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(Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Vin Santo del Chianti Rùfina)

Revision 1; edited by sweetstuff on 2/24/2018

06 VIN SANTO DEL CHIANTI RUFINA, FATTORIA IL LAGO half bottle
19.5%. Oh, dry, nutty, powerful nose. Jawbreaker extract of all 2006 Tuscan wines. Definitive vin santo and so well composed. Hickory nut bouquet of a fine, old dry oloroso./ The palate is totally concentrated, lushly sweet, and forceful. This is huge! The finish is dry, nutty, and endless. 98/100. List price: $50 per half bottle.--from Dick Scheer, Village Corner, Ann Arbor, MI: [ The monograph for Vin Santo on WineSearcher suggests that the high alcohol and relatively dry secco finish makes it likely that this is a Trebbiano/Malvasia blend but fortified.] note by jht

(New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough)

Revision 2; edited by LindsayM on 2/24/2018

THE SEASON
The 2015 growing season featured a mild winter, warm spring and sunny December. This consistent warm weather coupled with very few cold nights meant frost was uncommon. The favourable weather conditions led to harvest arriving two weeks early and the vines producing some of the best fruit the region has ever seen.
VINEYARD BLOCKS
Chardonnay vines are some of our oldest plantings on the Martinborough Terrace. The region has a cool, maritime climate, low annual rainfall, windy springs and a long warm ripening period through autumn. All this results in a naturally low-vigour site which regulates crops ensuring consistently ripe, high quality grapes are harvested.
VINIFICATION
The fruit was carefully sorted in the vineyard during hand harvesting and then whole-bunch pressed. The juice was pressed and left to settle for only a couple of hours before being fermented entirely in French oak barrels. Only indigenous yeasts were used in the fermentation process. The oak was carefully chosen for elegance to complement the fine structure of the wine. Aged in barrels on lees for twelve months, this wine underwent 67% malolactic fermentation and regular wintertime lees stirring before bottling.
TASTING NOTES
Our Chardonnay is often described as a Chardonnay lover’s Chardonnay. The bouquet is rich - butterscotch, peach, nectarine and baked bread lead to a finely balanced, elegant palate. Serve at a temperature of 14-16°C with roast chicken. This wine is expected to age nicely for 3-10 years.

Clones Mendoza, 95, 15, 6 and 2/23, fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new French oak, undergoing batonnage with two-thirds MLF

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
Normally we pick this 1910 vineyard in multiple passes and then assemble the best blend the following spring. In 2014, however, all varieties were ripe within the same window so we picked in one pass and cofermented all varieties in a single tank. It would be difficult to prove scientifically but something good seems to happen when varieties are fermented together. Ninety percent of the fruit was destemmed while 10% (a portion of the Mourvèdre) was left as whole cluster. Five-day cold soak. Indigenous fermentation. Pressed after 15 days on the skins to all French oak, only 15% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: A powerful nose of Christmas spices, burnt caramel, charcuterie and plum. Truly inviting. The palate provides a deep, round plummy note that speaks profoundly of Mourvèdre before the mixed black varieties introduce themselves with a richness and velvety texture on the tongue, adding dimension and depth. Elements to the finish include tar, Asian 5 Spice, citrus pith and cinnamon stick. Luxuriously textured. A lovely wine, especially for those who harbor an appreciation for the greatness of Mourvèdre. Drink or hold – you won’t regret the decision.

(USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
Indicating just how warm and early this vintage was, Rosella’s Syrah was picked on September 30th. Typical picking is closer to Halloween! As expected, the fruit was immaculate. We opted for 25% whole cluster, a slight reduction from previous years but still enough to provide that beautiful floral top note and some structure to the palate. Indigenous fermentation. Nineteen days on the skins. Given the concentration of the wine, we increased the new oak to 30% but chose cooperage that adds little in flavor and aroma, operating more purely on texture and mouthfeel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: Black-purple in color, tar and violet pastilles, along with tamarind all make their presence known immediately. A wonderful savory introduction to the palate is completed with sage, cassis, grilled meats and graphite. Dense and correct on the finish and nicely textured. A beauty that should age with considerable grace.

(USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
Picked the same day as Rosella’s Syrah, September 30th, our approach with this wine was somewhat similar. Twenty-five percent whole cluster. Nineteen days on the skins. Where our approach differed, however, was in our decision to inoculate. Also, since this wine was a touch riper than Rosella’s, we opted for less oak (14% new French oak to be exact) to let the fruit shine. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: This vineyard lives down the road, just south of its older sibling, Rosella’s, but exhibits the feral and rustic qualities imparted by elevation, thin soil, and a warmer microclimate. The wine introduces itself with hard candy, violets, ruby red grapefruit and lavender on the nose. The pluot and cassis characters on the palate yield to a bacon fat quality that is strongly reminiscent of the “Honey-Lavender Bacon” from our local butcher (good stuff!). Fine-grained tannins on the finish, but this is a wine of depth and intensity that could find its true “happy spot” with some proper cellaring.

