Wine of the Week: 2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc

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 2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc.

The Winery

Merry Edwards, one of California’s first female winemakers, began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974.  In 1997, she co-founded  Merry Edwards Winery, a business venture allowing her to produce from select Pinot Noir grapes in Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast, including, for the first time, her own vineyards: Meredith Estate, Coopersmith, Georganne, Sanchietti and Flax.

Last year, her 40th year as a winemaker, Merry is inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame.

The Wine

My wife and I have visited the winery a few times.  While Merry Edwards is  known mostly for her single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, we always pick up a bottle or two of her Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s a Sauvignon Blanc of unique character.

Here’s what Merry Edwards Winery says about it..The rich core of this flavorful wine is fruit sourced from vines 25-35 years old. That 54% is complemented by 20% Sauvignon Musqué, which adds floral aromatics and depth not present in other types of Sauvignon Blanc. The remainder is the classic Shenandoah selection…prevalent throughout California.

The wine is fermented in barrel, and undergoes bâttonage, or stirring of lees, which gives the wine it’s weight and texture.   

Wine of the Week: 2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc

2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc

My tasting notes follow:

Pale green tinged straw color with peach, grapefruit, guava and a hint of wet stone aromas. On the palate, its medium-bodied, well structured, and fresh with great texture. It exhibits peach, grapefruit, guava and a hint of honey flavors. Long finish. 13.7% alcohol – $30

Rating: A- :

Pair with: This is a Sauvignon Blanc with some “weight”.  I like to match it with something with similar weight or a special meal.  I enjoyed this bottle with Grilled Paiche.  Delightful!  Here’s a couple of suggestions from Merry Edwards that sound fantastic;  Crabmeat Mango Salad, and Honey Lime Baked Wild Salmon with Mango & Black Bean Salsa.

Sample purchased for review

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
__________________________________________________________________

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; 2009 Gérard Bertrand Saint-Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre

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 Gérard Bertrand Saint-Chinian Syrah/Mourvèdre, and it’s a fantastic value!

I picked up this wine at my local Costco for $11.59.  I’d love to tell you I didn’t expect much…But that simply wouldn’t be true.  In my experience Costco does a fine job of stocking wines that over deliver for the price.  It also helped that I’ve had good experience with a few other wines from importer Gérard Betrand, a leading winemaker, producer and grower in the South of France.

He owns seven vineyards in the Languedoc-Roussillion region.  Betrand operates from the Château l’Hospitalet, a renowed 38 room hotel room/wine estate.  He produces a variety of wines for different markets.

This wine is sourced from fruit in the Saint-Chinian region of the Languedoc.  I50-50 blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre

photo (17)

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque black red color with appealing black fruit, tobacco, spice, licorice, and a whiff of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with a supple texture and dusty but well integrated tannins. It shows blackberry, black cherry, currant, spiced vanilla and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors. Lingering finish. 

Rating: A-  This wine is was $12 at Costco.  That’s killer Quality/Price Ratio folks!  Simply put….this one is a repeat purchase for me!

Pair with: This is a meat and potatoes wine – enjoy with Hearty stews, Flank Steak with Garlic Wine Sauce, or  Lamb Ragout with Olives and Peppers.

Sample purchased for review

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
__________________________________________________________________

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.

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Wine of the Week: 2009 Viña Eguía Rioja Reserva

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, the 2009 Viña Eguía Rioja Reserva is a great value!

The Winery

According to importer Quintessential Wines the Viña Eguía winery and vineyards were established in 1973 in Elciego and purchased by Father and Son, Jose and Julian Murua of Bodegas Muriel in 2010. Elciego is a town in the Rioja Alavesa, which borders the Spanish “Basque” region, and the language spoken there often includes Basque words, such as “Eguia” which means “truth.” The brand is symbolized by an open hand over the label, which is in the shape of an open book, analogous to putting one’s hand on a bible to swear to the truth of what one is saying.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine, which is 100% Tempranillo, were sourced from vines with a median age of 30 years from the Rioja Alavesa region, which along with Rioja Alta has a reputed for producing Rioja’s finest grapes.

The wine is classified as a “Reserva”.  Based on Spain’s strict labeling laws that means a “Reserva” red wine must be aged for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak.  In the case of this wine,  it was aged 24 months in American and French oak barrels were it ages for 24 months, then aged an additional two years prior to release.

