Cellar Selection

Tags

, , , , , ,

Darioush 2011 Cab

Darioush 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Nowhere is the connection between wine and culture more evident than in the history of Persia. Discoveries dating to 5,000 B.C. in the Zagros Mountains of Northern Iran show that winemaking emerged as permanent communities replaced nomadic life and a new age of wine culture began. Darioush Khaledi was instilled at an early age with the winemaking craft of his father, inspired by wine culture in the literary city of Shiraz – in modern day Iran – and the ancient city of Persepolis. He became a lifelong collector, seeking out old world wines infused with tradition and energized by modern technique. Aspiring to the ideals of the American dream, Darioush immigrated to America to seek out opportunities others overlooked. He was an entrepreneur determined to realize his dream, yet always eager to share his journey through his love of wine borne of rich heritage. In 1997, Darioush and his wife Shahpar founded Darioush and began to realize a lifelong aspiration to share the art, architecture, wine, craftsmanship and culture that inspired their journey. The Darioush estate comprises 120 acres in Southern Napa Valley spanning the Mount Veeder and Oak Knoll AVA’s.

I recently reviewed the 2008, which I had tucked away and thought it was time to try it. In a word, Tremendous! Being impressed, I reached for my 2011 bottle to compare, couldn’t wait! I let the wine breathe for about an hour before drinking. Pouring a glass the wine was clean with a deep dark ruby red color, comprised of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec, aged for 22 months in French oak (85% new). Note: the 2008 had 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot blend. Aromas of black fruit, sweet spices and herbs came forth, seemed tighter than the 2008. The palate showed complex fruit flavors blackberries, black cherries, and traces of coffee. This wine was as big as 2008, however tannins were fuller with more depth with good acidity and balanced. Notes of leather, cacao, coffee beans and earthy spices carried this wine to a long silky finish. Make sure this wine is on your “must have” wine list! This wine should drink well for another decade.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

Tags

, , ,

Walt 2012 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir

Walt 2012 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir

WALT Wines, owned by Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall, produces premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Pacific Coast’s most distinctive vineyard sites, spanning nearly 1000 miles and including Sta. Rita Hills, Sonoma County, Anderson Valley, and the Willamette Valley. Kathryn’s parents, Bob & Dolores Walt, were dedicated winegrowers who loved the land and each other. Her family produced six different varietals that was sold to several great wineries. For Kathryn’s parents, growing grapes was a shared family vision.

In 2009, Hall partnered with Roger and Richard Roessler, brothers who sought the finest vineyard sources along the Pacific Coast to make a portfolio of small-production lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The initial phase of the partnership was to continue to craft wines from their prize vineyard sources under Hall’s team of expert winemakers and in their precision winemaking facilities. The combination of excellent fruit, masterful winemaking, and state-of-the-art equipment allowed Hall to produce special wines of great character and individuality. As Hall began sharing these wines with others, Craig and Kathryn felt it was fitting to commemorate her parents in this new endeavor and WALT Wines was born.

Opened a bottle, aged in French oak (65% new), I was delighted with approaching aromas of lively red fruit, cherries and raspberries with a hint of sweet-smelling spice.  The deep ruby wine was bursting with red berry flavors, silky smooth and refined on the palate, bringing forth the vibrant red fruit, with the slightest touch of oak and earthy tones coming through. The wine had great balance and pleasant long lingering finish. Tried this at a tasting and was blown away, bought a few bottles home and opened another, which is drinking great now, another year would certainly add more roundness, but I am not sure I have the patience!

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

Tags

, , , ,

Ridge 2012 three valleys

Ridge 2012 Sonoma Three Valleys

Ridge Vineyards history begins in 1885 when Osea Perrone, a prominent Italian doctor in San Francisco, purchased 180 acres of land near the top of Monte Bello ridge. Perrone terraced the slopes, planted vineyards and constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage in 1982. In the 1940’s, William Short purchased the abandoned winery and vineyards just below Perrone’s property and planted new vines. From there a number of partnerships were formed with the surrounding vineyards, mostly by individuals with Stanford Research Institute credentials, up until 1986 when the Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka became the owners. The Ridge team is still more like a group of inspired academics than anything remotely corporate.

The history of the Ridge Sonoma Three Valleys began with the release of the 2001 vintage. The wine contains grapes from a number of Sonoma vineyards and varies from year to year. The 2012 vintage is a blend of four grapes; Zinfandel (79%); Petite Sirah (8%); Carignane (12%); and Alicante Bouchet (1%). Comparing this to 2011, two additional grapes were added, Mataro and Grenache. In addition, the 2011 vintage only contained 65% Zinfandel. This was due primarily to Zinfandel suffering low yields for the past four years, rebounding in 2012, with a large crop. Warm weather through September brought the grapes to ideal ripeness, and natural-yeast fermentations began immediately. The 2012 vintage is from grapes grown on seven vineyards in three Sonoma County valleys. The crush and fermentation process takes place at both Monte Bello and Lytton Springs. The wine picks up the characteristics from the various grapes that have been wonderfully blended together. Zinfandel determines the wine’s varietal character; old-vine Carignane contributes bright fruit and acidity; Petite Sirah spice, depth of color, and firm tannins.

