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Saturday, April 30, 2011

2007 Ca'Momi Zinfandel Napa Valley

This Ca'Momi wine is 100% Zinfandel and bright red in the glass.  It is mildly aromatic but full of flavors.  There is a great combination of sweet ripe blackberry, cherry, toasty vanilla and dark plums in the glass.  The spices are well in check and very mild, leading to an incredibly velvet-like smooth finish.  This Zinfandel is not overly sweet or spicy like many are.  Everything is very well balanced.  Drink in the next 12 months for best enjoyment.

About Ca'Momi Winery
Ca'Momi Winery is the first winery in the United States to feature the Nova Twist closure on their wines.  This plastic cap makes the bottle 100% recyclable.  Unlike traditional metal closures, there are no sharp edges to deal with and the Nova Twist closure has approximately 1/3 less the carbon footprint of metal screwcaps.

ABV:  13.9%
Retail Price:  $16.99
Score:  88

2008 Harney Lane Petite Sirah

The 2008 Petite Sirah from Harney Lane is a sexy and inviting 100% varietal aged in American Oak.  The smoky and blueberry aromas are in the forefront and flavors of blueberry, toasted cedar, smoky wild game and spices blend incredibly well.  The reward is well defined juicy tannins and a very long finish that will allow you to drink this now or for years to come.  Tasted twice consistently.

About Harney Lane Winery:
The family of Harvey Lane winery has been farming their land and surrounding areas since 1907.  They celebrate their farming heritage as the basis of their vision of the future.  Currently three generations of family members oversee every element of the winemaking process - from the vineyard to the barrel and to the bottle.  The youngest generation even have a vineyard named after them - Lizzy James Old Vine Vineyard.

ABV:  14.5%
Retail Price:  $24.00
Score:  93

2009 Chatte D'Avignon Grenache & Syrah Columbia Valley

The 2009 Chatte D'Avignon Grenache and Syrah blend from Seven of Hearts wine is an interesting and satisfying blend that surprises you on the back end.  From the Grenache are aromas of blackberry, cherry and red currant, and you get some spice and smoky meat from the Syrah.  The Syrah is not dominating but it does provide some depth and strength to this wine that will have a wide appeal for nearly every red wine drinker.  The alcohol content is perfect for this blend and there is a very long and lasting finish.  This wine will drink in its prime over the next 4-5 years but could go longer with proper cellaring. 

About Seven of Hearts Wine:
Byron and Dana Dooley produce wines under two labels - Seven of Hearts and Luminous Hills.  They chose the name Seven of Hearts for this labor of love that they have for winemaking.  While they are located in Oregon, I included this wine in the Washington listing as the grapes for this were sourced in Washington state.

ABV:  14.5%
Retail Price:  $25.00
Score:  90

2009 House of Independent Producers La Bourgeoisie Merlot

This 100% Merlot from Washington state can easily be mistaken as a fine French Bordeaux if you are looking at the bottle and label.  The House of Independent Producers focuses on the terroir for this fine made and affordable medium red wine.  Very soft and approachable, this wine is full of blueberry, cherry, earthtones, pencil lead and flint.  The medium body and soft tannins blend with a very flavorful and enjoyable Merlot that is reminiscent of a fine French wine is texture and flavor. 

About the House of Independent Producers:
The HOIP is a project aimed at showcasing some of the best Washington vineyard sites using vitis vinifera grape varieties.  The project is directed by Christophe Hedges who feels that some of the larger, independently owned vineyards need and deserve recognition in single vineyard wines.

ABV:  13.5%
Retail Price:  $14.00

Monday, April 25, 2011

2006 Krupp Brothers Merlot Stagecoach Vineyard

The 2006 Krupp Brothers Merlot is a blend of 98% Merlot with a 2% addition of Petit Verdot.  The aromas from this wine immediateliy put a smile on my face.  So many people thumb their noses at Merlot, but when it is done as remarkable as this, you can't help but to embrace it.  I love a great Merlot and this is definitely one of the best!  Medium red with hints of dark purple in the glass, there are so many aromas that lift nicely out of the glass - blueberry, olive, melted butter, fresh cut cedar, herbs, and cooked cherries.  The tannins are incredibly fine and work superbly against with the red currants, plum, and cherry cola that blend themselves into a mildly fleshy and determined wine.  This wine is my new favorite Merlot and it embodies some of the best Merlot Napa Valley has to offer.  I would love to see what develops in the bottle in 5+ years down the road.  Just fantastic and drinking wonderfully!

