Today’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Schindler Vineyard – Willamette Valley, OR) by Panther Creek Cellars, Woodinville, WA.
Rich ruby color. Out of the bottle, nose is a little shy with notes of damp slate, and a touch of ripe berries. Swirl vigorously to unlock bursts of sweet cherry, damp leather consistent with sedimentary soils, and a crisp caramel consistent with neutral oak so faint, you’d likely miss it.
Body is balanced right from the start. Light, bright but restrained acidity goes hand-in-hand with thin, crisp tannins reminiscent of dark cherry. This provides a measured amount of structure and good balance. Oak renders a silky mouth feel while minerality and fruit conspire to create dry, tart, slightly bitter cola-like essence upon the palate. This marks the transition to finish as the palate wrestles between dry and moist eventually ending dry with a subtle spicy tingle. Wet rock mineral essence permeates the entire experience. A subtle but notable star anise becomes more pronounced as it opens up over 1-2hrs.
Of their entire lineup of amazing Pinot Noir, I can see why this stood out the most – Terroir. It is terroir driven, front and center, start to finish. This is the mark of a great winemaker – a mere costodian of the grapes, allowing the vines to fully express themselves so intricately. At 100 cases, this is precisely the kind of wine I obsess over. I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the greater Seattle area.
Nicely done Panther Creek!
Tonight we celebrate International Tannat Day – April 13th. I wasn’t tracking this date on my calendar so it kind of snuck up on me. I went back into the cellar and couldn’t find any Tannat to review for you tonight. So my last resort was to look through my archives and notes for any Tannat I have looked at before and I found two I had not yet posted. They are both by the same winemaker, Pisano from Uruguay. This was my first time exploring wines from this part of the world and I was thoroughly impressed. I did go back and buy more of the Reserva for long term review, however I must have opened it at some point. I guess it was too good to resist…LOL.
2015 Tannat Reserva
2015 Tannat Reserva Personal de la Familia, by Pisano from Uruguay. Unlike the last Tannat I opened from the same winery, this one is built big and strong. It is clearly made for the long haul. Laying this down for a while won’t hurt it. It reads like a classic Barolo or big Barbaresco with deep inky rich colors. The nose is prominent with dirt, and a hint of oak and berry. The nose quickly fades, giving way to a big body of notable acidity. Once opened up the finish turns buttery with lasting spice and tannin. Tannat is an interesting varietal. I only became aware of it mere weeks ago. Like Cab Franc, it is rare to find a single varietal Tannat. It takes personal passion to commit to it. love it! Go Uruguay!!! 🇺🇾😁🍷🍷🍷
2017 Tannat, Pisano, Rio De Los Pajaros, Uruguay. This one came as an interesting suggestion by my winesnob friend Nikki. We’ve been talking a lot about obscure varietals lately. She had been sampling this one and suggested I take a look at Tannat and what folks were doing with it. You know I still can’t get past the fact that I am enjoying a wine from Uruguay. It’s amazing! I’m tasting an honest wine. It’s well made. I cannot fault it. If this is representative of the varietal and the region, then I fully intend to explore it further. We are really living in the the Golden Age of wine, viticulture and oenology. It’s fascinating. There is so much good wine everywhere and it is so accessible. I feel very fortunate. This one has a nose of caramel and oak, balanced medium body and tannic finish. This varietal reminds me of others like Cab Frank, Touriga and Aglianico. They are not particularly complex but what they do, they do exceedingly well. I love it! Go Uruguay!!! 🇺🇾😁🍷🍷🍷
Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Minuit (French for Midnight) by DeLille Cellars, Woodinville, WA
70% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley
Deep dark as midnight. Out of the bottle, nose is slightly shy, warm, with a healthy dose of ripe plums and blueberries which only intensify when swirled. A faint caramel butterscotch lingers in the back. Terroir is expressed in the form of a dusty silty leather, so subtle it could be missed. A faint anise makes an appearance in the distance. I briefly picked up very faint herbs. I like it! This is clearly a Malbec, very nicely complemented by Cabernet Sauvignon. After about an hour, the Anise is more intense and pronounced.
Body is absolutely gorgeous! Not as heavy as the color and nose would suggest. Balanced from front to back. It begins with a suggestion of acidity while ripe plums and blueberries rush in to balance it out. Slightly restrained tannins provide great structure while a very clean oak expression softens the edges, creating a clean plush mouth feel. This act quickly vanishes, giving way to thin blackberry and cola as it transitions to a finish characterized by crisp, dry tannic grip and a warm spice that descends down into the chest. There is a subtle freshness rendered on the palate like a mint-eucalyptus. My lips a left dry, yet moist. After an hour the tannins turn dusty and this texture permeates the entire experience.