The 2012 Three Valleys wine has a deep red color and a great nose full of zesty fresh fruit and berries.  The taste has both depth and character with red raspberry and sweet cherry fruit flavor. The wine is supple, mildly tannic, and finishing with a little spice. This was a very easy drinking and enjoyable wine, and for about $25, reflects a good value. Three Valleys wine would go nicely with a wide variety of foods.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

Tags

, , , , , ,

Frank Family 2011 Cab

Frank Family Vineyards 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

First constructed as the Larkmead Winery in 1884, the building was refinished with native sandstone from the nearby hills in 1906 and still stands tall today. The massive stone edifice is considered an archetype of California’s wine country; it appears on the National Register of Historical Places and is listed as a Point of Historical Interest in the state of California. The Frank Family Vineyards focuses their energies on making superb wines, producing Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Petite Syrah and several distinctively different Cabernet Sauvignons.

Today I am tasting their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. I noticed a vivid deep ruby color and concentrated aromas of dark fruit. Tasting the wine I notice a layer of complexity with ample rich fruit flavors, blackberries, sweet black cherries and plums. The wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc and aged for 20 months in 30% new French oak. This full bodied wine finished with notes of cedar, tobacco and earthy spice, was well balanced with solid tannin structure.  Delightful!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

Tags

, , , , , ,

darioush 2008 cab

Darioush 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Nowhere is the connection between wine and culture more evident than in the history of Persia. Discoveries dating to 5,000 B.C. in the Zagros Mountains of Northern Iran show that winemaking emerged as permanent communities replaced nomadic life and a new age of wine culture began. Darioush Khaledi was instilled at an early age with the winemaking craft of his father, inspired by wine culture in the literary city of Shiraz – in modern day Iran – and the ancient city of Persepolis. He became a lifelong collector, seeking out old world wines infused with tradition and energized by modern technique. Aspiring to the ideals of the American dream, Darioush immigrated to America to seek out opportunities others overlooked. He was an entrepreneur determined to realize his dream, yet always eager to share his journey through his love of wine borne of rich heritage. In 1997, Darioush and his wife Shahpar founded Darioush and began to realize a lifelong aspiration to share the art, architecture, wine, craftsmanship and culture that inspired their journey. The Darioush estate comprises 120 acres in Southern Napa Valley spanning the Mount Veeder and Oak Knoll AVA’s.

I had this bottle tucked away and thought it was time to try it. I let the wine breathe for about an hour before drinking and it made a big different from the first sip after pulling the cork.  Pouring a glass the wine was clean with a deep dark ruby red color, comprised of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, aged for 22 months in French oak (85% new). Aromas of ripe fruit and sweet spices were wafting up teasing me to take a sip. The palate showed juicy blackberries, blueberries, sweet black cherries and currants. This wine was big, full tannins, complex and well balanced.  Notes of leather, cacao, coffee beans and earthy spices carried this wine to a long silky finish. I just picked up a 2011 and tempted to try it, but time may be rewarding. A bucket list wine! Tremendous!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

Tags

, , ,

Caymus 2007 Cab5

Caymus 2007 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

In 1971 Charlie Wagner and his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner asked their son Charles (Chuck) Wagner, who had just graduated from high school, if he would be interested in joining them in starting up a winery. If Chuck declined the offer, Charlie and Lorna were planning to sell out of their ranch in Napa Valley and move to Australia. Chuck accepted his parents’ offer to launch the winery, Caymus Vineyards. The Wagners produced their first vintage in 1972, consisting of 240 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Since then, Caymus has focused their efforts in the production of quality Cabernet Sauvignon, and make a few more cases.

Deep ruby red with focused aromas of black fruit, herbs and spice. The palate is focused on sweet ripe dark fruit, mostly plum, blackberry and black cherry, with complex oak, leather and chocolate. The wine is well balanced, nicely developed tannins, slightly savory, finishing with sweet vanilla notes.  Elegant wine!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