(USA, California, Sonoma County)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
The 128-year-old Semillon was partially barrel fermented in neutral oak while the remainder was done in stainless steel. For the Pagani and Saitone lots (planted 1920 and 1895 respectively), fermentation was purely in stainless. Since no component was put through malolactic fermentation (we wanted to retain freshness and acidity), the wine was filtered but not fined.

Tasting Note: An inviting fresh and spicy nose, exhibiting key lime, balsa, honeysuckle and macaroon scents. More lithe and harmonious on the palate than previous vintages, with less oak influence. The acidity is in check, while the Semillon provides a slightly oily character, married with the green apple, melon, preserved lemon and white grapefruit influences. A touch of toast and gingerbread on the finish. This wine is a lovely sipper and should complement cheese plates, seafood, and light pasta dishes in particular. A singular and distinctive white.

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
It appears that our efforts to rejuvenate this 89-year-old vineyard are paying off. Yields have increased in the last several years to a modest 2.4 tons to the acre. That’s much better than the .5 to .8 tons per acre we were getting 10 years ago! But despite the increase in yields, the fruit is ripening more evenly and earlier, all indicators of improved vine health. This was an incredibly easy wine to make with no adjustments required. It was just a matter of getting the fruit into tank and then letting Mother Nature do the rest. Twenty-two percent new French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: A classic “Carlisle nose” of mint tea, iron, and crushed dark berries, including mulberry which has always been a hallmark of this vineyard. The palate is rich, expansive and savory. The fresh berry notes mirror those on the nose, bringing black raspberry, boysenberry and Mirabelle plum to the party. The finish is accented with Asian spices and a cocoa powder texture that is ultimately refreshed by the natural acidity of the wine. Another stunner from this fine old lady.

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
With an average vine age of over 100 years old, it’s tempting to label this wine as “Reserve.” Just look at the vineyards in this wine! All vineyard designates in their own right! Six percent new French oak, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: This blend boldly collects all the scents and flavors of the Russian River Valley – redwood, cinnamon, rhubarb, red cherry and lifted notes of strawberries and cream. A very harmonious and friendly wine that provides a spicy palate, with hints of Jolly Rancher candy and cranberry. Bottled under screw cap, this is the perfect “go to” Thanksgiving wine. Turkeys beware!

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 2; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
In 2012 we co-leased this vineyard with Bedrock Wine Company and divided the fruit fifty-fifty. Planted in 1905, the vineyard is located in the warmer northern reaches of Russian River Valley on Limerick Lane, an area the old-timers used to call “Little Italy” due to all the small farms along the lane owned by families of Italian descent. Like many of our other Zins in this easy vintage, no adjustments had to be made to the must. It was simply picked, destemmed, fermented, pressed, and barreled down before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: Medium to medium-dark garnet-ruby. Cherry, red licorice whips, a hint of cocoa, iron, and a whisper of savory herbs flow from the glass. Smells more Dry Creek-y than Russian River-y, not surprising given Sodini’s iron-rich soils and its close proximity to Dry Creek Valley. On the palate, full-bodied with plenty of verve and structure. Flavors of red cherry build through the mineral-y finish. Enjoy this elegant, graceful Zinfandel from release through 2022. (MRO – 01/18/14)

Blend:
95% Zinfandel
5% Mixed Blacks (Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, Trousseau noir, Petite Sirah)
Harvesting: Picked, destemmed, fermented, pressed, and barreled down
Bottled: unfined and unfiltered.
pH: 3.64
T.A.: 0.60 g/100mL
Alcohol: 15.2%
Cases Produced: 402
Release Date: April 2014
Copyright © 2014 Carlisle Winery & Vineyards

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley)

Revision 2; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
Planted in 1886, our block of Zinfandel was picked September 20th at 25.0 Brix. A small amount of Grand Noir, a cross of Petit Bouschet and Aramon and a sibling of the teinturier Alicante Bouschet, was included for color and spice. Fully destemmed. A modest twenty-two percent new French oak was used to broaden the palate without adding flavors or aromas of oak (we enjoy flavors and aromas of fruit, not wood). Bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Note: Medium-dark ruby-garnet. With swirling and aeration, a brooding nose of red cherries, orange zest, and chocolate emerges. For some reason, the words “breed” and “class” come to mind when I smell this wine. Delightfully refined on the palate, the wine displays impressive depth and purity in its red and blue fruit flavors. Amazingly well-balanced. You can’t help but feel you’re drinking something quite noble and special. Enjoy from mid-2014 through 2022. (MRO – 01/18/14)

Blend:
94% Zinfandel
6% Grand Noir
Harvested: September 20th at 25.0 Brix
Cooperage: 22% new French oak
Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
pH: 3.48
T.A.: 0.60 g/100mL
Alcohol: 15.3%
Cases Produced: 228
Copyright © 2014 Carlisle Winery & Vineyards

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley)

Revision 3; edited by KTM1253 on 2/23/2018

Release Letter:
Year after year we find that the powerful, well-structured Zinfandel of Ray Teldeschi’s ranch (planted c. 1890) blends perfectly with the more Rubenesque Zinfandel of Rich Mounts’ ranch (planted c. 1950) across the valley. 2012 was no exception. Throw in 13% Del Carlo Ranch Petite Sirah (from the northern end of the valley) for volume and texture and you have a classic Dry Creek Zinfandel, displaying all the best attributes of the appellation. Lightly fined with half an egg white per barrel to polish the palate but bottled unfiltered.

