7/21/2014

Quick Sip: Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva. Rioja is a significant wine region located in northern Spain with a viticultural history that dates back centuries. The region is best known for its delicious Tempranillo-based blends, which can include amounts of Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano. Rioja red wines, as I can attest to, typically offer very good value for the money. Additionally, they generally have the ability to age and develop in the bottle. If you’re looking for a satisfying example that already has some bottle age on it, then I recommend taking advantage of this under $20 deal. Lastly, with the seasonal warmth of summer upon us, the region’s drier rosé wines should not be overlooked. They are appealing, reasonably priced, and ideal refreshers and food-partners for backyard cookouts. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva
Review: Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon 2004 Gran Reserva (SRP $26): Crimson red in color, this medium-bodied Rioja is composed of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 5% Mazuello, and 5% Graciano. Black cherries, blackberry, and cassis lead onto the palate alongside cedar box, dill, trailing licorice and soft raisin-like notes. This wine is well-balanced and harmonious in the mouth, with fresh, food-friendly acidity lifting mature fruit flavors over a fine, elegant texture. The medium-length finish is pleasing with savory characteristics. Overall, this is a reasonably priced bottle of Rioja with some bottle age on it that's drinking nicely right now. Region: Rioja, Spain. (Other info: ABV: 13.5, matured 36 months in American oak barrels, cork enclosure.) 90 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $26 and is available for as low as $19.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any size order.

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7/15/2014

Quick Sip: Bokisch Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard 2013 Garnacha Blanca

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the 2013 Vista Luna Vineyard Garnacha Blanca from Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi, California. I had an opportunity to taste this wine for a ‘Lodi Summer Tasting’ event put on by the good folks at Lodi Wine. Bokisch Vineyards is owned by Markus and Liz Bokisch. After working in the vineyards and cellars of both Napa Valley and Spain, Markus found Lodi to have an ideal climate for grape growing and the rest is history. Inspired by the couple’s love of Spanish wines and family heritage, Markus has grown and produced Spanish-style wines in Lodi under the Bokisch label since 2001.

Image from a wonderful wine and cheese pairing event put on by Bokisch Vineyards and Cheese Central in downtown Lodi.  
I had a chance to meet Markus, his wife, and Cindy Della Monica of Cheese Central, this spring, for a wine and cheese pairing event. From Albariño to Graciano, Monastrell, and Tempranillo, all of the wines I have had from Bokisch have been well-made and reasonably priced. I’m particularly fond of their Albariño with light summer fare and seafood dishes. For further information and where you can find this refreshing Garnacha Blanca, which my tasting group found quite delicious, please see my tasting notes below.

Bokisch Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard 2013 Garnacha Blanca
Review: Bokisch Vineyards Vista Luna Vineyard 2013 Garnacha Blanca (SRP $18): Pale straw in color, this very pleasant and well-made wine leads off with nicely intertwined stone fruit, Asian pear, and green apple flavors backed by subtle notes of white flower. It is bright and fresh in the mouth with a racy crispness that is balanced by the wine’s nice textural qualities.  Overall, this is a delightful alternative white wine that is full of personality and extremely food-friendly. I recommend including a few bottle in your wine rotation this summer. Approximately 244 cases of this wine were produced and it was grown and crafted in accordance with the “Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing Practices.” Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 13.2%, 100% stainless, 10% Albariño added, cork enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

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Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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7/09/2014

Recent Sips: A Trio of Pinot Noirs from Walt Wines


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPass for a virtual tasting with Megan Gunderson, winemaker for Walt Wines. Walt Wines is located in Sonoma, California, and owned by Kathryn Hall, proprietor of Hall Wines. The label honors Kathryn’s parents, Bob and Dolores Walt, who were both dedicated winegrowers themselves. Walt specializes in small-production, single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a laser focus on the latter. They currently produce twelve different Pinot Noirs from select sites along the Pacific Coast, covering terrain from Willamette Valley, Oregon, down to Sta. Rita Hills, California.

