Cellar Selection

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JDavies2011 Cab

J. Davies 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District

The Davies family, proprietors of Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley, produces still wines from the historic Diamond Mountain vineyards purchased in 1965 and replanted to Bordeaux varietals beginning in 1994. The wine is named in honor of patriarch Jack L. Davies, who along with his wife, Jamie, revived the Schramsberg property and established the preeminent American sparkling wine house more than four decades ago. A creation of the next generation of the Davies family, the J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of an intimate knowledge of a place and a passion to create a delicious red wine.

Opening a bottle of the 2011, which is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Malbec and aged for 24 months on French oak, I noticed a dark purple, almost inky color with aromas of fresh ripe red and blue fruit.  The palate shows the fruit nicely with plum, blueberry and black cherry flavors, a touch jammy, ripe round tannins, touch of spice with smoky cacao and earthy minerality.  Decanting this young Cabernet will benefit, however will last a decade in your cellar.

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Chanson Vire-Clesse 2014

Bastion De L’Oratoire Chanson Viré-Clessé 2014

Roots that stretch over several centuries, the history of Chanson is closely tied to the history of France. It perfectly reflects the evolution of the country through 260 years of existence. Every man and women who proudly bared the colors of Chanson over the centuries shared and still share a profound respect for the earth, the vine and the wine, and going on today. Gilles de Courcel and Jean-Pierre Confuron, pure Burgundians, took over from the Chanson family in 1999. Both are ardent supporters of an integrated viticulture, deeply respectful of the terroirs. The respect of vine, combined with precise and meticulous vinifications, aim to give the specificity of each terroir and offers tastings that are characteristic of the region.

Pale yellow with aromas of white stone fruits, citrus and complex floral scents. Crisp and fresh the palate shows peach, lemon and a touch of honey. Well balanced with lively acidity, plenty of mineralality giving way to a lingering ending. Very nice! Great value!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Patz-Hall Gaps Crown Pinot 2013

Patz & Hall 2013 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir

Patz & Hall was founded in 1988 by four individuals; Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz.  Together, they have turned Patz & Hall into one of California’s premier wineries, with a renowned portfolio of single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.  The seeds for Patz & Hall were planted in the 1980s when assistant winemaker James Hall and national sales manager Donald Patz struck up a close friendship while working together at Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards.  The two discovered a mutual enthusiasm for a rich and compelling style of wine made by applying traditional winemaking techniques to fruit from elite, small vineyards.  Inspired to combine their winemaking and sales talents, James and Donald joined with partners Anne Moses and Heather Patz, to establish Patz & Hall in 1988.

The 2013 had 15% whole clusters and shows a Rich Ruby red color (the color was gleaming) with aromas of sweet red fruit, earthy herb and spices. The 100% Pinot Noir wine was aged on French oak, (65% new) before bottling. On the palate, the wine was medium+ in weight and displayed a central focus of red fruit, sweet raspberry, cherry, cranberry and currants. The Pinot Noir showed refined velvet tannins surrounded by lively acidity and a touch of earthy minerals and spice, giving the wine a tremendous depth and balance.  This is a very elegant wine that had great length on the finish. Extraordinary!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Batzella Bolgheri Tam 2009

Batzella Bolgheri Tam 2009

Located in Bolgheri, on central coast Tuscany, the Batzella Winery Estate was founded in 2000 by Khanh Nguyen and Franco Batzella. The commitment of this husband-wife team is to make elegant and genuine wines, with a personality that expresses the best of their terroir. The Bolgheri area is enchanting, surrounded by soft rolling hills and by the Tyrrhenian sea. Its soils and micro climate are perfect for the Cabernet varietals, by now considered local to Bolgheri, to reach full maturation, resulting in wines that can be distinctively elegant. In this land, the Batzellas are pursuing their passion: to find that elusive harmony between elegance and power for their wines.

Batzella-Alvarez 6-11-16 tasting

I recently went to a private wine tasting where one of the Founders of Batzella Winery, Franco Batzella (on the left above) opened three of his wines and provided some in depth commentary on his winery. I will review his best wine today Batzella Bolgheri Tam. The name Tâm is Vietnamese for passion, indeed the passion that moves us the producers in our search of that elusive balance between elegance and power for our wines.  The label design is taken from the Chinese calligraphy which also means heart, passion. Franco, thanks for sharing your insights.