About Krupp Brothers:
Dr. Jan Krupp and his brother Bart face incredible obstacles when they decided to stake their claim in Napa Valley.  Where most people would have given up, they persevered and developed their incredible corner of the world, adding to it when the opportunity arose.  With some good old fashioned know how and a water witch - the rest is history!

ABV:  15.2%
Retail Price:  $60.00
Score:  95

2007 Calcareous Meritage Red Blend

The 2007 Meritage from Calcareous Vineyard is a blend of 5 varietals - Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Petit Verot (29%), Cabernet Franc (18%), Merlot (12%) and Malbec (6%).  Incredibly dark in the glass and lively nose of dark cherries, plum and fresh turned earth.  Petit Verdot has become a favorite of mine in recent months so I was very excited that this wine had a nice showing of it in here.  At first are lively ripe red fruits with toasted oak in the mid palate with cassis, red currant and plum.  Towards the back you get tight supple tannins that make a framework for the lovely fruit and a very nice structured, long finish.  There was quite a bit of sediment in this wine so decanting is a must.

About Calcareous Vineyard:
Located in Paso Robles, Calcareous is fortunate to have several grape varietals planted next to each other due to the climate and terroir of the area.  Lloyd Messer and his daughter Dana Brown sold their businesses to begin a career that few can dream of.  Lloyd passed away in 2006 but his daughter still continues their legacy through hand crafted wines.

ABV:  14.5%
Retail Price:  $38.00
Score:  92

2010 Hagafen Lake County White Riesling Devoto Vineyard

I was introduced to Hagafen about 2 years ago on a trip to Napa and they consistently over perform on every one of their wines.  The 2010 Lake County White Riesling from Devoto Vineyard is a fine example of their commitment to quality and taste.  Golden straw in the glass, this wine is chocked full of tropical island fruit flavors both on the nose and in the mouth.  This Riesling has a very satisfying long and smooth finish.  It is simply blissful and a wine you should get for the spring and summer months.  This wine provides just the right balance of sweetness against the fruit flavors of apricot, peach, and hints of pineapple and banana.

About Hagafen:
Hagafen is owned and operated by Irit and Ernie Weir, where Ernie serves in double roles as grape grower and winemaker.  Their wines have been served in the White House on many occasions since the Reagan years and they continue to be served to visiting foreign dignitaries.  If you make a trip to Napa, you will want to check out Hagafen's personal tasting room and friendly staff!

ABV:  12.0%
Retail Price:  $18.00
Score:  92

Sunday, April 24, 2011

2009 Mercer Estates Chardonnay

The newly released 2009 Chardonnay from Mercer Estates is a refreshing change from heavy or overly oaked Chardonnay that are found so often.  Golden straw color in the glass and wildly aromatic with pear, lemon meringue pie, sweet cream and toast.  Similar flavors in the glass with the addition of pineapple, baking spices and a caramel-vanilla mixture.  This wine is very complex in its young age and provides endless flavors and enjoyment.  The finish is incredibly long, structured and light in the mouth.

About Mercer Estates:
Rob & Brenda Mercer, along with Mike Hogue and Ron & Barb Harle bring their years of expertise to a relatively new venture that is set out to make world class wines.  To learn more about them, check out their web site or the "Mercer Minute" on You Tube.

ABV:  13.9%
Retail Price:  $15.99
Score:  92

2008 Mercer Estates Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mercer Estates is full of lush dark fruits and assertive tannins.  It is deep red in the glass and has aromas of cherry, cocoa, cedar and sweet tobacco.  The palate providesand  dark fruits with a fresh earthiness and eucalyptus flare that is supported by a full bodied feel with a long and exciting finish due to the great acidity on the back end. 

About Mercer Estates:
Founded by the Mercer and Hogue families, these pioneers of Washington State agriculture started successful farming ventures over 100 years ago.  Their winemaker, David Forsyth, knows the areas like the back of his hand and uses the vineyards in Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley to help create world class wines.

