Wine Review: 2013 Pinot Noir (Shea Vineyard) by St. Innocent

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Pinot Noir (Shea Vineyard) by St. Innocent, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Deep dark clear ruby color. Lovely floral bouquet with bright berries and a hint of caramel. Swirl vigorously to intensify the caramel. Terroir is more on the mineral side of the spectrum as it is typically the case with this region.

Body is more plum than berry. Mild acidity coupled with moderate spice make it a lively affair front to back. Transition to finish is seamless and capped by dry tannic grip and spicy tingle. A touch of minerality and black currant permeates the entire experience, giving it good crisp structure. As it opens up, it becomes increasingly evident that this wine, while very approachable, is still young, despite being a 7 year old vintage.

I’m not the least surprised. Shea Vineyard produces some coveted fruit. Only skilled winemakers get to make wine from such grapes. The last Pinot I had from these grapes was by Roger Roessler Wines. This is well made wine that certainly brings this winemaker to one’s attention. Nicely done!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have St. Innocent wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2015 Octagon by Barboursville

Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Octagon by Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia.

Dark rich color. Nose is characterized by caramel, warm wet earth, blackberries and tart plums. As it opens up it develops notes of coffee and cocoa.

Body is well balanced, has good structure and composition. With every sip, you are greeted with fine grained tannins, a touch of acidity accompanied by creamy tannins gives it a full mouthfeel. A nice leather permeates the entire experience along with black currants. Finish starts off smooth and creamy. As it opens up an increasingly dry tannic grip emerges, reminding you this wine is still young, built for the long haul. I am tickled by the fact that I am sipping such a precise, quality wine from Virginia.

This is a dry wine on all accounts. Made in the classic old world Bordeaux style. It is surprisingly accurate. Well done folks!

Few things please me like a winemaker/winery maintains an extensive library of their wines and makes them readily available to any wine enthusiasts who wish to explore their wines. Barboursville does an amazing job of this. If you visit the product page for this wine, scroll to the bottom, you can see an extensive library available for purchase. I cannot overstate how awesome this is for any WineSnob!

https://www.bbvwine.com/wine-shop/octagon

Tech Sheet

2015 Barboursville Octagon

Fermentation:  6-10 days on the skins in stainless steel
Maceration: 15 days
Composition: Merlot 50%, Cabernet Franc 20%, Petit Verdot 30%
Aging: 12 months French oak barriques, new 40%, used 60%
Analysis: Alcohol, 13.5%
Residual Sugar:
0.0%
Total Acidity: 0.57%

 

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Barboursville wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2017 Tajinaste Tradicional (Valle de la Orotava) by Bodega Tajinaste

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Tajinaste Tradicional (Valle de la Orotava) by Bodega Tajinaste, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Deep brooding ruby color. Thick intense earthy nose with a punch of old wet driftwood, alluvial soil and volcanic mineral rock. In the back is a subtle sweet cherry and cranberry. I like this… Body is light, bright, crisp and surprisingly restrained. Mild acid goes hand-in-hand with mild tannins. Some leather carries over. Blackberry and black currants quickly dominate the palate albeit with restraint. Smooth transition to finish adds a slightly creamy tannic grip and hint of spice. The nose is simply amazing and ever present throughout the entire experience.

I went to college in Spain which is where I was first introduced to wine so I am familiar with the typically brash masculine expression in Spanish wines. However this one is certainly an exception. It is very approachable, enjoyable and interesting. I will be adding it to my cellar. It should make a fine example and representative of the Canary Islands. Bien hecho amigos!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Tajinaste wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir (Babcock Vineyard) by Pali Wine Co

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Babcock Vineyard) by Pali Wine Co), Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast.

Intense ruby color. Bright nose with plenty of cherry, hint of sweet cherry and smooth almost butterscotch caramel. Swirl vigorously to unlock even more caramel. A slight wet sand mineral undertone lingers in the back.

This is a classic central coast Pinot Noir. A fine example at that. Body is very restrained. Medium to light with good mild acid on the attack, moderate buttery tannins create a clean, rounded mouth feel. Good separation keeps your attention without straying too far off balance. A tart blackberry slowly take over the transition to a slightly dry and spicy finish.

This is a one-time limited production using grapes from a coveted Vineyard. Exactly the kind of wine I love exploring. What I like about this winemaker most is their wines are true and representative of their origins. No two are the same. They present a great opportunity to explore varied regions and styles of Pinot. I look forward to exploring more of their wines. Well done Aaron and all of the lively crew at Pali Wine Co! 🍷😁👌🏽

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Pali wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon by MV Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Reserve) by MV (Miller Vineyards), Fair Play, California.