A Trio of Pinot Noirs from Walt Wines
The wines featured in this tasting are from Anderson Valley (Mendocino) and Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterey), California. All three, though wildly different, are riper in style with a richness that’s uniquely Californian. They are well-made and most importantly -- nicely balanced. All three are fine solitary sippers, but would also pair wonderfully with meats like rack of lamb, pan-seared duck breast, and game dishes (e.g., venison, rabbit, bison). If you have taken your wine journey full-circle and ended up at Pinot Noir, then Walt Wines is a great producer to get familiar with. For further information and where you can find these Pinot Noirs, please see my tasting notes below.

WALT Wines "Pinpoint Extreme" Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir 
Review: WALT Wines "Pinpoint Extreme" Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): Medium garnet in color with an inviting and forward nose, this wine is relatively rich and broad textured with raspberry preserve, blueberry, and black cherry flavors accompanied by trailing streaks of bitter-sweet cocoa powder and brown spice. The ripe, deep berry fruit flavors are intertwined with juicy acidity that glides through to the lasting finish. This wine is ripe, yet sophisticated and balanced. While a nice solitary sipper, it would be a wonderful addition to the dinner table for dishes like spiced-rubbed lamb pops or sweetbread (thinking outside the box with this pairing). Region: Anderson Valley, California (Other info: ABV 14.9%, cork enclosure). 91 Points. Click here to find this wine.

WALT Wines ‘The Corners’ Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir
Review: WALT Wines ‘The Corners’ Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): Medium ruby-purple in color, this rich and concentrated Pinot Noir offers dark purple fruit tones, blueberry, and sweet dried cherry aromas framed by warm spice and (muted) cocoa nibs. The palate mirrors the nose and is full-bodied and balanced with understated acidity, a velvety texture, and flavors that expand and persist on to the lingering, voluptuous finish. This is a delicious and all-around generous Pinot Noir that’s enjoyable on its own and a good match for foods like pan-seared duck breast in port sauce. Region: Anderson Valley, California (Other info: ABV 15.2%, cork enclosure). 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.

WALT Wines Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 Pinot Noir
Review: WALT Wines Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): This is a Pinot for Cabernet lovers. It’s mouth-filling and richly extracted with purple and dark red fruit flavors besides nuances of cedar and spice box. Though broad-shouldered and assertive, it wears its weight relatively well and you can't deny the deliciousness. For this particular Pinot Noir, you will want to reserve the salmon and go with a nice slab of red meat. Region: Santa Lucia Highlands, California. (Other info: ABV 15.5%, cork enclosure). 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friend: Red-Bellied Woodpecker
About CellarPass: CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website, CellarPass.com, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country. To view this episode of CellarPassTV, click here.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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7/03/2014

Quick Sip: Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz from the Fleurieu Peninsula wine region of South Australia. Shiraz, which rhymes with pizzazz, and at times packs it, is Australia’s workhorse grape variety. It’s expressed both as a single varietal wine and also plays nicely with other grapes in some of the region’s Shiraz-based blends. Stylistically, Shiraz/Syrah is capable of producing a pretty diverse range of wines, from fresh and easy-drinking with added richness, to full-bodied, concentrated, ripe, and long-lived. This wine falls in the middle of the two, leaning more towards the easy-drinking style. At $16.99, it’s reasonably priced, offers good value, and is below the suggested retail price of $24. For further information and where you can find this Shiraz, please see my tasting notes below.

Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz
Review: Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor 2010 Shiraz (SRP $24): Deep ruby in color, this Shiraz exhibits aromas and flavors of ripe blueberries, blackberries, sweet fruitcake, a touch of bittersweet chocolate, and an underlying underbrush component. In the mouth, it’s smooth and round with a broad, velvet-like texture, understated acidity, and melted tannins. There’s a nice savory lift on the finish, which I’ll attribute to the 5% splash of Viognier. Overall, this is a pleasing, under $20 Shiraz from ‘Down Under ' for everyday drinking.  It’s nice on its own and will pair well with foods like a meaty pizza, gourmet burgers, or Asian-glazed short ribs. For the price, this satisfying bottle may well be just what the doctor ordered! Region: Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia. (Other info: ABV 14%, screw cap enclosure). 88 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $24 and is available for as low as $16.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any size order.

