2016 Syrah by William Church, Yakima Valley, Washington

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Syrah (Red Willow Vineyard) by William Church and Tinte Cellars, Yakima Valley, WA

Dark inky color. Thick intense nose greets with wet slate gravel, ripe plum and blackberries. A bright sweet citrus lingers in the background sort of like Meyer lemon. Very pretty nose. Swirling vigorously intensifies the whole experience. As it opens up, a faint anise makes an appearance in the distant background.

Body greets with a bright acidity. This quickly transitions to a thick, slightly creamy body. It is fairly dry. Tannins are surprisingly restrained, providing just enough structure without dominating the experience. That wet, gravel carries over alongside slightly ripe plum and blackberry. A subtle burst of oak further softens the edges. A bold spice heat emerges towards the back marking the transition to finish characterized by black currant, a moderate dusty tannic grip and spice tingle. After an hour the anise dominates. Wet gravel develops an unmistakable old wet wood leather and hints of tobacco so faint you’d likely miss it.

I just love how Syrah can be so gentle in this region. This winemaker has done a fantastic job with this one. It is far more interesting than a Syrah should be. A pleasant, multi dimensional, interesting interpretation of this otherwise monolithic varietal. I picked this up at Tinte Cellars (@tintecellars) while exploring the Woodinville outside Seattle. Now I understand why I absolutely had to bring it back with me.

Nicely done folks!

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2016 Zinfandel by Madroña, El Dorado, California

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Zinfandel by Madroña (@madronavineyards), El Dorado, CA

Dark semi opaque color. Nose is a little shy and restrained especially for a Zinfandel from this region. Tart plum skins, blackberry and a faint soft oak vanilla. Swirling vigorously intensifies the nose and unlocks a gentle granite leather l, anise and cola. Great sense of place. Classy expression.

Body is balanced from front to back. Slightly restrained. Soft gentle mouth feel with slightly ripe plums, dark cherries and granite leather. Good unobtrusive structure is further softened by an almost unnoticeable oak vanilla. Midway through, a firm spice heat emerges and dominates the palate. This marks the transition to finish characterized by gentle, dusty tannic grip, cola, and spice. What a masterfully crafted Zinfandel. Very classy. After a couple hours the grip intensifies along with the mineral leather and bitter cola. Love it!

It’s so easy for Zinfandel from this region to get out of control if not way off balance with overbearing fruit, pepper spice and residual sugar. This Zinfandel gives the palate space to indulge and take it all in, its nuance, character and sense of place. This expression stood out the most for me when I visited the Estate.

Great wines Madroña!

2016 Tempranillo by Newsom Vineyards, Texas High Plains

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Tempranillo by Newsom Vineyards, Texas High Plains.

Dark, rich semi-opaque color. Firm nose with crisp tannins in the form of dry, slightly ripe plum and subtle licorice all wrapped in a slightly mineral leather. Swirling vigorously adds hints of cherry cola, more star anise and leather turns dusty, not unlike decomposed granite. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Sierra Foothills here in California, one of my favorite regions, albeit more restrained. Nice.

For a Tempranillo, the body is crisp, dry, restrained. It fairly mild mannered. Plum skins and gentle citrus greet the palate. It is balanced front to back. Tart plums and dark cherries provide a crisp, lean, restrained mouth feel over a firm but unobtrusive structure. Faint hints of licorice, citrus, vanilla and sand leather round out the body. This marks the transition to finish marked by a clean, crisp firm tannic grip and a fairly bold spice heat leaving the palate dry and lips parched shut.

This is a classy Tempranillo. Well executed. It is uncommon to see one this well behaved. It leaves me wondering how much of this expression is the winemaker and how much is the region and terroir. Fascinating. I look forward to learning more during my upcoming trip to TX. Nicely done!

Thank you for sharing Angela!

Explore more Newsom Vineyards Wines on WineSnob.

2016 Pinot Noir by Reichwage Winery, Sonoma Coast

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir by Reichwage Winery, Sebastopol CA.

