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.

Shop St. Innocent wines on Wine.com

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.

Shop Terre Rouge wines on Wine.com

Reserve: 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon by Sterling Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon by Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga, Napa Valley.

Dark rich color. Upon opening, I am hit with an intense bouquet of floral notes (lavender comes to mind) that quickly vanishes, giving way to intense plum, berry and mineral terroir. As it opens, a sweet cherry vanilla emerges then vanishes. I get the feeling this wine did not appreciate being disturbed this early in its journey. Body is big, heavy, dry, very spicy. None of the nose carries over other than the mineral terroir. Transition to finish is seamless as tannins turn slightly creamy just before infusing the palate with a lasting spicy grip. At 14.9% ABV, this is a big Napa Cab by all accounts. Despite this it still exhibits good balance.

This wine has a long road ahead, on its journey to its fullest expression. I probably won’t be opening anymore of this vintage for another 5 years or so. I look forward to seeing how it develops over time.

This is a well built wine.🍷😁👌🏽

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 Sterling wines delivered to your doorstep.

Shop Sterling wines on Wine.com

Wine Review: 2013 Reserve Shiraz by Davey Family

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Reserve Shiraz (D Block) by Davey Family, McLaren Vale, Australia.

Deep inky color. Big, fruit forward nose rich with plum and sweet cherry. There’s a hint of leather towards the back. The plum carries forward into a big structured moderately acidic slightly dry body. Not as fruit forward as the nose would suggest. A hint of minerality. The finish is even more massive with boat loads of tannic grip that fight for dominance eventually ceding to a long lasting spice. This wine is just now becoming approachable. It is a solid wine now, but given more time to fully develop, I can see it turning into a real masterpiece. I’d say 5-10 years from now. During my recent trip to Australia, I found that on the whole, wines from this region were top notch. This one is no exception. If you are looking for a real taste of Australia here in the US, head over to @totalwine and pick up one of these. This is a fine example of a Shiraz from Australia. 🍷😁👌🏽