Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir 2011 Monterey: Pinot with punch @BelleGlosMeiomi @wtso

belle glos las alturas 2011For our first Wines Til Sold Out (wtso) purchase, we selected the Belle Glos duo of Pinot Noir.  The first one we had was last night’s selection of the Las Alturas which is from Monterey County, just southwest of San Francisco.  I’m a bit picky with my Pinot selections as I’m not a fan of either old world Pinot (earthy, floral), or much of the Carneros region Pinot (still earthy).  I’ve had a lot of success with the Russian River Valley area, but not much experience with Monterey County, so this was a calculated risk.

The Belle Glos brand is from the Wagner family and Caymus fame, so you’ve go to believe that they know what they’re doing.  I can assure you that they do as this is a one real bottle of wine.  This is not a light Pinot, but what I’ll call a Napa Cab drinker’s Pinot.  It’s fruit forward, balanced, and just truly delicious.  Cheers.

Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – Worth the Wait @corisonwinery @cathycorison

Corison 04 CabOn our last Napa trip, we had the pleasure of visiting Corison Winery during crush and also meet Cathy, the owner and winemaker.  In their working “cellar”, we tasted a vertical of their Cabs and couldn’t believe how wonderful the 2004 held up.  We’re not necessarily patient in letting our collection age, so we end up drinking many of our wines when they are young.  So, in an effort to try something with a little age, we picked up this library selection from the stellar 2004 year and are very happy that we did.

This Cab was clearly a very fruit forward wine in its early days, but now has that matured and subdued raisin/prune(ness) to it with a little plum too and a very lasting finish.  We still have a 2006 Kronos Cab from Corison too and will try to keep it until 2014, but no promises.

Some pics below of our visit (and maybe a little inspiration to plan a return trip).  Cheers.

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Lava Vine Cabernet Franc 2008 – A Summer Cab Franc? @lavavine

I love visiting Napa – and Lava Vine is now one of the reasons for that enjoyment.  You can tell that they love their brand, and their brand is great wine in a fun atmosphere.  That translates into their wine and they deliver a whimsical experience in many of their offerings. From a Charbono (no, that’s not a typo or a relation to Sonny & Cher or their offspring) which was an inky, deep juice to this Cab Franc…which again wasn’t what I expected.

When I think of drinking a Cab Franc, it’s usually 30 degrees outside and I’m hunkering down with the heat on.  I’m not sure what inspired me, but we opened this 2008 Cab Franc on Friday night (in the middle of June) and it was delightful.  I noticed the color on the pour to be a lot lighter than I expected and the wine itself was too.  No big bananas foster here – more of a ripe raspberry mixed with stone fruit.  We are lucky enough to be in the Lava Vine case club, so I now have an excuse to work our way through our March shipment…have to make room for the upcoming October one – – and there are probably some other unexpected gems there too.  Cheers.

Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Gave me the juice to blog again (thanks) @chappellet_wine

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I’ve been a little busy and while I can assure you that I’ve had a fair amount of wine,  I apologize to the 18 people that might read this post as I’ve been a very bad blogger – – but I miss it and I’m going to start writing more, really!

So, this 2007 Chappellet Cab really triggers some great memories and not just because it’s Napa (although that’s a good reason too).  The 2007 vintage was one of the great vintages of my wine-lifetime and I was privileged to have tasted my way through the Napa Valley as the 2007 bottles were released.  This was also our first visit to Chappellet and I won’t go back to Napa without stopping there, sitting at their gorgeous table and enjoying whatever they are pouring that day.

The funny thing about these “great vintages” is that we’re almost programmed to sit on a ‘special’ bottle until it’s a special occasion that warrants a splurge.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not terribly patient and usually don’t let the really good wines ‘lay down’ for too long as I’m never sure how they’ll taste after all that time.

The moment of truth for this 2007 Chappellet Cab was last night and it was indeed glorious.  This not only stood up to the test of time, but may have…improved?  Sure, it was a giant Cab with all the fruit you’d expect from Pritchard Hill, but it had a structure to it as well that provided a unique balance which is often missed in the many fruit forward wines from a variety of California (and other) AVAs.  After some time in the decanter, I found some violet in the nose, followed by an uber-smooth plum vanilla through the palate.  Cheers to the crew at Chappellet!

Modus Operandi 2009 Pinot Noir @moduswines: Pomegranate, really!

What is both crisp, fruity, a bit sour and a tad sweet – a Pomegranate and this ’09 Modus Pinot which has some fun traits that I’ve not recently seen in a Pinot.  Jason (the winemaker) does some cool stuff with his bigger reds, but this was a great surprise that I really enjoyed.modus logo

Rutherford Grove Napa Valley Petite Sirah 2007 @Rutherford Grove: Cherry Coke (and a 2013 resolution)


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So this is my first post in a long time and my first of 2013 and I’m resolving to do this a little differently and have some more fun with the blog too.  There are many flavors we find in wine – from the obvious oak, chocolate and vanilla to the more abstract starfruit.  My goal this year (or for how long I can sustain it) is to select a different, unique flavor component every time that I find in the wine I drink.  Also, I’m making this even more challenging – no basic, high level “hints of berry” stuff either.

This will challenge my palate…and let me know if you find anything similar in the wine you drink.  Cheers.

For this Rutherford Grove Petite Sirah: Cherry Coke

Lava Vine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – Blueberry Cobbler? @NapaVintners @VisitNapaValle

We visited Lava Vine on a recommendation from another winery on our last trip to Napa.  They are in Calistoga and we were on our way to Healdsburg, so this was a great find!  It was a happy hour atmosphere when we stopped in while Joe, the winemaker and owner poured the wine for all.  He has an engaging way about him (as he holds court from behind the wine bar) and you can tell that he takes a lot of pride in his wine.  Well, he should – – it’s fantastic!

This Napa Cabernet is big, but not overwhelming.  It reminds me of a blueberry cobbler, with the ripe berry and balance of cinnamon and finish of graham and vanilla.

If you’re in Napa and you don’t visit Lava Vine, you’re missing out on the unique experience of meeting the winemaker and understanding the connection to what’s in the bottle.  If you don’t do that at Lava Vine, make sure you do it somewhere.  Cheers.

The Crusher Wilson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 – Nice Summer Red @totalwine @donandsons

This is the 2nd bottle of The Crusher that we’ve enjoyed – the first was in July 2011 and this is a great sequel.  I really like Pinot Noir in the summer as it goes well with many foods that I prepare (tonight: red salt crusted pork loin chop and roasted asparagus with olive oil) and it doesn’t overpower it at all.  Summer is great for whites, but I can’t drink white wine all summer; I get bored.

This version of The Crusher makes me think that the winemaker put together cranberries and plum and dropped a violet in the top of the bottle for a nice floral scent.  Cheers.

Schild Barossa Shiraz 2009 – Fantastic Find and Great Deal @SchildEstate @TotalWine

We’ve enjoyed a few Schild Shiraz wines in the past and this was another, very enjoyable find.  From Total Wine, this Shiraz is another 92pt Wine Spectator bottle for less than $18.  This is a serious rating:cost ratio (if there is such a thing) and not a big, in-your-face Shiraz.  Sure, it’s bold and fruity, but balanced as well.  Cheers.