Last year our search for Winemaker Of The Year took us on an unexpected journey. We toured various California wine country but none left a an indelible mark like the Sierra Foothills. We were on the road almost every weekend of the year and tasting several times a week. We encountered so many amazing winemakers toiling away at their life’s passion. About half a dozen emerged as hands down in the class of their own, not just on a local or California stage but on a world stage. MV Vineyards was perhaps the most notable in this respect.

Tonight we look at a Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a distillation of what a big California Cab is all about. A true artisan work of art by a craftsman with absolutely no compromise and every possible attention to detail. Batches are so small you will never find this masterpiece anywhere else but in the little cottage at the end of the road in Fair Play.

Dark inky color. Big, warm, intense nose with caramel and marshmallows which quickly dissipate once it opens up. Subtle plum, blackberries, bramble bush and wild herbs take center stage. Terroir is very restrained an leans on the mineral sandstone side of the spectrum.

Body is measured. Well balanced from front to back. A measured dose of blackberries and plum carry over while retaining its dry overall posture. Herbs and wild bush remain in the back while bold well structured fine grained tannins take over the transition to a firm but restrained finish, capped with a healthy dose of spice. Simply amazing!

You cannot speak of California Wines and not have immersed yourself in art like this. This is the frontier, the leading edge of what made California wines what they are today. You will never find a corporate mass production wine that comes even close to this. This, like the others we have reviewed on here are worth a trip to California and the Sierra Foothills. Well done Mr. & Mrs. Miller!

Reserve: 2013 Syrah (Les Cotes de L’ouest) by Terre Rouge

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Syrah (Les Cotes de L’ouest) by Terre Rouge, Plymouth, California.

Dark rich intense color. Nose is restrained with gentle notes of plum, dark berries and hint of sweet cherry. Terroir is tastefully expressed through subtle wet sandy leather. Once opened up, a hint of mushrooms emerges when swirled.

Body is balanced from front to back, attack to finish. Mild acidity opens up the palate which is quickly filled in with plums, dark cherries and the faintest hint of dried apricot all wrapped in massive, heavy tannin. A seamless transition to finish characterized by an ever tightening tannic grip resulting in parched lips sealed shut with a spicy tingle.

Terre Rouge is our 2019 Winemaker Of The Year. This is their flagship wine, intended to introduce the wider consumer audience to their exquisite small batch wines. It is a head scratcher of a wine because it stands head and shoulders above most reserve Syrah I’ve had. It presents an incredible value at a mind boggling price point. It embodies what a classic California Syrah is all about. I keep a case on hand as a baseline comparison whenever reviewing a Syrah and I can say many Syrah have fallen to this humble wine. Well done Bill, Jane and the entire Terre Rouge Easton Team! 🍷😁👌🏽

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Terre Rouge wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Guest Review: 2018 Red Blend by Cruse Wine Company

Guest Review: Cruse Wine Company Monkey Jacket Red Blend, 2018.

The Cruse Wine Company is operated by 2018’s San Francisco Chronicle Winemaker of the Year, Michael Cruse. He’s been called the Tarantino of Sparkling, but has a so much more to offer, and in such an early company. The company is based in Petaluma California,the newest AVA of California created in 2018. When I saw this wine, and its funky combination of grapes I knew it deserved a taste. Cruse Wine Co: Monkey Jacket is composed of 51% Valdiguié, the remainder coming from Carignan, Syrah, and red field blend from the North Coast of California.

The goal of this wine was to present the amazing and high-quality wines from California. Michael Cruse and his team lived up to this endeavor. I absolutely loved this wine, and plan to check out more from this producer. This wine has a strong yet complex bouquet of cherries and tobacco. It’s a hazy colored ruby, but don’t be deceived! The taste culminates a slight fizz from the sulphites, juicy red fruit, a low tannic profile and a mouthwatering experience.

🌟: 9/10, 2 – Preference, 3 Complexity, 1 Pairability, 1 Convenience, 2 Drinkability
💲: 28.00 USD
🥐: It drinks closer to a pinot noir, so I would pair this with poultry but its versatility makes it great with a mandarin chicken salad tossed in poppyseed dressing.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Cruse Wine Company wines delivered to your doorstep.

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About our guest


Ethan Turner is author of today’s Guest Review. All the way from Scottsdale Arizona, Ethan is a certified Level 1 Sommelier actively working in the service industry where he gets to sharpen his palate on a daily basis. In his own words.

“Going to a wine shop is like going to a library. Each wine has its own story, flavor profile, and shelf life. Some wines are popular and become classics, some wines are trendy and go out of style within a few years. That makes it really hard to find the right wine. I love helping find what’s perfect for them.”

You can follow Ethan’s journey via his Instagram page @ineedsommehelp