to taste wine from an amazing lineup of 60 or so of Napa Valley finest boutique wineries.  Funny thing though…I was doing a bit of homework on the wineries that would be pouring, and I only recognized a handful of names.  I decided to check five of the wineries whose names I didn’t recognize.  Four were mailing list only, and the fifth was $75/person to taste.  As I said, some of Napa Valley’s finest boutique wineries….all the more reason to be excited about tasting wine I’d be unlikely to taste otherwise.

On the other hand, it was my first live auction and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Would I, could I, possibly bid and win something? My inquiring mind wanted to know.

The event schedule was:

  • 5:00-7:00 Walk around wine and food tasting
  • 7:15-8:00 – WINEAPAWLOOZA Auction
  • 8:00-10:00 Wristrocket Concert and Party + more wine and food!

Moments after we checked and picked up our auction paddles and the excellent auction brochure, just off (literally) the red carpet, we were greeted by one of the four-legged guest hosts (if you were expecting bacon to be served you’d have been disappointed!).

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

After we finished our stroll down the red carpet and posed for a photograph (Doh! We forgot to go back and check out the photo), we headed over to the area where the wines were poured. There we were promptly given a glass of the very refreshing, well structured 2013 Gamble Family Vineyards Heart Block Sauvignon, a wine which brought to mind White Bordeaux more than California.

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

Winemakers and vintners scheduled to pour for the event included  from Adler Deutsch, Aiken, Aloft, Anomaly, Arietta, Arns, Arrow & Branch, Barbour, Behrens Family Winery, Bevan Cellars, Boich, Cabaud, Casa Piena, Charles Woodson Wines, Clark Claudon,  Continuum, Crocker & Starr, Dakota Shy, Dana Estates, Drinkward Peschon, Dunstan Wines, Fairchild Wines, Gamble Family Vineyards, Gandona Estate, Harumph, Herb Lamb Vineyards, Hourglass, Keplinger, Lail, Lorenza, M. Etain, Mad Fritz, Mascot Wines, Marston, Massican, Mayacamas, Meander, Memento Mori, Moone-Tsai, Nine Suns, Piper Cellars, Pott Wines, Pulido-Walker, QTR, Raen, Rarecat, Realm Cellars, Robert Foley, Saintsbury, SBR, Spottswoode, St. Helena Winery, Staglin, Teeter Totter, The Grade Cellars, Tor, Tuck Beckstoffer, Tusk, Venge, Vine Hill Ranch, Vineyard 29, Vineyard 7 & 8, Vivier and Zeitgeist.

We decided to taste through the white and rosé wines before diving into the reds(which on this day, would turn out to be a rookie mistake…more later)

And of course we, began sampling delectable small bites provided by a variety of local restaurants.

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

We tasted some amazing wines. And there was something for everyone.

Do you like your wines big, ripe, and apologetically hedonistic? Check!

Do you prefer a more restrained Old World style? Check!

Here are a couple of  the more memorable wines (at least the ones I took photos of)

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

My Wine of the Day was the 2010 Rarecat Cabernet Sauvignon Old Toll Hillside Vineyard – a distinguished blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot with a harmonious black currant, blackberry, leather character that showed a very appealing minerality.

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

As for the previously mentioned rookie mistake? One of the dozen or so names I recognized when saw the list of wineries pouring was Continuum.  But by the time I made it back around to the spot from which they were pouring they’d run out of wine.

Damn…Oh well…you live and learn!

Next up was the main event…the live auction!

A fast-paced, wine country lifestyle auction filled with travel experiences and one-of-a-kind treasures

As we took a seat at our assigned table, there on the table were several more bottles of wine for our drinking pleasure including a magnum of the 2012 Gamble Family Vineyards Cairo Cabernet Sauvignon and one of my favorite Rosé Champagne!

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

Yep…my kind of party…er auction!

Filled with excitement, my wife and I perused the auction brochure and found a lot that was at the intersection of our dreams and what would we’d be willing to pay for said dream.

Lot 10 – Four nights accommodations in Saint Emillion, plus 2 days of hosted touring through the vineyards of St. Émilion and Pomerol with Wendy Narby including a dinner with Michel Rolland and accommodations in St. Émilion

It not only offered an amazing experience, it was little personal for us because we’d met Sharon Harris of Rarecat Wines, whose Chateau des Amis was accommodations in the package. Her wine was our favorite and we’d had a wonderful chat with her.

We agreed upon a max bid.