Big bold intense color for a Pinot. Nose is shy out of the bottle. You can definitely pick up hints of that all too familiar Sonoma dirt. Nose develops a little more weight, berries and ripe cherries as it opens up. Damp woody dirt and red vines licorice move forward. Nose is very subtle and gentle.

Body is not as big as the color suggests but very much in line with the nose. Subtle, gentle, smooth expression. Ripe cherries greet the palate with a hint of acidity more in the form of a sweet citrus that is quickly smothered by a full, plush, soft mouth feel. Transition to finish is seamless leaving the palate slightly dry under an enduring spice warmth.

This Pinot is showing nicely right now. It is clean, well executed. It feels like a classic Pinot Noir, subtle, nuanced, smooth and balanced. It channels the terroir very subtly, gracefully retaining it’s sense of place. Now I’m curious to see how the 2018 vintage is showing now. That should be an interesting vintage right about now. Stay tuned!

Nicely done Max Reichwage 🍷😁👌🏽

You can read more from my exploring of Max Reichwage’s wines here.

2016 Grand Vin De Bordeaux by Chateau La Tour De Mons, Margaux

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Grand Vin De Bordeaux by Chateau La Tour De Mons, Margaux, France.

Dark opaque plum color. Nose is a bit shy, with notes of slightly ripe dark plums, hints of ripe cherries, damp wood and that all too familiar fine, sedimentary, river silt. Swirling vigorously releases more intense leather and a touch of anise. It’s hard to go wrong with Margaux.

Body is precisely balanced from front to back. Dry plums carry over albeit with a little restraint, lightening the body and providing firm, crisp tannic structure. A precise almost unnoticeable oak softens the tannins and intensifies the fruit essence ever so slightly. Subtle anise and wet wood eventually take over the stage just before handing over to an emerging gentle spice heat. This marks the transition to finish as the body fades away leaving behind harmonious melange of very fine grained dusty tannic grit and a warm spice.

This highly coveted often overlooked sub-region of Bordeaux is best known for its big, bold, dry, age worthy wines and characteristic terroir driven expression. They are typically hard to come by and command a premium when you go find them. This Margaux is a fine example of what a Bordeaux is. I put out a WineSnob Alert on this wine several months ago when it was available for just under $40 – a steal for what it is. It lives up to every other Margaux in my cellar and I look forward to following this vintage over the next decade.

Tres bien fait! 🍷😘👌🏽

You can read more on French wines featured on WineSnob.

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2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Moonspell) by Bergevin Lane

Tonight’s Occasion: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Moonspell) by Bergevin Lane Vineyards, Walla Walla Valley, WA.

Dark intense semi opaque color. Big nose out of the bottle with dark plum filling the air immediately. As it opens up, the plum ripens a little, adding ripe dark cherry, a touch of wet sedimentary soil and wood creates the essence of damp forest floor. You’d likely miss it, but a very faint honey beeswax emerges towards the back. This wine is interesting and shows good complexity on the nose.

Body shows good structure and balance from front to back. Being from Walla Walla, tannins show good restraint. The milder climate has a taming effect on this easily bold varietal. Body is overall lighter than your average Cab. Not as chewy or jammy. For a cab, I’d describe it as medium bodied. This allows terroir notes to peak through ever so slightly in the form of a subtle mineral leather and cola. Blackberry and a crisp caramel (neutral oak) are prominent throughout. Transition to finish is seamless, ending with a slightly dry dusty tannic grit. If this wine is in fact 14.6% ABV, I’d say the winemaker has pulled a tricky balancing act. It is barely noticeable. I’d put it at about 13.8% ABV. It’s a pleasing, easy sipper.

This is a good, well built wine with enough complexity and nuance to keep the intermediate to advanced palate interested, without being overly abstract to the general wine audience. I think this winemaker has done a great job.

Head over to Casemates and order your own case for just $139. You won’t be disappointed! 🍷😁👌🏽

2016 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley) by Dierberg * StarLane

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley) by Dierberg * StarLane, Santa Barbara County, CA.