Happy Sipping! 

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7/01/2014

Quick Sip: Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola. Borra Vineyards was founded by Steve Borra in 1975 and is Lodi’s first bonded boutique winery. They have 234 acres of estate vineyards and operate under the helm of winemaker Markus Niggli – a native of Switzerland that seeks to highlight Lodi's brighter side through his wines. The Nuvola is 100% Gewürztraminer and is made in a dry style. The fruit was sourced from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards and grown along the banks of the cooling Mokelumne River. Mokelumne Glen Vineyards specializes in German varieties and Borra Vineyards acquires lesser known German varieties such as Kerner and Bacchus from them along with better known grapes like Riesling – none of which would you expect to find planted in Lodi, California. Markus employs a non-interventionist approach to winemaking and is crafting some of the most interesting, pleasing, and exceptionally bright, white wines I have tasted from Lodi. I recommend visiting their website and getting to know them and their wines a little better. For further information and where you can find this Gewürztraminer, please see my tasting notes below.

Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola
Review: Borra Vineyards 2013 Artist Series Nuvola (SRP $19): Nuvola, Italian for cloud, is 100% Gewürztraminer made in a dry style. The wine presents reticent notes of citrus blossom, bruised apple, and honeysuckle on the nose, alongside a hint of almond and a musky spice component. The aromas continue through the light-to-medium bodied palate, led by lemon and lime zest with an underlying backbone of minerality, keen acidity, and a refreshingly crisp finish. Overall, this is a delightful summertime/anytime wine that's a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of foods and occasions. It doesn’t reach out and grab your attention with Gewürztraminer’s unmistakable and unsubtle tell-tale characteristics; but it’s well put together, bright from start to finish, moderately complex, and delicious. Approximately 71 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 13.6%, Mokelumne Glen Vineyards, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

“New wines boldly turn pre-conceived notion about Lodi on its head.” ~ Borra Vineyards
Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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6/24/2014

Quick Sip: Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards 2013 Viognier


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards 2013 Viognier. I first tasted this delightful wine this past spring during a visit to the Acquiesce tasting room in Lodi, California. And just last week, I had an opportunity to re-visit it along with several other vibrant Lodi white wines for a ‘Lodi Summer Tasting’ put on by the good folks at Lodi Wine. In a wine producing region better known for its reds, Acquiesce may stick out like a sore thumb. Moved by a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, winemaker and proprietor Sue Tipton, crafts small amounts (approximately 1000 total cases) of bright and refreshing Rhone-inspired white wines from 100% estate-grown fruit. The reddest thing you’ll find behind the tasting-bar is a deliciously fruity and crisp Grenache Rosé. During my visit, the entire lineup, which consisted of a Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Picpoul Blanc, and a white blend, were all well-made, reasonably priced, food-friendly, and perfect for summertime sipping.  For further information and where you can find the Viognier, please see my tasting notes below.

Acquiesce 2013 Viognier
Review: Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards 2013 Viognier (SRP $23): Delightfully aromatic and nicely crisp, this enjoyable Viognier offers vibrant white stone fruit, orange blossom, and wildflower notes with trailing hints of honeysuckle and white tea. It’s medium-bodied with a supple texture and an appealing acidity that carries through to the medium-length, brisk finish. Instead of well-chilled, I recommend serving this wine at cellar temperature (55 - 57° F). Proprietor and winemaker Sue Tipton, suggests trying a bottle with lamb tagine, fish, Asian dishes, or citrus salads. Being a fan of lamb and Viognier but never marrying the two, I think I’m going to make that wedding happen sometime soon. Approximately 268 cases of this estate-grown and bottled Viognier were produced. Region: Lodi, California. (Other info: ABV 14.1%, Mokelumne River AVA, 100% Viognier, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Vineyard view from the Acquiesce tasting room. 