Now I remember what caught me about this wine when I visited them not long ago. Very nicely done DeLille!
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 DeLille wines delivered to your doorstep.
Shop DeLille wines on Wine.com
Today’s occasion: 2019 P.C.H. Rosé of Pinot Noir (Central Coast) by Pali Wine Co.
Some of the best Pinot I’ve had comes from the Central Coast. Light, crisp, subtle and nuanced. One of my favorite winemakers I track in my cellar is Pali Wine Co. Particularly for their signature Pinot Noir. I love how they channel the region at large. So while I may not indulge in Rosé very often, I had to try their Rosé of Pinot Noir – and I am happy to report that it does not disappoint.
Crisp bright nose with a hint of leather, bright crisp berries, touch of strawberry and a whiff of clean crisp oak. This nose fully translates into the body, bright, dry, strawberry, subtle oak and leather conspire to create a soft, rounded mouth feel. This complements a slight acidic punch very well. The whole experience fades away nicely with little drama.
It’s a great Rosé for the intermediate to advanced palate. It’s interesting to see how the subtlety of this varietal drives this Rosé’s expression especially with the subtle earth notes and berries typical of the region at large. You don’t get that often in this style of wine. It is very reminiscent of Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir – which as it turns out is precisely where the grapes are from.
To the entire crew at Pali Wine Co. 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 Pali wines delivered to your doorstep.
Shop Pali wines on Wine.com
Tonight’s occasion: 2011 Pinot Noir (Red Birds – Sonoma Coast) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma, California
Out of the bottle notes of damp forest floor and ripe cherries. As it opens up, the leather and earth notes only intensify. Dark cherry turns plummy. Swirling unlocks subtle bursts of sweet cherry cola. A very faint black licorice emerges in the distance. You’d almost miss it. I absolutely love the way terroir is expressed here. That signature Sonoma dirt really shines through and I cannot get enough of it!
Body has really come of age. It has had time to beautifully integrate. A soft balanced attack quickly ushers a smooth silky body. Light dark plum and berry essence carries over. Leather notes are equally represented. Crisp, restrained tannins provide great structure without dominating the palate. Body and finish are one with a linear fade. As it tapers off, notes of cola re-emerge as tannins reach out, gently clasping the palate rendering it slightly parched. But the real victor here is a gentle spice which grows with a subtle intensity after the finish.
I have been following Roger Roessler’s wine for well over a decade. Their all small batch production offering reads like a compendium of Pinot Noir from all up and down the pacific coast and makes for a great study for the curios and enlightened palate. There are many reasons we picked Roger Roessler Wines as our 2020 Winemaker of the year. This wine is one of them.
To the entire crew at Roger Roessler Wines, thank you for the great wines all these years!
Tonight’s occasion: 2012 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) by Easton (@terrerougeeastonwines), Plymouth, Amador, California.
Deep dark clear ruby red color. Pouring right out of the bottle fills the air with crisp plum. Closer inspection reveals this Zinfandel’s faint raisin/berry underpinnings and a very unmistakable star anise, a hallmark of this region’s terroir. The nose then recedes until swirled again. Hints of wet wood leather linger in the back. This is surprisingly restrained for a Zin
Body is precisely balanced from front to back. Clean crisp and measured. Plum turns more ripe dark cherry, wet wood and oak become more refined crisp caramel. Crisp tannins provide precise frame as they quickly turn buttery, and render the palate moist. Mouth feel is clean, light. Transition to finish is characterized by subtle black currant as the body fades gently, revealing a gentle spice, moist lips and slight dusty tannic grit.
This Winemaker’s work is some of the best I’ve seen yet. This zinfandel is no exception and should easily stand as a reference, an example of everything Zinfandel could be, not just in this region but California and the world at large. NOW! is the time to indulge in his work.
Thank you Bill, Jane and the entire crew at Terre Rouge Easton wines for bringing us world class wines.
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.
Shop Terre Rouge wines on Wine.com
2015 Terra (Bordeaux style blend) – Don Luis by La Cetto, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico.
Out of the bottle an unmistakable, crisp plum and caramel which as it settles, develops more of a cedarwood note. Ripe dark cherries emerge eventually, as tart plum falls back. Faint hints of anise make an appearance along with a fine dusty soil you’d almost miss. Notes are firm, crisp, clear and fairly delineated.