So how does Spain do it?  How is it possible to produce a wine aged for four years that sells for under $15? I’m not sure, but when I look for killer value, I look to Spain first!

photo (54)

My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with appealing red fruit, tobacco, vanilla and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and smooth with soft tannins, and good acidity. It shows fresh dark red cherry, vanilla,and spice flavors. Long finish. It’s drinking well now, but will likely award cellaring an additional 2-3 yearsAlcohol-13.5%; SRP-$15

Rating: B-:  This wine is the truth when it come to value! We picked up three bottles based solely on how much we enjoyed the 2007 vintage (and the fact it was on sale at Costco for $7.99!).  After opening up this one and tasting it, we went back the next day and bought three more!  Tip: Let it breathe 30 minutes or so to maximized enjoyment!

Pair with: Grilled lamb chops, Patatas a la Riojana, aged cheeses or a plate of wild mushrooms sauteed in Spanish olive oil.

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

__________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________________

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: 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas

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 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

Tablas Creek began producing the Patelin de Tablas line of wines in 2010. Patelin is French slang roughly translated as “country neighborhood”.  In this case “neighborhood” refers to Tablas Creek sourcing fruit from neighboring trusted growers in the Paso Robles area  that take care of their vineyards and for the track records of the wines that these vineyards have produced.

According to TCV…Grapes for the Patelin de Tablas are sourced from four regions in Paso Robles. Three are limestone-rich: the warmer, higher-elevation Adelaida Hills near Tablas Creek, the cool, coastal-influenced Templeton Gap to our south, and the moderate, hilly El Pomar to our south-east.  These regions provide structured, mineral-laced fruit and excellent acidity.  We also source fruit from the warmer heartland of the Paso Robles AVA: the Estrella District, whose mixed sandy loam soils produce juicy, darkly-fruited Syrah. 

All varietals for the Patelin de Tablas were destemmed and fermented in open-top and closed stainless steel fermenters as well as 1500-gallon oak upright casks. Only native yeasts were used. After fermentation, the wines were racked and blended, aged in a mix of stainless steel and 1200-gallon oak foudres, and bottled in May 2012 

The wine is a blend of 52% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre, and 1% Counoise.  It’s  great example of the advantages of blends – The Syrah adds dark spice and meatiness, that is brightened by Grenache and Counoise, and the earthiness of Mourvedre.

13.7% Alcohol by Volume; 8,460 Cases Produced.

photo (53)

 My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with promising dark red fruit, peppery spice and a hint of damp earth aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and smooth with bright cherry, spice, and mineral flavors. Polished mouthfeel, and very good length!

Rating: A-;  A beautiful wine that substantially over delivers for the price (SRP – $20, but can be found online for around $18; Find wine here), and is food friendly too!

Pair with: Charcuterie; Camembert,  or Comté cheese;  grilled meat, meaty stews and casseroles,  slow cooked roasts of pork or lamb, or Moroccan tagines.

Sample purchased for review

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

__________________________________________________________________

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; Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang Sixth Cuvée

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 Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang Sixth Cuvée.

I picked up this wine when I went to K&L Wine Merchants for a tasting last week. It’s been on my radar for a couple of years, but I’ve just now gotten around to it.   Here’s what K&L says about it…

Shebang is a project of Bedrock Wine Co.’s Morgan Twain-Peterson, who happens to be one of only 30 Masters of Wine in the United States and son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson. While Bedrock’s focus is on small-lot, single-vineyard expressions, Shebang is an exuberantly juicy, multi-vintage red blend with a lot of pedigree as well. The Sixth Cuvée is designated as an Old Vine Cuvée for the first time, as 92% of the fruit was sourced from vines more than 90 years old. This includes some declassified fruit from the 100+ year old Bedrock vineyard in Sonoma Valley, as well as other particularly fine old vineyard discoveries. The blend of the Sixth Cuvée is 60% Zinfandel with a primary balance of Carignan, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah, and other assorted old vine, field blend grapes. The wine was fermented on native yeasts, aged in French oak (15% new), and entirely made with the same attention that is given to Bedrock’s wines.

 

The wine was named after the two Civil War generals who founded Bedrock Vineyard in 1854. SRP = $11.99; 14.2% alcohol; 7,500 cases produced

photo (14)

My tasting notes follow:

Inky nearly opaque color with promising candied red fruit and a bit of pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and approaches off-dry, with soft tannins,  and pleasing black cherry, black raspberry, baked blackberry and spice flavors.  Medium finish.  

Rating: B+;  Killer value, and easily the best multi-vintage wine I’ve had! This is a wine I’ll be buy (much) more of, and you should too!

Pair with: Pulled pork sandwich, spaghetti, or pizza

Sample purchased for review

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

__________________________________________________________________

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; 2010 Woodenhead Zinfandel Leras Ranches Bertoli

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 2010 Woodenhead Zinfandel Leras Ranches Bertoli.