Tasting Note: Medium-dark ruby-red. Explosive, hi-toned aromas of red cherry and raspberry with subtle notes of candied flowers and iron-laced earth. Quite seductive on entry, flavors of cherry and earth dance across the palate towards the spice and fruit-filled finish. An incredibly harmonious and balanced wine with outstanding precision and focus. For my palate, Dry Creek Zinfandel doesn’t get much better than this. Enjoy from release through 2021. (MRO – 01/18/14)

Blend:
57% Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, Teldeschi Ranch
30% Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, Mounts Ranch
13% Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah, Del Carlo Ranch
Fining: Lightly fined with half an egg white per barrel to polish the palate
Bottled: unfiltered
pH: 3.66
T.A.: 0.61 g/100mL
Alcohol: 15.6%
Cases Produced: 350
Release Date: April 2014
Copyright © 2014 Carlisle Winery & Vineyards

(USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/22/2018

Release Letter:
Yes, a Bedrock wine meant to be consumed early! This wine was made like Beaujolais Nouveau, but I might suggest it comes from more interesting vineyard material than your typical stuff. The wine is a blend of Zinfandel from Esola Vineyard, planted on granitic schist at 1600’ in the Amador foothills along with the oldest Cinsault in the country, own-rooted and planted in the 1880s, from Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi. Both lots were fermented using carbonic maceration in our small concrete tank. The resulting wine is aromatic, juicy and slurpable. Nouveau is traditionally a fete of the most recent harvest, and 2016 was a great vintage in California deserving some early celebration. Drink up!

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/22/2018

Release Letter:
The 1896 plantings at Nervo Ranch are among the most extreme I have ever seen for an old vineyard. Planted on 30% slopes of decomposed shale, the mixed vines produce a wine that is aromatic, weighty, and elegant. It is the balance that this area of Geyserville is famous for—be it the wines from Ridge, Turley’s Vineyard 101 or Scherrer’s wonderful wines. The 2015 is no exception. This wine, a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Negrette, Carignan, Grenache, Trousseau Noir and many more, is dark and lovely stuff. Definitely give it some time- either in the cellar or the decanter as time and/or air will help it to unfold.

(USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley)

Revision 1; edited by BRR on 2/22/2018

Email content from Paul Zitarelli / Full Pull Wines for the offer of this wine on Jan. 16, 2018:

"You may recall that Casey and Vicky McClellan successfully sold Seven Hills Winery to Crimson Wine Group early in 2016, so we’re getting towards the last few pre-sale vintages. Long time list members know that I have been a huge admirer of Casey’s winemaking over the years. He developed a clear house style – acid-driven, texturally elegant – and stuck with that style as fashion trends waxed and waned. I consider Casey a grower’s winemaker. Vineyard owners and vineyard managers love him, because he picks fruit early and is single-mindedly dedicated to expressing those sites.

This is a new wine for Seven Hills, and they’re obviously reserving the right to be flexible with which red varieties go into the bottling in future vintages. But in 2014, the PacNW’s high-quality/high-yield grand cascade vintage, this is a full 85% Cab, the remainder Malbec and Petit Verdot. Considering that two of the vineyards involved (Seven Hills Vineyard and McClellan Estate) each go into single-vineyard Cabs that Seven Hills offers for $50, this is a strong value indeed (even at the winery’s $35 release price, it’s good value for money; at $30, better still).

Some of the other vineyards involved here: Summit View (part of the Sevein property that also contains L’Ecole’s Ferguson Vineyard), Pepper Bridge, and a pair of rocks sites (Stone Valley and Waliser Rocks). This is a pan-Walla Walla Valley wine to be sure. It clocks in at 14.7% listed alc and pours inky purple into the glass. The aromas come roaring back out instantly: blackcurrant and black plum, rose petals, and lovely fresh tones of rosemary and mint. I found the texture here completely seductive, the way it offers viscosity and density with nary a shred of excess weight. It’s beautifully proportioned, balanced, a testament to a veteran winemaker who has a deep comfort level with this particular valley and its fruit. Complex, propulsive, and downright delicious, this is a lovely addition to the Seven Hills lineup."

(New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/22/2018


New Zealand's wine of the year is a ... chardonnay!
New Zealand's wine of the year is a ... chardonnay!