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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6/16/2014

Quick Sip: La Massa 2011 Toscana


Hello Friends, 

Today’s Quick Sip is the La Massa 2011 Toscana. La Massa was founded by Naples-born Giampaolo Motta in the early 1990s. After pursing wine-making in Chianti and spending time in Bordeaux, Giampaolo acquired 111 acres of hilly terrain in Panzano (Chianti) and started producing wine from the 66 acres of mature vine plantings already on the property. His 2011 Toscana marries Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with the centerpiece of Tuscany, Sangiovese, as well as a splash of Alicante Bouschet. The La Massa 2011 Toscana represents good value for the money and is an ideal choice for everyday drinking or the dinner table. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

La Massa 2011 Toscana


Review: La Massa 2011 Toscana (SRP $25): This is a savory and satisfying blend composed of 60% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the remaining made up from Merlot and Alicante Bouschet. Dark garnet in color, this wine offers poised blue and purple berry fruit aromas and flavors intertwined with drying minerals, crushed bay leaf, and muted notes of sweet tobacco leaf. The palate is medium to full in body, with an appealing liveliness and freshness to it, underscored by relaxed tannins, a supple texture, and a solid core of acidity that sails through to the pleasing, lingering finish. Overall, a delightful, budget-friendly wine that's well-balanced and harmonious with all of its flavors seamlessly integrated. This wine is a nice solitary sipper, though its food-partnering acidity is sure to shine at the dinner table. Region: Tuscany, Italy.  (Other info: ABV 14%, cork enclosure). 89 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $25 and is available for as low as $19.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any size order.

Sip up, my friends!



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6/11/2014

Recent Sips: Paul Mas Côté Mas, Viña Cantosán, Domaine Chandon, and Kaiken Wines


Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine blogger, and someone who appreciates and enjoys the liquid expression of a place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence -- I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages in the world. It’s a hobby where there is always something new to taste and learn as well as a sea of friendly "wine peeps" to meet in real life and via those wonderful and time-consuming social media portals called Facebook and Twitter.

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles


With summer fast approaching, the following four wines offer good value and will enhance any backyard cookout or get-together without breaking the piggy bank.  For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux NV Rosé Brut


Review: Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux NV Rosé Brut (SRP $17): This refreshing and lively sparkler from Limoux is composed of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir. In the glass, it displays a vibrant, pale-copper salmon color with persistent beading and soft mousse. Aromas and flavors of fresh red berries and rose hip mingle with white stone fruits and hints of lemon and lime. The palate has a sleek, mouth-watering quality about it with a pleasant, medium-length acid-driven finish. The producer calls this “an excellent aperitif wine,” which it is. It’s also a particularly good choice for cookouts and picnics as well as a nice midweek “just because” bottle to enjoy. Region: Limoux, France. (Other info: ABV 12%, méthode traditionelle, cork enclosure). 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.  

Viña Cantosán 2012 Verdejo


Review: Viña Cantosán 2012 Verdejo (SRP $12): This is 100% Verdejo, a grape variety native to the Rueda region of northern Spain. Straw yellow in color, this wine is medium-bodied and refreshing with (medium) aromas and flavors suggestive of bruised apple, yellow apple, pear, hay, a subtle almond like quality, and notes of citrus blossom. Overall, this is a delightful, food-friendly and budget-friendly wine that’s ideal for warm weather sipping. It’s also a nice ‘alternative white’ wine to throw in the mix this summer. The tasting notes, which I agree with, suggest paring a bottle with smooth cheeses, fish, and seafood. Region: Rueda, Spain. (Other info: ABV 13%, synthetic closure.) 86 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Domaine Chandon 2011 Pinot Meunier