Tags

, , ,

Honig 2007 Cab

Honig 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

In 1964, Louis Honig purchased a 68-acre ranch in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley. The vineyard was planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which he sold to neighboring wineries. Louis dreamed of the day he could retire from his San Francisco advertising agency and make wine from his vineyard.  Unfortunately Louis passed away before he could realize his dream, leaving the estate to his family. In 1981, as a tribute to his legacy, his family produced a few hundred cases of Louis Honig Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard’s old tractor barn. After the wine won a Gold Medal at the Orange County Fair, the family decided to increase production, and Honig Vineyard & Winery was born. In 1984, at the age of 22, grandson Michael Honig took over management of the vineyard and winery. In 1989 the family began producing small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I found this ’07 in my cellar and decided to give it a try.  I noticed a deep red color with concentrated aromas of black fruit and subtle spice.  The palate was focused on dark fruit, mostly blackberry and black cherry, with a light touch of spice, cedar & oak, leather and cacao.  Well balanced, developed tannins and probably close to its peak, or maybe a year or two more if you can wait.  Elegant wine with a lingering finish!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

Tags

, , , , ,

Clos Du Val 2010 Stags Leap Cab

Clos Du Val 2010 Stags Leap District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Clos Du Val, French for “small vineyard estate of a small valley,” was founded in 1972 in the now legendary Stags Leap District of Napa Valley by Franco-American entrepreneur John Goelet.  After a worldwide search to purchase vineyard properties from which to craft world-class wines, 150 acres in Stags Leap and 180 acres in Carneros were chosen, solidifying Clos Du Val’s iconic stature and formidable place in Napa Valley history.  Today, Winemaker Kristy Melton, handcrafts wines to reflect the classic style, finesse and grace Clos Du Val is known for.  The Three Graces, Splendor, Mirth and Joy have adorned Clos Du Val’s labels since 1972.  These mythical daughters of Zeus were said to preside over Olympian banquets and celebrations, spreading good cheer and raising a glass to the prosperity, happiness, health and good fortune of all.

The 2010 Stags Leap District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc.  The wine is aged for 24 months in French oak (50% new).  Pouring a glass, which I highly recommend decanting to soften, I notice a deep reddish purple color with complex aromas of black fruit, cedar and spice.  The palate showed a wine with much finesse, full of rich fruit, blackberries and plums, with earthy spices.  This full bodied wine was clean and well balanced, with mild tannins and toasty oak.  The finish was long and had interesting notes of cacao, cedar and pepper.

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

Tags

, , ,

Turley Napa Cab 2012

Turley 2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Born in Tennessee and raised in Georgia, Larry Turley of Turley Wine Cellars has spent the better part of his life on a farm. Being in the south, there were primarily tobacco and dairy farms; nevertheless, his respect for the land and its cultivation began at a young age. As an adult, Larry channeled this passion for preservation towards people, studying medicine and working as an emergency room physician.  Because Larry has never met an old vine vineyard he didn’t like, Turley makes 28 separate wines from 35 different vineyards, some with vines that date back to the late 1800’s. Often weak and decaying, these old vine vineyards require extra care and attention in order to restore them to their former glory. After twenty-five years in the emergency room, Larry can now focus his resuscitative skills on the various old vineyards that comprise the wines he loves.

I recently tried a Turley Cedarman Zinfandel and it was outstanding. I was able to get a bottle of their 2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, which was their inaugural vintage. Opening a bottle I noticed a vibrant deep Ruby red color with aromas of dark black fruit, not overripe, and complex spice. The palate shows smoothness, despite being a 2012 with vines planted in 1989, with blueberry and blackberry fruit, cinnamon, vanilla and herb spices with approachable tannins that should develop well for some time. This full-bodied wine was well balanced with good acidity. The finish was medium length and ended with a dry mineral taste.  Very nice for the inaugural vintage.

Cheers!

Exceptional White

Tags

, , ,

Newton 2012 Napa Chard Unfiltered

Newton 2012 Napa Chardonnay Unfiltered

Widely acclaimed as a California wine trailblazer, Newton Vineyard was one of the first wineries on Spring Mountain, a rugged yet serene appellation located west of St. Helena on the eastern flank of the Mayacamas range which separates Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Newton Vineyard was established in 1977, the vision of founders Dr. Su Hua and Peter Newton, who recognized the potential of Spring Mountain as a prime viticultural region. Newton’s approach to winemaking is meticulous, using techniques based on an old-world style including natural fermentation and bottling without filtration. The grapes are handled with care, hand-picked in small lots and transferred for gentle pressing to the Spring Mountain cellar. The winery is custom-designed to allow lots from 112 distinct parcels to ferment separately, affording the winemaker an abundance of options when constructing final blends. Barrel aging takes place in a cave built into the mountain directly underneath the winery.

Opening the 2012 unfiltered Chardonnay I noticed rich complex aromas of stone fruit with gentle floral scents.  The wine was aged for 15 months in French oak (30% new) and hand-stirred weekly give the wine an intense complexity.  The palate was full of rich ripe fruits, apricots, juicy peaches, pears and citrus with a touch of oak and spice.  The wine was extremely well balanced with the perfect amount of acidity.  The wine finished long and smooth.

Cheers!