Posted by: Alana House November 29, 2017

Is this proof chardonnay is well and truly back on the map?
New Zealand - the home of some of the world's best sauvignon blancs - has handed the trophy for Wine of Show at the 2017 Air New Zealand Wine Awards to Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2016.
This is the first time in 23 years that a Marlborough Chardonnay has won a Champion Wine of Show trophy.
Isabel Estate is a pioneering winery in Marlborough and one of the original vineyards having planted their first vines in 1980. Crafted by Chief Winemaker Jeremy McKenzie the Chardonnay is made from fruit 100% grown and bottled within the boundaries of the estate.
McKenzie said: “This is the pinnacle of success for Isabel Estate and something we are enormously proud of. Achieving recognition amongst such a large pool of New Zealand competitors truly shows the quality of our wines. I would like to pay special mention to our small and dedicated team who are instrumental in this success. It’s a small, humble, hands-on crew with a lot of fight.
“We have recognised for some time now how strong a site Isabel Estate is for Chardonnay and over the past three years we have been quietly perfecting it. The Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 exhibits the power and vibrancy that are the hallmarks of world class Chardonnay and is a wine of outstanding quality and character.
“We are thrilled that it has won top honours in a competition of this calibre. This is testament to the quality of fruit that we are able to grow from a single vineyard site and demonstrates our philosophy of respecting the soil where the grapes grow and allowing the unique characters of each vineyard and variety to be expressed in the final wine.
“Isabel Estate has now been well and truly positioned at the top of Marlborough’s wineries.”
Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 was one of 1300 wines entered in the competition and according to Chair of Judges Warren Gibson the wine was a very classy example of the Chardonnay in this year’s competition.
“The Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 won by a big margin and was world class and well made," he said. "The wine got through to the trophy judging stage and it was a clear winner by some distance. It’s packed with flavour but still maintains a remarkable lightness on its feet.”
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is New Zealand’s most respected wine competition, recognising excellence in winemaking. The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1600 grape growers and winemakers.
Isabel Estate wines are available at Dan Murphy’s www.danmurphys.com.au and BWS www.bws.com.au stores nationally. Isabel Estate is fully owned by Pinnacle Drinks, who are owned by Endeavour Drinks Group. Pinnacle purchased the Isabel Estate brand and the estate in late 2014 and since then has sought to keep the brand and its estate grown and bottled heritage intact. The Isabel Estate Chardonnay 2016 is priced at $35 RRP.

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley)

Revision 1; edited by PSUSteve on 2/21/2018

From the release newsletter

2016 Lorenzo’s Heritage Wine, Dry Creek Valley: From vines at Teldeschi Ranch that my family has worked with since 1982, this is a muscular and dense wine composed of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignan along with small amounts of field-blended Cinsault, Peloursin and Vaccarese. The richness of Dry Creek Zinfandel is balanced here by elegant, knife-like Carignan and feral, wild Petite Sirah that come from distinct blocks at John Teldeschi’s ranch. This wine should give years of enjoyment as the layers begin to unfurl. $39

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley)

Revision 1; edited by PSUSteve on 2/21/2018

From release newsletter

2016 Montecillo Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Mountain District: From dry-farmed vines planted in the 1960s at 2000’ overlooking Sonoma Valley. I love this vineyard and this wine. Farmed by Chuy Ordaz this survivor Cab site makes intense, old-school, mountain Cabernet that retains great refinement. The 2016 is a classic example of the site, showing the gorgeous cassis, pipe tobacco, camphor and pepper that scream “Claret!” in a lovely British accent. This wine, though polished, will last a long time. $60

(New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/21/2018

BELL HILL
CHARDONNAY 2012

The 2012 Chardonnay is a four barrel blend from the Shelf, Limeworks (2009 and 1999 blocks) and the Roadblock. The fruit was crushed with stems retained and pressed in our basket press followed by 12 months in French oak (25% new) and 8 months in tank. The wine was bottled on the 18th of December 2013 with a pH of 3.22, TA of 6.4 g/L, and alcohol of 12.5%. Approximately 1,134 bottles were produced.
Picking at earlier phenological ripeness is our pathway to capture freshness and palate linearity. White flower aromatics blend with citrus and wet stone. A tight palate, very chalky and a little salty, focused with a fine shell-like texture. It has length and tension with a finely woven mineral core. NZ$100

(Italy, Puglia, Puglia IGT)

Revision 1; edited by benny-g on 2/21/2018

This Prosecco DOC is made with 100% organic grapes

Italy is famous for many fine things and Prosecco is quickly captivating enjoyers of sparkling wine all over the world as a must have. Inspired by the festive nature of pouring a glass of bubbly for our friends, we made it our mission for 2016 to add this fantastic varietal to ZIOBAFFA™.

Farmed in vineyards on the hills around Treviso area in Veneto, meeting all the EU organic criteria in Italy. It is non-GMO and it is made with the Martinotti-Charmat method. Bottled and labeled with bio-safe materials.