The wine was decanted for about an hour before we tasted Franco Batzella’s wines. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Cabernet Franc and aged for 24 months in French Oak and a further 12 months before release. The wine is Deep Ruby red with aromas of red/black fruits and sweet spices. The palate shows black cherries, blackberries and cranberries with some cacao, leather and vanilla spice. The wine had soft structured tannins, medium length and ended with earthy notes. Drinkable now but a few years would enhance the experience. Very nice!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Jordan Chard 2013

Jordan Chardonnay 2013

In 1972, Tom and Sally Jordan, a young couple from Colorado who shared a passion for French food and wine, followed their hearts to California’s wine country. When the two married in 1959, they dreamed of being vintners together. They drank virtually only French wines, enjoyed French food that Sally diligently learned to cook, and traveled throughout France, wining and dining their way through every region. In the 1950s there weren’t any restaurants of note in their home town of Denver, so the Jordans either traveled abroad or entertained at home for culinary experiences. The two knew a winery would one day be in their future, but ironically never seriously considered starting one in France. Then one night while enjoying their first glass of Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour in San Francisco, they had an aha moment: They could realize their very French vision in Northern California. In May of 1972, they signed the deed for a remote piece of property in the Alexander Valley, and Jordan Vineyard & Winery was born and coincidentally on the very same day, their son, John, was born.

When I have a steak, I usually grab a Jordan Cabernet as the wine pairs well with beef. I decided to see what the Jordan Chardonnay was all about. The color was a golden straw yellow with aromas of stone and citrus fruits and fragrant spice. The palate was loaded with flavors of apple, pear, lemon and melon, complex, mineral tones with soft oak and cinnamon. The wine was fresh, a touch creamy, with vibrant acidity, well balanced on a long finish. Not a typical CA Chard, with some mid-term aging potential. Outstanding!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Matanzas Sonoma Chard 2013

Matanzas Creek Winery 2014 Sonoma Chardonnay

Naturally defined by the three mountain peaks that envelop it, Bennett Valley existed for many years in quiet obscurity – bountifully sustaining an agricultural community that had all but forgotten the valley’s pre-prohibition vinicultural roots. It wasn’t until 1977 with the founding of Matanzas Creek Winery that the area’s winemaking potential was once again unearthed. But Matanzas Creek didn’t just breathe new life into the area, it helped revolutionize the entire industry and, in the process, put Bennett Valley back on the map. And now, over thirty years after the release of its first vintage, Matanzas Creek stands at the forefront of California viticulture.

Sourced from vineyards high above Alexander Valley, the wine was light straw yellow color, fresh and crisp with citrus and stone fruit aromas, slightly floral. The palate showed peaches, apple and pear flavors, with lemon, oak and mineral notes, lively acidity and balance with the touch of vanilla.  The 2014 was a bit creamier than the 2013. The finish was about medium with a good mouthfeel and ended with toasty oak notes. A delightful and refreshing Chardonnay at a good value!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Beringer 2010 Knights Reserve cab

Beringer 2010 Knights Valley Reserve Caberinet Sauvignon

Beringer Vineyards roots date back about 140 years ago when Jacob Beringer sailed from his home in Mainz Germany to New York.  After arriving in the “new world”, Jacob heard that the rocky hillside soil and fertile valley floor of Napa Valley resembled that of the vineyards back home in Germany.  Jacob, and his brother Frederick, headed for Napa and purchased 215 acres of land in 1875, becoming one of the first wineries in Napa.  A lot of time has passed and Beringer has perfected its craft of making fine wines, balancing time-tested traditions with modern technology, resulting in a portfolio of admired vineyards, including the distinctive Knights Valley.

Knights Valley has been owned and farmed by the Beringer family since the 1960’s and is located in the northeastern corner of Sonoma.  Its soils are sedimentary and cobbled, perfect for growing high quality wines.  In 1983, Knights Valley was established as a new appellation approved by the American Viticultural Area.  The 2010 Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc and aged 15 months in French oak (34% new).

Pouring a glass (after a half hour decanting) I noticed a gorgeous deep red with Ruby edges and aromas of ample dark fruit with slight hint of spice. The palate showed black cherry, berries, plums and sweet dried fruit with silky smooth tannins, great mouthfeel with a touch of gentle oak and minerality. This Cabernet is a great value, a real find, the 2010 still has room to develop.  Grab a steak and you have a great meal!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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TwoHands 2013 Bella Garden Shiraz

Two Hands 2013 Bella’s Garden Barossa Valley Shiraz

This is the final installment from the private wine tasting where one of the Founders of Two Hands Wines, Michael Twelftree opened four of his wines and provided some in depth commentary on his wines and his winery. I already reviewed three of his wines and today I will talk about Bella’s Garden Barossa Valley Shiraz.  Michael was generous enough to have his picture taken with me, see below.  Michael is the “good looking one” on the left!

Michael-Bill Two Hands 2

Michael thank you for spending time and sharing your vast knowledge of wine!