The Winery

Woodenhead Vintners is owned by Nikolai Stez, and Zina Bower.  Nikolai grew up in the Russian River Valley, and was drawn to wine at an early age and began some home winemaking while still in college. His formal winemaking education consisted of attending the Horticulture and Viticulture program at Santa Rosa Junior College and attending a few classes at UC Davis. He began to seriously make garage wines in 1986 while being mentored at Williams Selyem.

He was assistant winemaker at Williams-Selyem before launching Woodenhead.  His domestic partner, Zina Bower, is equally passionate about wine, and is involved as well, handling the marketing and business side of Woodenhead. She also has a day job as business manager at Diamond Creek Vineyards in Napa Valley.

The name, “Woodenhead,” was a name given to Nicolai by an old girlfriend who thought that he was very stubborn 

In addition to Zinfandel, Woodenhead produces amazing Pinot Nori, a French Colombard, and a unique French Colombard based sparkling wine. They aspire Burgundian style wines with California fruit. They produce approximately 4,000 case of wine annually.

I’ve visited Woodenhead a couple of times.  I’ve always really enjoyed the wines and inevitably end up purchasing some bottles.  The tasting room is located on River Road in Santa Rosa and is perched on a small hill that overlooks the Russian River Valley.  I have fond memories on sitting on the patio, sipping their wonderful wines and taking in the glorious view.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine was sourced from  the  Leras Ranch.  The vineyard, originally owned by the Bertoli Family, was planted sometime between the late 30’s and early 40’s, making it approximately 70 years old (I’d say that qualifies as “old vine”!)  Nick Leras is the current owner and both farms and manages the vineyard.

The vineyard is head-trained and completely dry-farmed and the soil is primarily dark clay loam.

The wine is aged in French oak, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined.

photo (50)

My tasting notes follow:

Deep violet color with lifted intoxicating aromas of balsamic vinegar, oriental spice, and mixed dark fruits. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and balanced with a supple mouth feel. It shows blackberry, black cherry, plum and spice flavors. Medium-long finish. SRP; $30; 15.2% alcohol; 172 cases produced

Rating: A-; A truly lovely Zin….that I heartily recommend!

Pair with: Pulled pork, lamb chops, or chicken mole!

Sample purchased for review

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

__________________________________________________________________

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: 2010 Breggo Cellars Gewürztraminer Ferrington Vineyard

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 2010 Breggo Cellars Gewürztraminer Ferrington Vineyard.

The Winery

Breggo Cellars is located in the City of Booneville in Anderson Valley AVA, which is north (about 70 miles) of Napa Valley in Mendocino County.  It is owned by Cliff Lede (pronounced “LAY-dee”) of the Cliff Lede Vineyards and Poetry Inn in Napa Valley, where Lede has been very successful producing Bordeaux varietal wines.

As the saying goes “Great wine starts in the vineyard”.  And a great vineyard, start with having the grape varietal best suited for the location of the vineyard.  Breggo is focused on varietals that do well in cool climate Anderson Valley – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Syrah.

The Wine

Gewürztraminer (pronounced as “guh-Verts-trah-Meen-er”) literally means “spicy grape” due to its gobs of exotic, spicy (clove and allspice) fruit flavors including lychee, citrus and peach.  It can be made in dry or sweet styles.  It’s typically best drank within 3-5 year of vintage.   The grape thrives in cooler climate locations, so the Anderson Valley is a great place to grow the grape.

The fruit for this wine is sourced from the Ferrington Vineyard, owned by Kurt and Heather Schoeneman, who purchased the vineyard in 1997.

This wine underwent whole cluster pressing to tank and settled for 24 hours. Two-thirds was fermented in neutral French oak barrels, while one-third was tank fermented in stainless steel. No malolactic fermentation was permitted.

photo (49)

My tasting notes follow:

Light pale yellow color with intensely aromatic exotic aromas of lychee, stone fruits, lemon peel, and spices. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with apricot, white peach, citrus, and spice flavors. Surprisingly vibrant acidity. Long finish. 13.1% abv.| SRP – $25

Rating: A-; A wonderfully refreshing, dry, yet exotic Gewürztraminer that I’d purchase again!

Sample purchased for review

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.

Wine of the Week; 2011 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead

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 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead.

The Winery

Big Basin Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery. Founder Bradley Brown is Winemaker and Proprietor (and Vineyard Manager), while his sister Wendy Brown is co-owner and provides business management expertise.  The winery was founded in 1998 on a historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

The estate vineyards include Rattlesnake Rock (planted to Syrah), Old Corral Block (planted to Syrah in 2006) and the Homestead Block (planted in 2007 to Grenache, Roussanne and Syrah). They also source from other vineyards, like Monterey County’s Coastview.

Big Basin produces Rhone Reds, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Roussanne, and a Rosé.

