November Wine Tasting Notes
During the month of November I had the opportunity to taste with some of my favorite vendors. Below is a synopsis of some of the tastings. Also tasted in November were the wines of Beckman, Fog Crest and Palazzo.
Millwork Chardonnay Sonoma Coast ’09
A second label of Paul Hobs, bottled at Dunah Winery. 18 months in New French oak. Bright aromas of apples and peaches with honey notes. Rich and creamy in the mouth and flavors of pineapples and Bosc pears. A bit warm on the tongue with medium acidity. Good value.
Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon ’10
The vineyards here were planted in 1986 with Dijon & Pommard clones. It has a cloudy red brick to magenta color. Aromas of flowers, mineral and fruity berry. I can really taste the clay soil mixed with a flavor of pomegranate. It finishes with good acidity.
Rusina Zinfandel Dry Creek ’09
I’ve tasted this several times and each time I’ve really enjoyed it. 93% is old vine Zinfandel & 7% Petite Sirah and is fermented in French oak, 30% new. An aromatic wine of black berries, raspberries, plums and violet bubble gum. In sits rich on the palate with a black pepper spice and flavors of vanilla and cocoa. It finishes with a hint of minerals and is absolutely delicious.
Stolpman Estate Syrah Santa Ynez Valley ’09
Planted in 1972 it is organically and dry farmed. Only 1500 case production. Intense dark inky color. Aromas of black fruit, sulfur, coffee and black cassis. It is toasty and rich on the palate. It finishes with more black fruitiness and good minerality.
Paro Pinot Noir Russian River ’10
Made by Pat Reynolds and funded by a San Diego resident, Rob Shear. Each label features a different artist. This label features a painting from Thomas Murray. Dark ruby color with an herbal nose of fallen leaves. Filled with aromas and flavors of candied red fruit. Fun wine.
Paro Pinot Noir Sonoma Mountain ’10
Picked from the Kaufman Sunny Slopes Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. Artist featured is Barbara Ellis. Has a good amount of viscosity for a Pinot Noir. Aromas of violets and pruned fruit. Long finish with mouthwatering acidity and tart black fruits.
Niner Sangiovese Bootjack Ranch Paso Robles ’08
Niner is LEED certified and the winery is designed to run efficiently with the least amount of energy. The winemaker, Amanda Cramer was awarded winemaker of the year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Garnet color with aromas of red berries, violets, cherry bubble gum. Upfront it is very juicy. As it progresses it shows flavors of cola and black tea. It is fruit forward, but not hot.
Sika Merlot Napa ’09
Made by a San Diego Local, Paris Driggers, the fruit is sourced from the Pahlmeyer estate. It has aromas of prunes, boysenberries, roses and violets. It has a leafy herbal and finishes fruity. Can’t wait to see what he does next year.
Niner Petite Sirah Bootjack Ranch Paso Robles ’07
Another one of Amanda Cramer’s wines. Just as Petite Sirah should be, this wine is black and inky in color. I has aromas of black fruits, herbs and tobacco. The body is deceiving firm the color in that it is medium and lean. It finishes with spiced notes, prunes, plums and a flavor of grape.
Adelaida Pinot Noir HMR Estate Vineyrad Paso Robles ’09
From the cooler side of Paso Robles comes a Pinot, yes, a Pinot Noir. It has a cloudy ruby color with aromas of both red and black berries. It has a fuller body with flavors of violets, raspberry and ripe cherry. As you would expect, it comes across as being hot with and underlying dusty character.
Pelerin Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ’09
Aromas of black cherry, cola, violets, mushroom, earth and forest leaves. Soft and silky texture. Finishes with flavors of tobacco and green herbs.
MSH Cellars Merlot Rutherford Napa ’09
Second label of Gamble Vineyards. Green olive aromas with black berry and boysenberry flavors. Rich on the palate and finishes with tart cranberry flavor. Good value.
Rudy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa ’08
Second label of Vonstrasser. Black berry and cherry aromas. Plummy flavor with soft tannins and rounded with bright acidity. Finishes with lush ripe cherry flavors.
Conti Sertoli Salis Sassella Vatellina Italy ’08
Put a huge star on this one! Garnet ruby color with and orange colored rim. Aromas of Cranberry, tart berries and cloves. Light and soft on the palate with an extremely long finish. Layers of dried fruit and baking spices.
Martian Ranch & Vineyard Syrah Santa Ynez Valley ’08
Aromas of black fruits, plums and spiced red fruit. Juicy with a sense of minerality. Finishes with red fruits and lingering acidity followed by a warm flavor of chocolate.