(New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/20/2018

2003 BLACK RIDGE CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR $39.95
REGION: CENTRAL OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND
Yet another superb pinot from the outstanding 2003 vintage in Central Otago. Black Ridge, although one of the original Central Otago vineyards, is relatively unknown in Australia. It was first established in 1981 through the pioneering vision of Verdun Burgess & Sue Edwards. The vineyard setting is dramatic, carved from rugged outcrops of schist rock.  Pockets of vines cling to the Central Otago hillside, in a vivid contrast to the barren rock of Central Otago.  Grapes are handpicked and the wines are handcrafted to reflect the unique terroir and climate of the vineyard. 
The 2003 Black Ridge pinot is gorgeous; a bouquet full of sweet cherry and blackberry fruit with herbal and spicy overtones; a rich, soft, velvety palate oozing with sweet fruit, savoury spices and herbs, with forest floor and chocolate highlights. Wonderful mouthfeel and a long, lingering, sensual finish. Outstanding value. Worth decanting for a few hours before serving.
"Deep purple hue from this distinctive, well-established dark schist vineyard. Nerveux with a fruity nose, quite notable acidity and the need to wait a while." Jancis Robinson – 16.0 points

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/20/2018

Release Letter:
As much as we love working with old vines around the state, there is something utterly magical about Griffin’s Lair Syrah. Starting with its evocative name, one that conjures images of ghouls and goblins, of sweet smoke-scented rooms of alchemy and potions, of swords rising from lakes and profs called Snape, the vineyard seems to capture the many dark mysteries of Syrah. The 2014 is a winery favorite and a classic expression of this wind-ripped site in the Petaluma Gap. Fermented with 50% whole cluster and some Viognier, the wine lies on the border of elegance and enormous density—full of violet pastille, tousled Corsican Myrh, white pepper, copa, and Benton’s southern smoked ham. Like the Great Smoky Mountains during wildflower season. Gotta get me some more Benton’s…..

(USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/20/2018

Release Letter:
Our fifth iteration of this wine, and each time I think we get closer to capturing the true essence of this Grand Dame of a vineyard. Coming from own-rooted Zinfandel, Mataro, Carignan, Palomino, Alicante, and Mission planted in the 1890s on 40’ banks of granitic beach sand, this wine is a unique expression of a California field blend. Aromatically lifted by bright Zinfandel and crunchy Carignan but held in earthbound embrace by the terrestrial Mataro, this is a wine of opposition, a veritable Hegelian dialectic in vinous form. One time, when walking through this vineyard, my feet sinking in the sand, I had a David Lean inspired delusion of grandeur: it is 1917 and I am trudging across the Sinai peninsula with the only thing standing between me and the Gulf of Aqaba a Turkish-held garrison (otherwise known as a PG & E power plant) but where is my camel and why am I sampling grapes?

(USA, California)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/20/2018

Release Letter:
This is perhaps the most important wine we make—it is what Chris calls the “gateway drug” to Bedrock. Virtually all of the vineyards that go into this blend are also vineyard which means in some ways it is a bit of an old vine super cuvee—albeit a value-priced one. The fulcrum of the wine is based around three old vineyards we farm in Sonoma County: Bedrock (1888), Nervo (1896), and Sodini Ranch (1905), along with a healthy dollop from the gorgeous Esola Vineyard in Amador County. The wine also has tasty morsels from Pagani Ranch, Evangelho, Pato, Papera Ranch, Teldeschi, Dolinsek Ranch, Carlisle, York Creek, and others. With the average vine age over 80 years, this is some legit old vine goodness. The 2015 is 90% Zinfandel, with the remainder made up of Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Carignan, Mataro, and various other mixed varieties found interplanted in these old vineyards. This is a delicious wine that will be great out of the gate with some decanting but, as many have noted on earlier incarnations, will also reward some cellar time.

(USA, California, Central Coast, Chalone)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/20/2018

Release Letter:
“I remember that the Gabilan Mountains to the east of the valley were light gay mountains full of sun and loveliness and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother. They were beckoning mountains with a brown grass love. The Santa Lucias stood up against the sky to the west and kept the valley from the open sea, and they were dark and brooding—unfriendly and dangerous. I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east. Where I ever got such an idea I cannot say, unless it could be that the morning came over the peaks of the Gabilans and the night drifted back from the ridges of the Santa Lucias. It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling about the two ranges of mountains.” - John Steinbeck

Having worked with Brosseau for five years now, the vineyard’s personality is incredibly clear. Though this is our first Blancs des Noirs-style sparkling wine, Brosseau, like many great vineyards, expresses the site’s character perhaps more strongly than the variety. Though unexpected, the Pinot Noir is the subtler of the two wines from the vineyard. It still has the vineyard’s signature flavors—chili spice, laurel bay and savory granite—but with more red fruit undertones and a suave delivery.

The fruit was put direct to press and fermented in old oak and stainless steel barrels. Malolactic was prevented. It was put down for secondary fermentation in March 2014 and disgorged in March of this year with 4 grams of dosage. Imagine Ambonnay meeting the limestone and granite sun kissed Gabilan Mountains. This wine should age well. If consuming soon, open the wine and let it breathe for a few hours.

(USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino)

Revision 1; edited by KTM1253 on 2/20/2018

Release Letter:
The tiny clusters were foot stomped and left to soak in the press for three hours. The grapes were pressed gently and fermented in old oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation was prevented and the wine was put down for secondary in March 2014. We chose to disgorge this wine in January of 2016 with 3 grams of dosage as we wanted to preserve the crunchy and electric fruit--the cranberry, quince, and Morello cherry—rather than soften that explosiveness by allowing more time en tirage. This screams Pinot, this screams Alder, and we wish we had made more!