WINEAPAWLOOZA - A Napa Valley Cause For Paws

Auctioneer Fritz Hatton presided over the bidding. It was fast, furious and fun.

I was amazed at the amounts of some of the winning bids!

It was all fun and games until lot 9 was auctioned off. Lot 10 was next…and things got real.

Butterflies set in….

Eager to jump into the bidding fray,  and with sweaty palms, I warily grasped my auction paddle…prepared to thrust it into the air…

With fingers and toes crossed, we awaited the opening bid.. Would we have a chance?

Um…No..we were done before we got started…

The opening bid was 2x our max and went up from there…

Oh well, as Napoleon once said “Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it.”

Now I know why there was Champagne on each table!

The top five lots were:

  1. The Golden Rolodex – Eighty Magnificent Magnums – A collection of 80 magnums: $107,500
  2. One Sweet, Wine-Soaked World – An evening with Russell and Victoria Bevan of Bevan Cellars and a Dave Matthews Band concert: $70,000
  3. “Remember To LIve” Hollywood VIP Package – Dinners, tastings and vineyard walks with the proprietors of Fairchild, Fait Main, Memento Mori and Pulido-Walker, $65,000
  4. (The True) French Connection – 2 days of hosted touring through the vineyards of St. Émilion and Pomerol with Wendy Narby including a dinner with Michel Rolland and accommodations in St. Émilion, $60,000
  5. Legendary Napa – Beautiful and Historic Andy Beckstoffer Heritage Vineyards – Dinner with Andy Beckstoffer and 8 ToKalon vintners, 2 days of additional vintner tastings in the respective heritage vineyards and more: $52,000.

But wait…there was more! After the thrill of the auction, there was music, dancing, and more food and wine to be had! 

JARR Concert Emma K Morris
Wristrocket, rocking the WAP stage! Photo by Emma K. Morris. Image courtesy of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch

When I found out the event raised $750,000 (compared to $430,000 in the prior year), it also brought to this thought to mind…

Napa doesn’t get enough credit for the charity work it does!

We had an awesome time! This was our first wine auction, which was amazing in and of itself.  And that coupled with the world-class wine, delectable food and terrific music made for such a memorable experience!

Well done JARR, well done!

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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. 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.

No Reservations Wine Tasting – Heitz Wine Cellars

My wife and I do more than our fair share of wine tasting.  We’ve hit all the major wine regions in California (and a few minor ones too;-), along with some tasting in Oregon, Spain and Champagne.  From time to time we have a wine tasting experience that stands above the rest, and is everything we’re looking for – great wine and commendable service in a relaxed unpretentious 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.

The latest in this series features Napa Valley icon Heitz Wine Cellars.  My complete review of Heitz Cellar, including history, a recap of the tasting experience, reviews of wines tasted, and insider tipes may be found on the American Winery Guide’s website

Here are a five things to you need to know about Heitz

1. Believe it or not…The tasting is free…gratis..nada..zip…zero!

heitz pic_trade_tall

© Bill Tucker; Heitz Wine Cellars

2. It all starts at Gallo

Joe Heitz got his start in industrial winemaking. During World War II, he was an army mechanic at a base near Fresno, and he got a part-time job at Italian Swiss Colony, a maker of bulk wines. He then went to UC Davis and got bachelor’s and master’s degrees in winemaking, which scored him a job at E&J Gallo. In 1951, he moved to California’s best-regarded quality winery, Beaulieu Vineyards, working for André Tchelistcheff. “They wanted Joe to replace Tchelistcheff when he retired,” his daughter Kathleen Heitz Myers says. “Joe realized that wasn’t going to happen for a while.” (Tchelistcheff didn’t retire until 1973.) Heitz left to set up the enology program at Fresno State until he got restless to make wine again. (Source)

Heitz Tasting Room Food and wine

Image courtesy of FoodandWine.com

3. A piece of the dream

In 1961, Heitz bought an eight-acre (3.25-ha) vineyard south of St. Helena on Napa Valley’s main drag, State Route 29. That land is incredibly valuable now, but then it was planted mostly to Grignolino and Heitz estimated he could earn $4500 a year from it. Joe and his wife Alice put in a lot of sweat equity in the small winery on the property, where Heitz’s tasting room is today. The winery still makes a red wine and a rosé from the Grignolino. Alice Heitz, now 90, loves the rosé. “It’s my mother’s favorite,” says Myers, now president and chief executive. “Sure, we’d make more money if we replanted with Cabernet. But if we just produced Cabernet, life wouldn’t be as interesting. It’s not all driven by the money. It’s keeping a variety alive.” (Source)

Heitz Winery

© Heitz Wine Cellars; Bill Tucker

4. Underselling the dust

Heitz is quietly one of the largest certified organic grapegrowers in Napa Valley. “Three-quarters of our vineyards are certified organic,” Myers says. But the labels don’t reflect that, nor do they all reflect prestigious sub-appellations. Trailside Vineyard, for example, is in Rutherford, but the label just says “Napa Valley”. (Source)

David Heitz is the winemaker; the tasting room is at the original Heitz vineyard on Highway 29.