Body is all business, with a bold albeit brief and restrained acidic attack. Dark tart plum quickly rushes over the entire palate setting a big broad stage. Wood notes add a slightly, soft, silky mouth feel. This has the effect of wetting the palate ever so slightly. Terroir is almost neutral if it weren’t for the dusty soil essence that goes almost unnoticeable. Bold, dark plummy tannins add structure and weight, dominating the entire experience front to back. This soon washes away leaving behind black currant, hints of licorice and dry dusty tannins that slowly parch the lips while at the same time wetting the palate. A delayed spice ignites and rises up from the chest.
A little over a year ago I looked at my first Mexican wine. It was a Nebbiolo by this winemaker – LA Cetto. It immediately caught my attention. Not only was I unaware of Mexican wines, I was impressed with the execution. Tonight I have the pleasure of looking at one of their signature founder’s reserve wines and I am floored. It is everything I expected. This Bordeaux style blend is crisp, bold, dry, faithful to the style, and representative of the region. At 6 years it is clearly still young. While it may show very well now, it will surely be a beauty at 10-15yrs.
Some wines are humbling to taste. Bien hecho Don Luis / La Cetto. Ha sido un placer.
More on Don Luis wines here
Previous look at this winemaker
Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Aglianico (Heringer Estates, Clarksburg) by Passaggio Wines
The color is mesmerizing. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with subtle hints of dried tart fruit. Swirl vigorously to unlock crisp plum, slightly ripe cherries and a wet loamy soil and driftwood underlayment typical of Clarksburg. Distant floral notes I can’t pinpoint, dance in the background. Gorgeous!
Body is crisp. Mildly acidic. That tart fruit carries forward, immediately accompanied by an unmistakable clean, crisp, refined caramel. Crisp, clean tannins provide a sparing framework without dominating. This is a massive beast of a varietal and I have never seen it tamed like this. Terroir is almost neutral. Transition to finish is seamless and ends in a subtle spice heat while those restrained tannins finally show themselves in the form of a long, dry enduring grip.
This winemaker took a chance with this beast of a varietal and I think it paid off. She also has another Aglianico made in the more typical/traditional style. I highly recommend getting them both together. They make a great study of this grape’s broad potential.
Cindy is a small artisan winemaker to follow closely. Her wines are all amazing if not head-scratching at at times.
Nicely done Cindy! 🍷😁👌🏽
Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Mailbox (Red Mountain) by Glacier View Cellars (@glacierviewcellars), Woodinville, WA
Deep rich semi opaque color. Out of the bottle nose is a little restrained with primary notes of a tight crisp tart plum, secondary notes of anise, very distant woody tertiary notes and a honeysuckle so faint it likely goes unnoticed. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of nectar-like sweet dark cherry. Terroir is almost neutral but for a slightly wet sedimentary essence. I like it!
Dark plum turns slightly sweet and ripe on the attack, along with a burst of acidity. Soon after they agree to play, a healthy dose of spice makes an appearance. The three permeate the entire experience through the finish. A measured dose of tannins provides great structure without dominating. As it opens up, a subtle bouquet of spice notes linger. A measured amount of oak emerges to render a melange of various background notes. Hours later the finish is dominated by black currants anise and firm tannic grip. This Bordeaux style blend is young yet showing so beautifully. I can’t help but wonder what it would look like in another 5-10 years.
I stumbled upon Glacier View Cellars through casual mention while out exploring the local wine scene in the greater Seattle a couple weekends ago. Stephanie, Owner/Winemaker so accurately embodies what I live to explore – the small artisan winemaker off the beaten path. Her style is mature beyond her years, her execution has a certain precision and restraint to it.
Nicely done Stephanie!
Tonight’s occasion: 2017 The Red (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, California
Composition: 32% Syrah, 32% Tempranillo, 27% Malbec, 9% Grenache.
Out of the bottle the nose is filled with a dusty Cedarwood with a hint of redwood. This subsides a little but remains prominent throughout. It’s oak underpinnings is revealed ever so slightly while it eventually turns to black licorice as it opens up. I expect this from a terroir driven wine of this region however not as a primary note. Ripe plums and dark cherries take a secondary stage. An almost oily granite minerality lingers in the back. Another distant floral note eludes me. Interesting.
Body greets with a dash of acidity. Ripe plums, cherries, berries blue and straw quickly usher the palate in followed by a dash of oak. This immediately sets a fuller, more tamed stage. Slightly thin, crisp tannins provides good structure and balance while remaining largely in the shadows. Body as a slightly whispy mouth feel. Interesting, considering how massive this wine is otherwise. At 14.7% ABV this very well balanced and restrained. Transition to finish starts with dry tannins and a gentle but intense spice heat moving to the front. The duel is quick, as both quickly settle for a truce, leaving the lips parched shut and tingling.
This wine was made in the Vineyards. The winemaker shows great stewardship of their transformation. The hallmark of a great winemaker.
Nicely done Naggiar!