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.
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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!
February 18th is Global Drink Wine Day. Did you celebrate? I know I did! My friend Kristal stopped by to help. We celebrated by opening a Cab from Chile. How did you celebrate? What did you open? Let me know in the comments below. I highly recommend sipping along while watching as we taste and make small talk about different wines we’ve tried.
Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Syrah by Skinner Vineyards, El Dorado, California.
Dark opaque color. Popping the cork releases a bouquet of dark berries and herbal essence. Eucalyptus and mint comes to mind. As it settles, a heavy tart plum is accompanied by a touch of sweet cherry. Secondary leathery granite terroir quickly makes its presence known. Swirl vigorously and unlock a burst of star anise unmistakable with this greater region. It is particularly reminiscent of a sweet Absinthe and lingers in the background. I love this. As you swirl, the nose turns sweeter.
Heavy, viscous, dark plum dominates the body. Firm acidity and bold tannin go hand in hand. Neither yielding to the other. Body is bone dry. Woody, berry, and earth notes combine to create a soft slightly creamy overtone. One of my favorite Snobs, Guy (@wine.alchemy | FootHillsWino) best describes it as Bacon Fat. Massive, deep rooted, fine grained tannins permeate the entire experience. Transition to finish is fairly seamless as tart plums cede to a relentless dry, dusty tannic grip. Black currants and a smoldering heat are all that is left to see your palate off on its journey to its long dry finish in the desert.
Skinner makes some of the best Syrah in my cellar. I keep several cases of various vintages as reference wines. They serve as fine examples of mature, well built, wines from the Sierra Foothills. I highly recommend Skinner for the intermediate to advanced palate especially. This 2013 is just now coming of age and should show especially well over the next 5 years and beyond.
Well done Skinner!
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 Skinner wines delivered to your doorstep.
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Tonight’s occasion: 2012 Petite Syrah by Loxton Cellars, Sonoma, California
Dark opaque color. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle but quickly comes alive with ripe plum, blackberry, caramel and that all too familiar Sonoma Dirt. A wet mushroom leathery essence. It’s a bit subdued here but still very present. Swirl vigorously to release a burst of dark cherry, anise and hints of green peppers.
A viscous, spicy, slightly acidic attack greets the palate. This rapidly subsides as crisp, clean tannins move in front and center. Hints of oak vanilla soften the blow, temporarily wetting the palate. By the halfway point, the fun and games are over as a dry crisp tannic grip, black currant and cola completely dominate the experience. This marks the transition to a finish, turning even dryer. The palate experiences a brief sweet relief as black currant and cola give way to a long spicy dry finish.
My goodness this is a massive wine yet surprisingly nuanced. It feels very natural, terroir driven and unaltered. I thought it might be a good time to open 2012 vintage but dare I say, it’s still early. Chris Loxton has been quietly and meticulously crafting his life’s work from the vines to the wines. One of my favorite Sonoma winemakers, I’ve been enjoying his wines for at least a decade. Every time I open a bottle, I wonder if I bought enough…
Nicely done Chris Loxton! Cheers Mate!
Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Cloud’s Nest, Mt. Veeder) by Trinchero Family Wines, Napa Valley, California
Dark opaque color. Nose is very shy out of the bottle. Once it breathes a little, you can recognize ripe plums. Sweet dark cherry caramel comes second. Out of the bottle, hints of red licorice and amber wood dot the background. These quickly dissipate as it opens up. Terroir is fairly neutral and if anything, is expressed as a faint woody leather.
Body is perfectly balanced from attack to finish. Ripe, plums, dark cherries and blueberries play nicely on the palate. This conspires with a touch of wood/oak to create a slightly silky, weighted, wet mouth feel. Dusty, fine grained tannins provide an ever present substructure. Eventually the body gives way to expose this dusty tannic underlayment. This marks the transition to finish as dry spicy tannic dust storm engulfs the palate. Black currants, caramel make sporadic appearances as spice and a dry tannic grip wrestle for control. This duel continues with no end in sight for a very long protracted finish.
This wine may not be so old after all. It has had time to integrate. As it opens up, it comes even more alive as opposed to mellowing out. At 13 years old, I feel like this is how it was meant to be enjoyed. Here’s a little secret: if you visit Trinchero, ask for the list of library wines. Explore your favorite wine and how it progresses.
Nicely done Trinchero!