© Heitz Wine Cellars; Bill Tucker | David Heitz is the winemaker; the tasting room is at the original Heitz vineyard on Highway 29.

5. Buy an instant vertical!

Heitz Cabernets are older than others in the market. “Joe always wanted it to be a finished product, so you can see what it is,” Myers says. Most wineries introduce a vintage, sell it until it’s gone, then sell the next vintage. Heitz keeps five vintages on sale at one time for Martha’s Vineyard and Trailside Vineyard Cabernet. The most recent vintage of both wines is 2009, but restaurants and wine shops can also buy the previous four vintages. “Restaurants love it because they can have an instant vertical,” Myers says. Heitz raises the price for older vintages, but seemingly not enough to make up for the cost of storage. “I don’t care, because it builds the brand,” Myers says. “It’s our belief that wines age.” (Source)

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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. 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
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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 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: 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!

 

A Taste of Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa is one of Napa Valley’s top “destination” wineries.  What makes it unique is that it’s both an authentic 13th Century castle and a winery.  The Castello (Castle in Italian) was the brainchild of Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker.

Armed with his vault of medieval architectural renderings and another passionate dream, Sattui purchased a 171 acre vineyard property in Calistoga in 1993 and began construction of Castello di Amorosa Winery in 1994. Clearly, the success of V. Sattui Winery built the 121,000 square foot, 12th century style, authentic Tuscan castle winery. The Castello opened to the public in 2007(click here for complete history).

My wife and I last visited the property when we attended the annual Royal Hearts Gala – “An Elegant Evening of Opulence and Romance” this past Valentines Day. Put simply, the event exceeded our expectations.  The Castello is one of the few “destination” wineries I recommend to visitor to the Napa.  The tours are informative and fun, and the wines are worthy of your attention

I had a chance to sample three of their wines recently.

A Taste of Castello di Amorosa

My tasting notes follow:

  • 2012 Castello di Amorosa Gewürztraminer – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley – Pale golden yellow color with billowing lychee, apricot, clove, and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, dry, and viscouse with good acidity and ample pear, apricot, sweet citrus rind, honey and spice flavors.  You don’t often see “hedonistic’ and Gewurztraminer in the same sentence, but that description fits this wine. Lingering satisfying finish. 14.5% alcohol (91 pts.)  Retail – $25
  • 2011 Castello di Amorosa Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Bright yellow gold color with pleasing apple, lemon, honeysuckle and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied  with a buttery texture that nicely balance with good acidity.  It definitely exhibits an oak influence, but in moderation.  It shows spiced asian pear, citrus, vanilla and almond butter flavors. Long finish. (89 pts.)  Retail – $29
  • 2009 Castello di Amorosa Cabernet Sauvignon La Castellana – USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain – Ruby red color with inviting cassis, black cherry, cedarwood, and dried rose aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied and persistent with vibrant acidity, and dusty well integrated sweet tannins. It shows cassis, blackberry, and spice flavors underscored by an appealing minerality. Drinking well now, but should be even better with aging!  Blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 15% Sangiovese.  Aged 20 months in French Oak.  14.6% alcohol. (90 pts.)  Retail – $88

***

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to Castello di Amorosa and Julie Ann Kodmur

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

__________________________________________________________________

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.

 

#WineWednesday Review-Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Wines

My #WineWednesday review features three very good wines from the Robert Mondavi “Napa Valley” Collection.  I had the opportunity to taste these wine thanks to the good folks at Folsom & Associates, and Robert Mondavi.

Folsom & Associates

The Winery

The Robert Mondavi Winery (“RM”) was established in 1966 by Robert Mondavi, one of the most influential and esteemed winemakers in California history (Click here for his story).  It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley. For decades it was California’s most famous winery.  It was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2004.