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/20/2018

Almost entirely from the stony and steep slopes of Kenwood’s Uboldi Vineyard, our 2017 Sonoma Valley SB shows the weight and richness of the 2017 vintage. Full of aromatically lifted melon fruit, this wine really shines in the mouth – its mouthwatering density almost surprising for a variety often defined by herbal character and paucity of weight. The wine was partially barrel fermented in lightly toasted Stockinger barrels and cigares and partially fermented in stainless steel. This is SB that dances the calypso.

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/20/2018

Though always the pinnacle of consistency, despite its cool location, the 2016 Papera Ranch Heritage seems to take the site to another level. Vibrant and expressive blue fruits combine with spice and the lovely texture and savory notes that great Carignan can bring. This is a wine of melding opposition, of size and subtlety, of freshness and ripeness, and near-term deliciousness and long-term ageability. There is not a vintage that goes by that I don’t feel deep appreciation for owner Stuart Coulson, who saved the vineyard from an ignoble ending, and Mike Officer, who introduced me to this singular block of fruit.

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/20/2018

Our tiny block of 1910-planted Zinfandel yielded a scant 1.5 tons in 2016, meaning that there are less than 1000 bottles of this wine to go around. Though meager in output this vineyard created a gorgeous, multi-faceted, wine that is true to the amazing site where it is grown. One of my favorite wines we have made from this all-star site.

(USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Clara Valley)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/20/2018

Believe it or not, Santa Clara county is historically one of the more important wine growing regions in California. Back before the march of tract homes and highways, business campuses and colleges, grapes from the ranch of Leland Stanford, Charles LeFranc and and a fella’ with the last name Pellier, were valued as much as those from Napa and Sonoma and beyond. This vineyards survival, which is located a couple hundred feet below the cutoff for the Santa Cruz Mountain AVA, is a bit of a miracle and owes its new lease on life to the hard work and investment of the Gregory family. We currently receive fruit from a lightly mixed block of Zinfandel and a bit of Carignan that rests on the well-drained slopes. This is one of the most elegant wines we made in the great 2016 vintage, defined by soaring perfume and mouthwatering fruit and spice. I only wish there was more of it to go around!

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/20/2018

From the windswept Petaluma Gap area, which is officially its own deserved AVA of the Sonoma Coast, this is always one of the most distinct Syrah’s we make. Co-fermented with 10% Viognier and vinified using 80% whole-cluster, this is gorgeously perfumed Syrah that retains finesse despite the dense core. Like most of our wines this will age very nicely but hopefully it should not be too fearsome with a long decant if you like enjoying wines on the more brazen side with hearty fare.

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Moon Mountain)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/20/2018

Our first Chardonnay since 2010 and our first vintage from this gorgeous, dry-farmed vineyard planted in 1974 at 1000’. Planted to shot-berry Wente on St. George rootstock, we name the wine, like other wineries, for Chuy Ordaz who both planted the vineyard and continues to tend it today. Picked at 22.5 brix and barrel fermented in a mix of lightly toasted Stockinger barrels and older vessels this wine is floral, textured and spicy stuff with pretty linear drive and quince and pear fruit. It’s fun to make Chardonnay when the fruit is this great!

(New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/20/2018

GROWING SEASON
Our phenology charts indicated a spurt of growth in October that was more advanced than ever in our 12 years of recording. Flowering at Christmas was mild and gentle with some rain. Ripening weather was fine and quite warm. The total acidity was dropping quickly and we harvested 2 weeks earlier than the previous year.
VINEYARD
The grapes for this wine are grown on a rocky ridge of free draining gravel. This northern ridge is subjected to our warm northwester winds and hence the loess are quite exposed. A wine that is very indicative of its place.

WINE MAKING
Hand harvested and fermented naturally with a portion of whole cluster. Some parcels of fruit fermented within the vines from which they grew. Total time on skins between 25 and 30 days after which the wine was pressed o and matured in 30% new French barriques for spontaneous malolactic fermentation. The wine was racked and returned once before being bottled un ned and un ltered in October 2015.

TASTING NOTES
Expressive dark fruit with mocha, licorice, spicy oak and aromatic complexity. The velvety tannins are complimented with the plush fruit and supple acidity on the palate.

Harvest Composition
Brix 24.3 - 25.0
pH 3.38-3.60
Titratable Acidity 5.40-5.50g/L
Wine Composition
Residual Sugar <1.0g/L Titratable Acidity 6.40g/L Alcohol 14%
Vine Age
+16 years (planted 1999)
Clone
777, 667

(USA, California, Central Valley, Butte County)

Revision 2; edited by joraesque on 2/19/2018

We aged our Narwhal Imperial Stout in barrels formerly used to mature rum. The influence of the wood transforms the rich malt flavors. deepening them with notes of molasses, raisin, and burnt sugar. 12.8% ABV.

(USA, California, Central Valley, Butte County)

Revision 2; edited by joraesque on 2/19/2018

We aged our Narwhal Imperial Stout in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels which adds anall new layer of flavor and intensity to this robust beer. Narwal’s roastiness is somewhat tamed, while the chocolate-like malt backbone is brought to the fore with hints of vanilla, roasted coconut, and a slight touch of honey. 12.5% ABV.