As I previously commented, Two Hands Wines was founded in early 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, and the original aim shared by Michael and Richard was to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized Shiraz growing regions throughout Australia. Today I am discussing Bella’s Garden Shiraz (known as the “Garden” Series) where Two Hands sourced premium fruit from six of the finest Shiraz growing regions in Australia. Wanting to showcase the best Australian Shiraz growing regions, Michael Twelftree demonstrated regional quality within Australian Shiraz with his Garden Series. Bella’s is a blend of Shiraz from across the Barossa Valley region and defined by its complexity and finesse. The label’s color reflects the red soils of the Barossa’s western ranges where all the best Two Hands vineyards are located. Michael was very generous in giving me a hand signed bottle to enjoy!

Bella Garden Signature

Pouring a glass, the 2013 Bella’s Garden Barossa Valley Shiraz was a very deep Ruby with light red edges and aged for 18 months in French oak (17% new). Aromas of red and blue fruits and a touch of floral spice were noted with cracked black pepper in the background.  On the palate plum, cherry and blueberry flavors swirl around with some spice and creamy cacao. This full-body wine had velvety smooth tannins and a great mouthfeel. Well balanced, this is a wine that lingers with good length, and you just cannot stop and put the glass down! Truly an outstanding offering. Tasting Sample!

I will look to get “my two hands” on a bottle of their Flagship Wine, Ares Shiraz, and let you know how it tastes!

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

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TwoHands-Gnarly Dudes 2013

Two Hands 2013 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz

In the last posting I mentioned that I recently went to a private wine tasting where one of the Founders of Two Hands Wines, Michael Twelftree opened four of his wines and provided some in depth commentary on his wines and his winery. I already reviewed two of his wines and today I will talk about Gnarly Dudes. In a few days I comment on his last I wine tasted.

two hands logo-light-icon

Two Hands Wines was founded in early 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz. Michael’s hand, on the logo, is the one on the left. From the outset, Two Hands set out to be unique. Their unique approach is reflected in everything from the names of the wines through to innovative packaging and, not least, the wines themselves. Two Hands has grown to be a clear market leader and now exports wines to over 24 countries around the world. From small beginnings, the winery has been able to manage its growth organically whilst maintaining an absolute quality focus. ‘Quality without compromise’ is a core value that drives all Two Hands decisions.

I recently review the 2013 Angels’ Share Shiraz, however the Gnarly Dudes packs a bigger punch. I noticed a clean deep and dark purple color with aromas of fresh blue/red fruits with spicy notes. The palate revealed rich ripe almost jammy fruits, plums, raspberries and blueberries with firm tannins and acidity to match. I noted some cacao, toasty oak and black pepper on a lingering finish. If you open a bottle, give the wine a few minutes to let it approach it’s beauty. You can sit this wine down for a few years, and you might be rewarded, however the wine is made and priced to be enjoyed now! Why wait? Another very nice Shiraz from Two Hands! Tasting Sample.

Cheers!

Exceptional Reds

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Michael Two Hands 2

I recently went to a private wine tasting where one of the Founders of Two Hands Wines, Michael Twelftree (pictured above) opened four of his wines and provided some in depth commentary on those wines and his winery. I will review two of his wines today and the other two I will make some comments my next two reviews, in a few days, keep a look out!

TwoHands CabSexyBeast 2014

Two Hands 2014 Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon

The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage. The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia. With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mold and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines. Two Hands’ first vintage was in 2000, after a modest $30k investment and starting with just 17 tonnes of fruit. The journey had started.

In 2004 a state-of-the-art winery was built in the picturesque Barossa Valley in South Australia, specifically designed for small batch handling. To maximise the individual regional and varietal characteristics and to allow for greater quality control, every parcel of fruit, no matter how small, is handled separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation.

Opening a bottle, I noticed deep dark Ruby color with aromas of sweet currants, red berry and earthy herbs. On the palate generous red berry fruit and plums with a touch of black pepper. Tannins are a bit firm and tight but overall the wine was well balanced with good length on the finish. The wine is drinkable right now and over the short term, say 5 years. Tasting Sample. Good value!

TwoHands AngelsShare 2013

Two Hands 2013 Angels’ Share Shiraz

Opening a bottle of the 2013 Angels’ Share Shiraz (Angels’ Share refers to the portion of wine that evaporates during the fermentation process), I noticed a clean deep and dark reddish purple color with aromas of fresh blue fruits with an earthy mineral nuance. The palate revealed rich ripe fruit, blackberries, blueberries and also noting some hints of plum and dried cherries. The wine is well balanced with firm tannins and lively acidity. The finish shows some cacao and fresh oak with earthy herbs in a medium length. Should improve with a few more years, but don’t wait too long as you might be disappointed! Very nice Shiraz! Tasting Sample!

Cheers!