It’s a beautiful property with classic California mission-style architecture, with an expansive archway and bell tower.  I must confess I haven’t been in a long time.  I recall visiting on one of my first trips to Napa.  Nowadays, I tend to visit the smaller wineries.  But, I’ve been impressed with their reserve wines.  I’ve also been impressed with a few of their entry-level wines  In particular the Napa Valley Merlot, and the Private Selection Meritage provide very good to great price quality performance.

The Wines

The three wines tasted are from the RM “Napa Valley” line of wines.  They include:

Robert Mondavi’s original vision was to produce wines from the Napa Valley that would stand in the company of the world’s finest.

These wines are sourced from the finest appellations in the Napa Valley including Oakville, Stag’s Leap, Carneros and other select vineyard sites.

In addition to the Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir reviewed here, other “Napa Valley” wines include Fume Blanc, and Merlot.

2011 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay

photo 3 (1)

My tasting notes follow:

Pale yellow color with apple, hazelnut, brown spice, lemon rind and a touch of oak aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with fresh acidity, and a supple mouthfeel. it shows apple, pear vanilla, lemon and spice flavors. Medium finish.

Rating: B+ – Nice value at $19 SRP!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.5% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • Where it’s from: Napa Valley (56% Carneros; 24% Napa Valley; 14% Stag’s Leap District, and 6% Russian River Valley
  • Grape varieties: 100% Chardonnay
  • Cooperage: Aged in 10 months in French oak
  • Retail: $19
  • Drink: now – 2017

2012 Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir Napa Valley

photo 1 (7)

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with damp earth, strawberry, cherry, and warm spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with medium acidity, and a smooth mouthfeel. It shows straight forward, pleasant strawberry, cherry, and spice flavors with a mineral undertone. Between short and medium finish.

Rating: B+ I enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Chardonnay, more than this one,  but it offers solid value for a Pinot Noir.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.5% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • Where it’s from: Napa Carneros
  • Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
  • Cooperage: Aged in 5 months in French oak (26% new)
  • Retail: $26
  • Drink: now – 2017

2011 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

photo 2 (5)

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with cassis, boxwood, green pepper, and hints of violet and spice aromas. On the palate, its medium-bodied with medium acidity. Good balance and persistence. It shows engaging blackberry, cassis,and kiss of spice flavors with a bit of minerality to make it interesting. Stylistically closer to Old World than New World for me. Medium + finish.

Rating: B+:  Good value at $28, and a good food Cab!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • Where it’s from: Napa Valley (35% To Kalon Vineyard, 13% Wappo Hill Vineyard)
  • Grape varieties: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon; 8% Cabernet Franc; 5% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot
  • Cooperage: Aged in 16 months in 60 gallon French oak (13% new)
  • Retail: $28 ( I found it at Costco for $19.99!)
  • Drink: now – 2017

Media sample(s) – Many thanks to Folsom & Associates for providing the wine.

Related post you might enjoy:

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

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.

Tasted – A Winning Trio From Smith Madrone Vineyards

Smith Madrone Vineyards, a family run, estate-bottled winery located in St. Helena, California was founded in 1971 by brothers Stuart and Charles Smith who are the Managing Partner/Vineyard Manager, and Winemaker respectively.  The name of the winery is a tribute to the Smith brothers and the predominant tree on the ranch. The Madrone is an evergreen with a red-brown trunk and branches.

When the Smith brothers purchased the  200 acre ranch in 1971, it included a vineyard that had been planted over a century before.  But the forest had reclaimed much of the land. The brothers had to call in loggers to clear patches of land that would become vineyards.  There remain numerous historical sights on the ranch, as well as the huge array of natural beauty and wildlife.

SmithBros

Stu and Charles Smith – Image courtesy of Smith Madrone

All their wines are produced exclusively from their 34 acres of hillside vineyards planted by the Smith brothers.  The vineyard is planted to 6.25 acres of Riesling, 10.25 acres of Chardonnay and 13 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, with the Merlot, and Cabernet Franc available for blending.

The vineyard sits high atop Spring Mountain, west of St. Helena in the northern Napa Valley. The vineyards sit at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet, on steep slopes which range up to 35%.

Smith Madrone Vineyards at Twilight

Smith Madrone Vineyards at Twilight. Image courtesy of Smith Madrone Vineyards and Winery

Smith Madrone offer four wines, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a special Cook’s Flat Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are available for purchase at the winery or on their website.  They produce about 4,000 cases/yr. The winery is open for tasting by appointment Monday-Saturday, 10 – 4:30.