(USA, California, Central Valley, Butte County)

Revision 2; edited by joraesque on 2/19/2018

We aged our Narwhal Imperial Stout in oak barrels formerly used to mature red wine. The influence of the oak and wine cuts through and brightens the massive malt body, adding fruit-forward flavors with a round, vanilla-like sweetness from the wood. 10.5% ABV.

(Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer)

Revision 2; edited by sweetstuff on 2/19/2018

420 Cases made (Wine Spectator). 91 degrees Oechsle harvest sugar; selected against Botrytis (<10%), Vinous, jht

(Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco)

Revision 1; edited by Nico P. on 2/19/2018

http://frederickwildman.com/national/wine/marchesi-di-barolo/barbaresco-tradizione-docg/2014

(USA, Texas, Texas High Plains)

Revision 1; edited by NaturalizedTexan on 2/19/2018

Tasting Notes
On The Nose: Rich, jammy fruit with earth, violets and vanilla On The Palate: Cassis, red fruit, tobacco and tannin with lingering fruit on the finish
Vineyard Notes
Reddy Vineyards, Brownfield, TX Terry County
Production Notes
96% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc
Winemaker Notes
2015 Primavera represents our “Spring” installment of the Becker Vineyards wine series, La Quattro Stagione. With Reddy Vineyards' outstanding dedication to grape-growing in the Texas High Plains, we are able to offer this Merlot.

(Italy, Veneto, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene)

Revision 1; edited by martinlopez on 2/19/2018

(New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/18/2018

Tasting Notes
Rockburn Seven Barrels; the name says it all really. Every year we fill hundreds of French oak barrels with Pinot Noir, and every year I search for those individual barrels that most eloquently speak of site and season. We present the results of that search to you here with a wine that exhibits the attributes I enjoy most about Pinot Noir; subtlety, elegance and personality.
The 2016 Seven Barrels Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine displaying the elegance, power and grace generated by our Gibbston Back Road Vineyard site. The 2016 vintage had a long, dry autumn, encouraging perfect ripeness in all our fruit, while retaining great levels of complexity and subtlety in the cooler Gibbston sub-region. This wine originates from Clone 5, fermented in a 7 tonne fermenter and remained on skins for 22 days. Of the seven barrels selected, two were new oak. Malo-lactic fermentation took place in the Spring; mid-Summer the seven barrels were selected, and set aside for a further six months maturation before bottling without fining or filtration (some deposit may occur in the bottle).

Viticulture
Grape Variety & Clone:100% Pinot Noir. Clones 5 & 6
Training and Trellis: Vertical Shoot Position (VSP)
Soils:Pigburn shallow fine sandy loam
Vineyard Location: Gibbston
Climate Comment: Warm spring, hot summer, long warm autumn.
Vintage Climate: Warm initially but cooling quickly.
Harvest Date: 1st May
Viticulturist Comment:An excellent season compared to the rest of the country, good yields off our own blocks and low disease pressure

Winemaking
Winemaker: Malcolm Rees-Francis
Fermentation:7 tonne fermenter, 7 days cold maceration; fermentation over 4 days with daily plunging followed by post fermentation maceration for 11 days. Barrel aging 13 months in 100% French Oak
Alcohol:14.0 %
Titratable Acidity: 6.1 g/l
Residual Sugar:< 1.0 g/l
PH level:3.69
Vintage Comment: Beautiful fruit ripening gently over a long Autumn.

(New Zealand, North Island, Hawke's Bay, Hawkes Bay)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/18/2018

1888 HAWKES BAY CHARDONNAY 2014

This Chardonnay is a tribute to our founder, celebrating his unwavering belief in Hawkes Bay as a truly great winegrowing region. Only crafted in the most exceptional years in limited quantities, these wines are the absolute pinnacle of Vidal Estate.
PRESSING: Whole bunch pressed
FERMENTATION: Natural
FERMENTATION VESSEL: French oak barrique; 50% new and 50% 1yr old
MATURATION: On lees with stirring – 10mths in barrique and 1 in tank
BOTTLED: 13th March, 2015
BOTTLES MADE: 736

Varieties: Chardonnay
Alcohol: 13.5%
pH: 3.21
Total acidity: 7.61gL
Residual sugar: Dry
Vineyard
The soils of the Lyons ‘Love Block’ consist of pure gravel beds with layers of sand, silt and clay. Coarse and weakly structured, these soils are free draining allowing for the undiluted concentration of flavour in the fruit. A record high of 1,455 Growing Degree Days and low rainfall resulted in the perfect conditions for hand-picking; intense flavour concentration and balanced acidity.
YIELD: 27hl/ha
CLONE: Clone 15 Chardonnay
VINE AGE: Planted 1996

Tasting Note
Intensely aromatic with citrus blossom, French baguette and complex flinty undertones.

The palate delivers power and restraint with citrus and pink grapefruit, white stone fruit, roasted nuts and mineral notes.
Excellent clear-cut acidity with a lovely satin-like texture leads to an elegant, balanced finish. Complex, persistent, fine and age-worthy.