It’s been a couple of years since I visited , so my wife and I decided to drop in the Saratoga tasting room last weekend.  Big Basin also does tasting by appointment only at their estate vineyard and winery.  I’m definitely going to have to check that out!

As we tasted through the lineup of wines, it reminded me of a situation where you catch up with an old friend after it’s been too long, you have a great time, and you wonder why you waited so long to catch up.  The wines are sensational and we like downtown Saratoga where the tasting room is located.  I highly recommend visiting and/or acquiring the wines!

The Wine

Homestead is a Rhone varietal blend that incorporates fruit from Santa Cruz & Gabilan Mountain vineyard sites.  Big Basin makes this “kitchen sink” blend annually, and it changes from year to year. For example, by contrast the 2010 vintage was a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.  It’s a wine that is approachable now, but will also age well.

From Big Basin - Our 2011 Homestead is a blend of 48% Mourvedre, 24% Carignane, 18% Zinfandel, 7% Syrah and 3% Grenache. Nearly all of the fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gabilan Mountains. The first fruit was picked on October 15, with the last coming in October 31. The Mourvedre is from a 25 year old vineyard in the Chalone appellation planted in mostly calcareous shale with some decomposed granite. There is an additional barrel of Mourvedre from 108 year old vines in the Cienega Valley. Both the Carignane and Zinfandel are from an 80 year old vineyard in the Cienega Valley right below Mt. Harlan at 1000 ft elevation in decomposed granite and limestone soils. This wine receives every bit as much attention as our top cuvées and is fermented on native yeasts in the same 1+ ton fermenters and then aged for 18 months in neutral French oak barrels.

420 cases produced; 14% alcohol; SRP-$36

Wine of the Week; 2011 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead

My tasting notes follow:

Violet color with alluring bacon fat, mixed berry, spice, and a hint of floral aromas.  On the palate, it’s medium bodied, persistent and fresh with a supple mouth feel.  It shows blueberry,dark red cherry, raspberry, and spice flavors.  Medium Long finish

Rating: A-; Offers very good complexity and value.  And is damn tasty!

Pair with: Paella, grilled meats, tagine, and hearty stews.

Sample purchased for review

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.

Wine of the Week; 2001 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial

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 2001 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial.

The Winery

La Rioja Alta is one of the most renowned producers of traditional Rioja wine. Their history dates back to 1890 when it was founded as the Sociedad Vinicola De La Rioja Alta by five viticultural family’s from both Basque and Rioja regions of Spain.  No long thereafter the name was changed to La Rioja Alta.

The company owns two wineries with the original building located in Haro.  The second, modern winemaking facility was built in 1996 at Labastida just 1.5km to the north-east.   The estate covers 360 hectares of vines with parcels in much of the best parts of the Rioja Alta subregion of Rioja.  The estate is planted primarily to Tempranillo, along with small amounts of Graciano and Mazuelo, along with 63 hectares of Garnacha (Grenache) vines in the Rioja Baja subregion.

The winery has its own cooperage producing barrels from oak imported from America and dried for two years.

The Wine

The Viña Ardanza Reserva has been elaborated by La Rioja Alta since 1942! it is named after one of the founding families. It is only produced in the best years, and  the 2001 vintage was rated “Excellent” by Rioja Control Board.  La Rioja Alta thought so highly of this wine that it called it Reserva Especial, only the third time one of its wines has earned that designation, along with 1964 and 1973.

The wine is made up of 80% Tempranillo from thirty year old vines from their vineyard in Fuenmayor, and 20% Garnacha coming from very old, goblet-pruned vines 600 meters above sea level in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo spends 36 months in American oak. The Garnacha spends ‘only’ 30 months in oak to preserve its freshness.  The  components are blended and bottled. The wine receives a further four years  of  bottle aging. Aging wines this long in American is virtually unheard of!

You can find this wine here.  The wine was produced in 2002, or 2003 the current release is the 2004.  I’m definitely going to check that out.  I’m also going to seek out some other wines from the monster 2001 vintage!

Wine of the Week; 2001 Vina Ardanza

My tasting notes follow:

Dark brick garnet color with intriguing earthy, leather, smoke, dried red fruit, fresh meat, vanilla, cedar wood and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s light-medium bodied,  wonderfully complex, balanced and fresh with a silky texture, smooth well-integrated tannins and tart-ish cherry, vanilla, spice oak, and leather flavors. Long finish, clean finish.  13.5% alcohol.

Rating: A-; Great value in a mature Rioja at $30, and a superb example of traditional Rioja wine.  If you’re looking to drink aged wines that won’t break the bank look to Rioja!

Pair with: An excellent wine to accompany charcoal-grilled meat, roasts, small game, medium-aged cheeses, Iberian cured sausages, etc.

Sample purchased for review

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.