Review: Domaine Chandon 2011 Pinot Meunier (SRP $23): This wine is bright, supple, and harmonious with fresh red fruit and plum flavors alongside violets and pronounced spice. It is food-flexible and a great choice to open and share with friends at your next backyard cookout. Overall, an enjoyable and easy-drinking single-varietal bottling of a Champagne grape variety that I typically don’t find vinified as a still wine on its own. Region: Carneros, California. (Other info: ABV 13.5%, cork enclosure). 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Kaiken 2011 Ultra Malbec


Review: Kaiken 2011 Ultra Malbec (SRP $24): This deep colored, tasty Malbec offers inviting blackberry, ripe plum, and floral perfume aromas with underlying notes of brown baking spice. The aromas lead to a [fairly] full-bodied, fruit-forward (and focused) palate with soft round tannins, good depth, understated acidity, and a pleasant, medium-length finish. Overall, this is a nice, reasonably priced bottle to have on hand for spring and summertime get-togethers and backyard barbecues. Grilled meats or portobello mushrooms would pair nicely. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. (Other info: ABV 14.8%, 80% aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon added, cork enclosure). 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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6/03/2014

Quick Sip: Maysara Jamsheed 2009 Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Maysara Winery Jamsheed 2009 Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley's McMinnville sub-appellation. Maysara Winery is owned by Moe and Flora Momtazi, who purchased a 532-acre abandoned wheat farm in 1998 and began planting a vineyard.  In 2001, they founded the winery and today the couple has over 250 acres of vines planted. Both the cellar and vineyard are Demeter-certified Biodynamic®. Their daughter, Tahmiene Momtazi, serves as winemaker. Tahmiene’s philosophy, as noted on their site, is to “truly make wines that will stand out for the vineyard and cellar.”

Pinot noir is one of the most transparent varieties to the place where it’s grown. It's not the easiest grape to grow or produce and it is rather picky about where it will thrive. For some of these reasons, you generally get what you pay for in terms of quality. Twenty [something] dollars is typically the starting point for a relatively nice entry-level selection and this bottling is a good value for the money. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Maysara Winery Jamsheed 2009 Pinot Noir


Review: Maysara Winery Jamsheed 2009 Pinot Noir (SRP $30): Fresh, balanced, and accessible, this Pinot Noir offers a supple mix of dark cherries, vivid plum and blackberry aromas with hints of spice, dried rose petal, and a delicate mineral streak that runs throughout. The aromas carry over to the palate with good supporting acidity that’s balanced on a lean frame with a textured and vibrant, medium-length finish. This wine is enjoyable on its own and would also be a nice partner to a wide variety of foods – especially summertime fare such as grilled burgers, chicken, sausage, lamb, and portobello mushrooms. Region: McMinnville, Oregon.  (Other info: ABV 13.7%, 8% barrel aged in new French oak for 11.5 months, native yeast fermentation, approx 8,772 cases produced, screw cap enclosure). 89 Points.

Click here to find this wine. It has a suggested retail price of $30 and is available for as low as $23.99 on CorkExclusive with FREE SHIPPING on any size order.

Enjoy a Glass! 


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5/27/2014

Quick Sip: Noble Family Wines 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Noble Family Wines’ 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I discovered this boutique producer through the good folks at Cellar Pass. Proprietor and vintner George Noble's foray into wine-making began with a move to the Napa Valley in 1999 and making Merlot with friends in a garage. By 2003, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon piqued his interest and Noble Family Wines was founded with consulting winemaker David Lattin of Kuleto Estate. In addition to the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve reviewed, I tasted the producer’s well-structured, dark fruit driven, and chocolate bark accented 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and an assertive Petite Sirah that begged for grilled red meat.