(Australia, Victoria, North East, Beechworth)

Revision 1; edited by LindsayM on 2/18/2018

This wine is made from premium Estate grown fruit planted on the cooler south-facing exposure at an altitude of 430 metres (1,410 feet). The fruit is hand picked, lightly crushed and then basket pressed - before being transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation (approximately 30% new). The resulting wine is aged slowly for up to 22 months, deep underground in our granite maturation cave.

2016 En Primeur Tasting Note: A bolder wine than 2015 and evolving beautifully in barrel: displaying white peach, nectarine, hazelnut and matchstick characters are prominent. Mineral notes and spiced oak helping to stretch the finish. Flavour intensity and power will be the signature of this 2016 vintage. Packed with flavour and considerable depth on the palate [barrel tasting notes].

(USA, Washington, Puget Sound)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/17/2018

Rustic farmhouse Belgian-style Quad Ale brewed with Juniper. 10% ABV.

(USA, California, Napa Valley)

Revision 1; edited by RedValues on 2/17/2018

Lot 542 2014 Napa Valley Syrah explodes out of the glass with a cornucopia of smoky, meaty aromas that take on complexity with air, white flower florals, blackberry cobbler and vanilla gaining traction as the wine evolves in the glass. There’s not the least hint of heat here (either aromatically or on the palate), surprising for a wine that weighs in at 16% alcohol (be careful with that extra glass!). Rich, gamey, lush and powerful on entry but perfectly balanced, this wine is remarkable for its combination of power and grace. Roasted meat and blue fruit are amply backed by graphitic, almost minerally tannins, in waves of lush, hedonistic, gamey-fruit pleasure in a finish that doesn’t end. Fantastic!

Cam Confidential

Sourced from Mt. George Vineyard at the southern tip of Napa Valley, it’s also your last chance to ever buy a Syrah sourced from this vineyard, as the grapes were recently grafted over to Bordelais varieties when Silverado purchased the vineyard a few years ago. Why sell Syrah at $50/bottle when you can sell Cabernet at $100, right?

The origin of this wine will not remain a secret for long (given the long list of wine detectives on our list), but I’ll refrain from naming it up front here. At $18/bottle, this is incredible pedigree for about a third of the original price. With 32 months in barrel, this is a huge wine that is also bound to go quickly - while we purchased the entire bottling blend for 2014, there are still only 250 cases available!

Vinification
Vintage: 2014
ONline price: $18
Appellation: Napa Valley 100%
Grape: Syrah
Alcohol by volume: 16.5%
Cases Produced: 250
Drink/Hold: Now through 2024

(South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch, Bottelary)

Revision 1; edited by pontac on 2/17/2018

600 bottless of this single vineyard wine made from their original block of Pinotage planted in 1953

(Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico)

Revision 2; edited by Nico P. on 2/16/2018

From:https://www.bertani.net/en/wines/amarone-classico
Bottling Date: November 1983. "Organoleptic characteristics: This wine has been aged for more than 10 years in bottle and aged 20 years in cask. It has an intense garnet red colour, a very rich bouquet that recalls the dry fruit, above all the hazelnut, the plum, the tobacco, the cacao and the leather. The mouth is spicy with a great lasting. Taste that recalls the truffle and the almond."

(USA, California, Sonoma County)

Revision 2; edited by ChipGreen on 2/16/2018

70% Syrah, 30% Grenache

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Revision 1; edited by TashNYC on 2/15/2018

Winery notes

This is a very energetic and complex wine from a one-of-a-kind site. The aromas and flavors are vibrant and distinctive, highlighting enticing notes of orange, black cherry, cinnamon oil and clove spice, which are in turn supported by sophisticated layers of lavender, camphor, menthol, humidor cedar and malted grain. Offering beautiful cool-climate acidity, this wine concludes with a fresh, pure finish.

(Japan)

Revision 1; edited by joraesque on 2/15/2018

This beautifully balanced, Honjozo style sake, is clean and refreshing with a nose reminiscent of pine needles, lychee, wintergreen and dried pear. Slightly off dry on the palate and full of eucalyptus, cucumber and mineral notes, the added alcohol makes for a clean dry finish.

Pair this with: Steamed shellfish, sushi, tuna tartare, vietnamese style food, spring rolls, wedge salad

RICE POLISHING RATIO: 55%

ALCOHOL: 15-16%

(Japan, Chūbu, Niigata)

Revision 2; edited by joraesque on 2/15/2018

Winemaker Notes: The nose on this world class gold medal winning Daiginjo is a splendid collection of blueberry, kiwi, honeydew, and tangerine peel aromas. Talk about a sake that talks back to you! This is one of “those’ kinds of sake’s that has the amazing ability to linger in the palate in such a way that it would peak the interest of a professional judge. Look for layers of ripe and tropical fruit tones that explode at certain moments throughout the sip. Juicy licks of strawberry and pear tart roll on the fleshy smoothness, and there is a sneaky heat that compounds the flavor. Chilled and in a white wine glass brings forth the brightness.

Prefecture: Niigata
SMV: +2.0
Acidity: 1.3

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