Deep intense color. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with notes of raspberry, blackberry, a touch of cherry cola, licorice and damp wood leather with an underlying herbal suggestion almost eucalyptus like. It’s very faint and hard to discern. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of berries and cherry cola, over and over and over again… Ugghhh.

Body is light, crisp, balanced from front to back. This wine eases onto the palate, very gently, with mere suggestions of faint dark cherry and plum skins. Not too ripe, not too tart, just right, a mere tannic suggestion. There is a masterfully integrated crisp neutral oak you would easily miss. This all combines to form a supple, creamy underlayment. It has a nicely integrated mouth feel. A warm, firm but restrained spice emerges and persists over the palate. Transition to finish is seamless as the melange of whispers and suggestions slowly fade away leaving the palate slightly moist, under a gentle crisp tannic grip and gentle, warm spice tingle.

The 2014 vintage is one of my all-time favorite Pinot Noirs. This 2016 vintage falls right in line. It is an absolutely gorgeous wine sure to keep the focused, advanced palate engaged even entranced. A very sophisticated, nuanced expression, the Dierberg SMV Pinot holds a special place in my heart and Cellar. I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough of it. This is what you get when wine comes first before everything else.

I have to go now…

Read more about my first visit to Dierberg * StarLane here.

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 Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep

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2016 Proprietor’s Blend by CG DiArie

Today’s occasion: 2016 Proprietor’s Blend by CG DiArie, Shenandoah Valley, CA.

Tonight we are again lost in the hills, off the beaten path.

Clear intense ruby red color. Nose is a little shy with notes of plum and butterscotch. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of its granite underpinnings. Ahhhh. Like home. This all too familiar essence gets me every time. It’s a nice mix of dusty granite mineral and earthy leather. As it breathes, a gentle star anise emerges further asserting its origins. The nose warms. Red berries dot the backdrop as the butterscotch falls backstage. I could sniff this all day.

A bright attack greets hand in hand with thin, crisp tannins in the form of dark plum. Both quickly fall to the floor, creating thin unobtrusive crisp structure. Subtle, crisp, clean oak makes an appearance, ushering dark plums and dark cherries across the stage. Mineral leather starts to wet the palate. This marks the transition to finish. This conspires with the plum to create a subtle cola eventually ending in a grippy, slightly moist palate. Spice tingle and heat win this battle finale. A slight drool may ensue.

What makes this wine even more fascinating is the winemaker’s story. It is a masterful blend, well crafted, balanced. A polished representation of the region. At the 10yr mark it should be even more magnificent! I need to get a few more for the long haul…

Nicely done Chaim, Elisheva, Sivan and the entire crew at CG DiArie!

2016 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) by Panther Creek Cellars

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!

2016 Pinot Noir (Grey – Glacier) by Ventisqero, Chile

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Grey – Glacier) by Ventisqero, Leyda Valley, Chile.

Dark semi opaque color. Out of the bottle you are greeted by a rich aromatic nose with notes of ripe plums, and an earthy leather reminiscent of loamy sedimentary terroir and wet wood. Swirl vigorously to release a burst or sweet cherries and an even more intense leather. Hints of mushrooms and black licorice linger in the background. What a beautiful nose.

Body greets with a slightly acidic attack. This is quickly smothered by a silky, velvety body of slightly tart plum and a touch of oak. This lends a mouth watering character. Subtle tannins provide a low level foundation and structure. No sooner than it arrives, the body quickly fades away quickly transitioning to a thin whispy silky sheets in the wind. This is where the previously understated tannins take over, eventually leaving the palate slightly parched and under a firm but gentle tannic grip. Random tinglings of spice punctuate the finish.

First order of business when I land in Chile is to visit this Winemaker. I absolutely love their work. Very well crafted, artisan wines. This Pinot punches several classes above its weight. Like every one of their wines I’ve tried, it makes no compromises.

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 Ventisquero wines delivered to your doorstep.

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