Freestone Chardonnay Sonoma Coast ’09
Freestone vineyards is the Sonoma Coast project of Joseph Phelps. The nose has aromas of butter and cream , with an herbal mint and pear bouquet. It has bright acidity confirmed by the tart flavor of green apple, under-ripe pineapple, grapefruit and lime. It finishes floral with a jasmine aftertaste.
Joseph Phelps Eisrebe Napa
Late harvest and frozen while crushed grapes made with the Scheurebe grape. Aromas of pineapple and honey. Bright on the palate and not cloying. Finishes light and lean with flavors of guava and mango.
Retail 375ml $35
Cold Heaven Viognier Santa Ynez Valley ’09
Wine is produced in neutral barrels and does not go through malolactic fermentation. It is aromatic with honeysuckle and other field flowers jumping out of the glass. Those aromas are followed by peach, apricot and apple. It is full on the palate and finishes with a hint of pink grapefruit and jasmine notes.
Dominique Cornu Macon-Chames “Serreudieres” Burgundy ’09
Biodynamically farmed property. Aromas of lemon custard, green apple, apricot followed by honey. Bright acidity and finishes with white peach, mineral and chalky flavors. Just how Chardonnay should be. Considering this for by the glass at the restaurant.
Melville Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills ’09
All estate fruit, all used French oak barrels and hand picked. Golden color. Very aromatic with aromas of pears and apricots. Fresh on the tongue with a zing of acidity. The fruit is up front with flavors of orange, melon and tangerine zest.
Tally Pinot Noir Arroyo Grande ’09
Magenta in color. Cranberry, black berry and black cherry fruit aromas followed by smoke. Soft tannin with cola and boysenberry flavors followed by a mild acidity. Finishes with an herbal flavor and tart pomegranate flavor.
Les Pensies de Pallus Chinon Rouge Loire ’08
Yum! 100% Cabernet Franc. Black fruit, plum, and cranberry with underlying aromas of minerals and violets. Medium body with a sense of place on the palate. Tastes of stones, cafe with a rich texture.
Vina de Garsa “el Vino Amado IV” Guadalupe Valle Mexico ’07
Red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot and Zinfandel. Aged for 12 months in French and American barrels with 90% being new. Aged 12 more months in the bottle. Aromas of Plums, Grape and red fruits. Very fruit forward with intense aromas of oak. Tannins are firm and still need some time to soften. On the palate I tasted flavors of Black Tea, blue fruit, violets and an oak char. Finishes hot.
Re-tasted two days later with just a cork and the wine really developed. The tannins mellowed out and the oak became better integrated. Decanting is a must, or open the day before.
Dutton Estate Chardonnay Russian River ’09
Just when I thought that they don’t make oaky & buttery chardonnays any more, comes this wine. Aromas of yellow apples and tropical fruits followed by butter, orange and cream. On the palate the fruit is ripe and has a creamy caramel flavor. As for the oak, it is definitely prominent, the finish is that of vanilla and toast.
Keenan Chardonnay Spring Mountain ’09
Now to the other spectrum. This wine is sustainably farmed and does not go through malolactic fermentation. A yellow gold color with aromas of pear, red apple, butter and orange. Full bodied and fresh on the palate. The finish is not extremely long, but finishes with a refreshing stony flavor.
Alysian Pinot Noir “Rochioli Vineyard” Russian River ’09
Gary Farrell sold his label and now has created this project. A master at producing Pinot Noirs, this Red has aromas of roses, cranberry, violets and prunes. There is this nice orange peel and river rock flavor that finishes with ripe pomegranate. Delicious.
Dutton Estate Pinot Noir “Manzana Vineyard” Russian River ’08
This is a 92 point WS wine from a producer more known as a grower and selling off fruit. Here they hold on to the best fruits and produce a PInot with aromas of red cherry, cranberry, fresh fallen leaves and roses. It is plush and full in the mouth with flavors of nuts and minerals. It is not a fruit bomb, has good acidity to round out its structure.
Five Vintners Zinfandel Dry Creek ’08
I really enjoy Zinfandels from Dry Creek because they tend to have more structure. This is no different. Aromas of milk chocolate, black berry and raspberry. Packed with fruit on the nose and in the mouth, it finishes with an oaky influence of cocoa, coffee bean, walnuts and coconut. Great value.
Cavas de Crianza Red Blend Mendoza Argentina ’08
40% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20$ Merlot all in French and American Oak. Ripe fruit aromas of plum and red berries with brown sugar. Toasted oak notes of coconut and vanilla round out this fruit red.
Altamisuqe Malbec Valle de Uco Mendoza Argnetina ’08
The 80 year old vines are hand picked and fermented in 100% new French oak. This powerful Malbec has aromas of red fruit, cola, black berry and plums. It has prickly ripe tannins which get confused with its bright acidity. Decant this wine and the tannins mellow out leaving a pleasant nutty finish.