ABV:  14.5%
Retail Price:  $23.99
Score:  90

2003 Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon Branding Iron

Plenty of life left in this 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from Nickel & Nickel. Gorgeous dark purple in the glass with no signs of age.  At first the nose was muted, but with additional air time the dark berries and espresso came through dominantly.  In the mouth is a medium bodied fruit forward wine with flavors of black cherry, strawberry, espresso and cassis.  The end provided hints of chocolate covered mint and a very smooth and velvety finish.  If you have this in your cellar you'll be pleased how it is drinking right now.

About Nickel & Nickel:
Nickel & Nickel was founded in 1997 and believes in producing 100% varietal single vineyard wines that showcase the personality and terroir of each vineyard. 

Score:  91

NV Treveri Cellars Gewurztraminer Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine

Now here's a sparkling wine that will put a smile on your face!  This non-vintage Gewurztraminer Blanc de Blanc Sparking Wine from Treveri Cellars has it all - fragrant tropical fruit aromas, exotic spices and a long finish from structured and firm bubbles.  There is a well balanced sweetness towards the mid palate and when served well chilled, the flavors come to the forefront and this wine really comes to life!

About Treveri Cellars:
Treveri Cellars operates "The Sparkle" Tasting Room, where you can not only taste their old world style of hand crafted sparkling wines, but you can receive an education on the different styles of sparkling wines that they create and serve. 

ABV:  12.0%
Retail Price:  $18.99
Score:  90

NV Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine

This sparking wine from Treveri Cellars in Washington state is a very tasty and lively, aromatic wine with violets, strawberry, molasses and muted tropical fruits in the glasss.  The bubbles are plentiful and soft, leading to a very clean and crisp finish that is slightly sweet.  The low alcohol content and price adds to the appeal of this sparkler.  You get a taste of luxury at a price everyone can afford.

About Treveri Cellars:
Treveri Cellars uses Methode' Champenois in the crafting of their sparkling wines and they offer several different varietals - something for everyone!

ABV:  12.0%
Retail Price:  $13.99
Score:  87

2008 Tsillan Cellars Estate Riesling

Bright golden color in the glass, this 2008 estate Riesling from Tsillan Cellars of Washington will quickly be considered as one of the best you've tasted in recent memory.  Fragrant stone fruit aromas mix with lilac, golden apple and juicy pear.  You get a lot of wonderful fruit with a slightly sweet taste up front and the blend of flower petals, lime and other citrus fruits feel well balanced and incredibly lively in the mouth.  There is a very crisp and refreshing finish that will allow this to pair with a variety of foods or be an afternoon sipper.  Drink now or buy several bottles and put a few away for 3-4 years and see what develops further.  This is a great wine at an incredible price

About Tsillan Cellars:
Dr. Bob Jankelson is recognized the world over as a dental clinician, clinical researcher, educator and author.  He is the owner and architect of Tsillan Cellars and has set out to create not only a winery with national recognition because of incredible wines, but he is also creating an Italian masterpiece, styled after his love of Italian architecture and appreciation of the Tuscany region of Italy.  Tsillan Cellars is on my "must visit" list for Washington in the near future!

ABV:  12.5%
Retail Price:  $18.00
Score:  93

2008 Tsillan Cellars Lakeside Vineyard Reserve Syrah

The 2008 Reserve Syrah is nearly black in the glass with streaks of red near the rim.  Wonderfully fruit forward with red and black jammy fruits, the abundant aromas include sugary vanilla, red berries and just a small amount of spice.  Very little pepper on the palate which is pleasing.  This wine embodies ripe fruits like plum and cherry mid palate with some dark chocolate towards the end.  Despite being a very young Syrah, this wine is completely approachable now and very delicious.  The well balanced micro tannins provide a very long and pleasing finish.

About Tsillan Cellars:
Tsillan Cellars was established in 2000 and has already won numerous awards and national recognition for their wines, which are 100% estate grown.  This Tuscan style vineyard and winery has big expansion plans in the future, including wedding gardens, a herb garden, Italian marketplace and much more.  Tsillan Cellars also offers free shipping on wine orders for 6 bottles or more!

ABV:  15.2%
Retail Price:  $28.00
Score:  94