Smith Madrone Trio

I recently had the opportunity to taste a trio of their latest releases, which included the 2011 Riesling2010 Chardonnay, and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

My tasting notes follow:

  • 2011 Smith Madrone Riesling Estate Bottled – USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Pale golden yellow color with peach apricot, mineral and a hint of lychee aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, and dry with fresh peach, mineral, and a hint of citrus rind flavors. Medium-long finish; 12.6% alcohol. Retail – $27; 521 cases produced (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Smith Madrone Chardonnay Estate Bottled – USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Pale golden yellow color with citrus, peach, spiced oak and a kiss of butterscotch aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and balanced with vibrant acidity, and peach, lemon, guava, mineral and vanilla flavors. Medium-long finish. 100% Chardonnay, barrel-fermented in 100% new French oak. Retail – $30; 703 cases produced. (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled – USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
    Opaque violet color with lovely cassis, dried herb, roast coffee and eucalyptus aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, focused and balanced with youthful tannins and cassis, blackberry, and roast coffee flavors. Medium-long finish. 14.2% alcohol. 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc. Aged 22 months in new American oak. Unfiltered and unfined. Retail – $45; 1,434 cases produced (91 pts.)

I really enjoyed these wines.  The Riesling is the best American Riesling I’ve had.  The Chardonnay was delightfully different, and i was surprised it was aged in new oak because the oak manifests itself so judiciously.  The Cab is an elegant delightful now, but will improve with some additional aging.

Before trying these wines, I wasn’t familiar with Smith Madrone.  I’ve tended to stay on the beaten path when visiting Napa.  My bad!  I’m looking forward to getting off of the beaten path, and if you are too, I highly recommend a visit to Smith Madrone. 

Wine provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Smith Madrone Vineyards and Winery and Julie Ann Kodmur

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 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2008 Castello di Amorosa La Castellana

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 2008 Castello di Amorosa La Castellana.

Winery

Castello di Amorosa is Napa Valley’s own slice of Tuscany.  It’s a winery with its own authentic Tuscan castle (Approximately 121,000 sq. ft., including 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground), and one of Napa’s premier “destination” wineries.  While I’m not a huge fan of destination wineries because the wines often take a back seat to whatever the attraction is (they don’t call Napa Valley “adult Disneyland for nothing;-), Castello di Amorosa is an exception.  In addition to a great experience touring an authentic Tuscan castle (complete with a torture chamber), you’ll find moat loads of  “better” and “best” wines rather than simply ” good” wine.

Castello di Amorosa (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)
Castello di Amorosa (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The story is how the castle came to be is fascinating (click here for history of the project). When Dario Sattui who also owns and operates the V. Sattui Winery, conceived the idea his thought was…

 I would specialize in making small lots of primarily Italian-style wines, showcase them in an authentic, medieval castle setting and sell them directly to the public, not in stores or restaurants.

Castello di Amorosa offers a wide array of wines.  In addition to the wines one would expect to find at a Napa Valley winery, (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel) they also offer three Gewüztraminers (dry, slightly sweet, and late harvest), various Red, Rosé, and White Italian varietals, Muscato Canelli port, and a slightly sweet, sparkling Rosé!

Castello di Amorosa produces about 8,000 cases a year.  The wines are only available at the winery, through its wine club, or online (www.castellodiamorosa.com).

Wine

This wine is what is referred to as a super-Tuscan. There are generally two kinds of super-Tuscans, those that are dominated by Sangiovese, or those dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine falls into the latter category.

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

The name for this wine “La Castellana” refers to the wife of the Lord and master of the castle. The fruit for this wine was sourced from their estate vineyard,and Passaro

Wine of the Week Castello di Amorosa La Castellana

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque dark garnet color with aromatic dark red fruits, toasted oak,and spiced tobacco aromas. On the palate, it’s voluptuous and smooth with well-integrated soft dusty tannins, good balance, and blackberry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, and spiced vanilla flavors. Long finish.

Rating: A- (91pts)

Pair with: Hearty fare such as grilled steak, sausages, Venison Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Shepherd’s Pie,  Braised Lamb Shanks, Veal Parmesan  or Rigatoni rigatoni with a wild boar ragú.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.6%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA:> CaliforniaNapa Valley> Diamond Mountain
  • Grape Varieties: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 14% Sangiovese
  • Cooperage: 20 months in French Oak
  • Retail: $88
  • Cases produced: 1,634
  • Drink: Now – 2020
  • >>Find this wine<<

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

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

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 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.