Stylistically, all three wines were ripe, robust, and well-balanced. All of George’s wines are barrel aged for upwards of 33 months and based on what I tasted, the fruit can more than handle the oak regiment. One area that sets Noble Family Wines apart from many producers is how long their wines are held back before release. Typically, bottle aging is left up to the consumer. The 2007 vintage represents their latest release of Cabernet Sauvignon. Until George believes his wines are relatively well-integrated and ready to be enjoyed, they are reserved. The Noble Family Wines' 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking nicely right now but will benefit from short-to-long term cellaring. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Noble Family Wines 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon


Review: Noble Family Wines 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $80): This wine is deeply colored with ripe and opulent layers of plum, crème de cassis, and licorice aromas and flavors that are nicely interwoven with pretty oak-driven mocha-vanilla tones and brown spice notes. The palate is concentrated and mouth-filling with a well-defined structure, rich mid-palate, and dusty tannins, ending in a generous and lasting finish. I suggest letting this wine breathe in a decanter for over an hour -- sniffing and sipping small amounts every 15 minutes or so. Over time, you will discover like I did, that the wine opens up quite nicely. Approximately 446 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Napa Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 14.8%, fruit source: 22% Pritchard Hill, 24% Rutherford, 54% St. Helena, 5% Petite Sirah added, barrel matured for 33 months, cork enclosure). 93 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Happy Sipping, my friends!


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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5/19/2014

Recent Sips: Judd's Hill 2012 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip segment features Judd’s Hill 2012 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc. Judd’s Hill is located in California’s Napa Valley and is owned and operated by two generations of the Finkelstein family. Founders, Art and Bunnie Finkelstein, started producing wines in the area with the creation of Whitehall Lane Winery in the 1970s. After leaving Whitehall Lane in the late 1980s, Art established Judd's Hill to focus on quality over quantity. Today, the winery specializes in small-batch, finely-crafted wines with an annual production of less than 3,000 cases.

While Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are Napa Valley’s most widely planted varieties, it’s always fun to discover small lots of varietal wines you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the region (like Viognier and Cabernet Franc). And just as fun – not to mention, interesting – is how the lay of the land, Mother Nature, and the influence of the winemaker comes together to express those wines in the bottle. Both of these wines were recently tasted by a small group of friends and me while we watched a live broadcast of CellarPass TV. Debuting on CellarPass TV was Art and Bunnie's son, Judd Finkelstein, who is involved in every facet of the family business. Judd, along with a pirate, a ukulele, and a cyclist, made for the most entertaining episode of CellarPass TV I think I’ve ever watched. Click here to check it out. Most importantly, the wines were pretty tasty, too!  For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Judd's Hill 2012 Viognier


Review: Judd's Hill Winery 2012 Viognier (SRP $34): This Viognier is pure and fresh with succulent yellow-fleshed fruit on the entry alongside stone fruit and trailing white flowers. It has nice weight in the mouth with a tangy, mouthwatering acidity, running through an elegant texture with a vibrant, persistent finish. The producer suggests pairing a bottle with “baked tilapia with tomato and basil, butter poached shrimp scampi with linguini, or coconut curried salmon on a bed of Israeli couscous.”  All three food pairings are on point and sound wonderful! The fruit for this wine was sourced from a site with a relatively cool micro-climate, which has allowed the wine to maintain a delightful and bright character from start to finish. Approximately 125 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Napa Valley, California. 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Judd's Hill 2010 Cabernet Franc


Review: Judd’s Hill Hampton Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc (SRP $48): This is a small-production Cabernet Franc that shows shades of its more popular off-spring, Cabernet Sauvignon. It opens with a relatively full and luscious palate of ripe blackberries, blackcurrant, and plum aromas and flavors that are followed by (dried) red fruit undertones and violet notes over a velvety texture, ending with a touch of anise on the lasting finish. Overall, this is a fairly rich and fruit-focused example with seamless tannins and soft but balanced acidity that’s a fine solitary sipper or a good match for grilled red meats. Approximately 48 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Napa Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 14.4%, cork enclosure). 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friends: American Goldfinch


About CellarPass TV: #CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website, CellarPass.com, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country. To view this episode of CellarPass TV, click here.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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