2008 Kaena Hapa

2008 Kaena Hapa
USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley

Wine Rating: 93

Uncorked: 2011.07.02  Shared with friends in celebration of Barry & Mary’s 50th Anniversary and Renewal of Vows

An extraordinary wine for an extraordinary occasion — celebration of friends’ 50 years of marriage and renewal of their vows.  This wine is young and verile with layer upon layer of explosive aromas and flavors.  The Syrah and Grenache lead this wine with potent fruit and solid backbone — dark red cherry, blackberry, and ripe plum with deep earthiness.  The addition of Cabernet Sauvignon to this blend adds dimension and structure — a long finish with solid tanins.  Like a long marriage, this wine will develop, soften, and become more nuanced with time.  It is certainly “rarin’ to go” right out of the bottle and was wothy of the celebration for which it was opened.

$37.00 / $29.60 (club price)   from Mikael Sigouin (winemaker) at Kaena Wine Company

Kaena Wine Company Website

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2007 Ampelos Pinot Noir Lambda

2007 Ampelos Pinot Noir Lambda Sta Rita Hills
USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2011.06.24  Dinner at home – served with grilled grass-fed tri-tip, grilled artichoke
The wine is clean and vibrant, almost ascetic or austere. It’s a “pure” tasting Pinot Noir that reflects the wine making intentions of Peter and Rebecca Work. Gorgeous fruit and balanced acidity, subtle oak and hints of SRH terroir. While the wine is a medium-bodied Pinot, it went perfectly with food off the Big Green Egg, particularly the grilled artichokes. A lovely wine and a valuable study in the essence of Pinot Noir.

I visited Rebecca Work at Ampelos again a week and a half ago.  She and her husband Peter inspire a fresh look and taste of old world wines made in a sustainable, biodynamic, and organic manner.  Eschewing more popular or market-friendly (i.e. consumer- and market-oriented or “grocery store”) styles of viticulture and wine making, they have made a commitment to gentle technique that does no harm to the wine, the vine, or the world in which we live.  The respect they demonstrate to each environment — the vineyard, the winery, the bottle, as well as the earth — is captured in the wine itself.  The wine compels reflection and respect in return.  But it’s not just an expression or an experiment — this is terrific wine made by people whose mission and vision I am honored to support.

Peter and Rebecca were both very helpful in my doctoral research.  I raise my glass this evening in thanks and with great respect for the wine making passions at Ampelos!

$35.00 / $29.75 (club price)   from the Ampelos Filos Wine Club

Ampelos Cellars and Vineyard Website

2006 Tercero Cuvee Christie

2006 Tercero Cuvee Christie
USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2011.06.19  Dinner at home – served with grilled grass-fed steak
Loved this wine with dinner tonight — it is perfectly mature and opulent. Served with grass fed beef New York strip steaks from the farmer’s market, grilled artichokes, and farm fresh corn on the cob. The food was big flavors with tender elements in each — and the wine was a perfect match. It is big, bold, juicy, peppery, and dark while at the same time elegant, layered, and mysterious. This wine is gorgeous, silky, vibrant, and rich. So glad there are several more bottles in the cellar!

$28.00  purchased from the winery

Tercero Wines Website

2008 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Clone 667 La Encantada Vineyard

 

2008 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Clone 667 La Encantada Vineyard
USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills

Wine Rating: 93

Uncorked: 2008.08.18 Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore – Julie’s Birthday Dinner
This wine immediately transports me to the Santa Ynez Valley. New World wines are not noted for their terroir, but this wine demonstrates that the ground from which the grapes grew CAN be captured even in the Santa Rita Hills. My nose was greeted by earthy aromas along with generous fruit and restrained oak. I couldn’t tarry long before sipping this wine — it beckoned to be tasted. The wine teased my mouth. Nothing was overblown or blatent. Everything about this wine is evocative. Cherries and ripe raspberries to be sure, but so much more — layer upon layer of fruit, loamy earth, spice, more fruit, and wet stones. Great balance and solid structure through the whole taste. Supple tannins with a lingering finish. The enchantment of “La Encantada” is evidenced in this bottle of wine.

$43.00 Alma Rosa Cellar Club

Alma Rosa Winery Website

2005 Fess Parker Syrah “The Big Easy”

Fess Parker 2005 Syrah Big Easy

2005 Fess Parker Syrah “The Big Easy”
USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley

Wine Rating: 90

Uncorked: 2009.08.02
Davis family patio – served with grilled tri-tip, sipped into the night

Improved after being open for an hour or so. Very big in the nose with dark fruit aromas, vanilla, and some earthiness. In the mouth it lives up to its name, “The Big Easy.” Big fruit, but not over-extracted. Juicy plum, cherry, and dark berry flavors with a bit of spice. Very well balanced flavors and mouth feel. Finishes with solid tanins, and the alcohol was subdued with some breathing time. I was pleasantly surprised that this came from the Fess Parker Winery — they’re producing some fine wines these days.

$40.00 Fess Parker Winery

Fess Parker Winery Website

2002 Pillitteri Estates Gamay Noir Family Reserve

Pillitteri Estates Gamay Noir

2002 Pillitteri Estates Gamay Noir Family Reserve
Canada, Niagara Peninsula

Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2009.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Wine Tastings
Monday, Wine No. 4

This is a generous wine in every way – lots of fruit, good aromas, full body, and a joy to drink. The color is dark ruby – it is very jewel-toned, including a bit of sparkle in the light. Spicy nose with black pepper, dark fruits, cocoa, and toasty oak. Lots of fruit at the front of the palate with black cherries, black currants, and dark stone fruit. It is almost juicy with the amount of ripe fruit flavors. The fruit is balanced by rich, toasty oak in both the nose and mouth that leaves hints of spice, tobacco, and campfire. The terroir of the Niagara Peninsula and its dark soil certainly comes through. Nice lingering finish with soft tannins. This one was a hit with the tasting group.

$32.99 purchased at the winery in 2007

2002 Kacaba Vineyards Meritage

Kacaba Meritage 2002

 2002 Kacaba Vineyards Meritage
Canada, Niagara Peninsula

Rating: 91

Uncorked: 2009.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Wine Tastings
Monday, Wine No. 5

Beautiful in the glass – very dark garnet, almost black in color. Big, round nose with lots of spice, ripe cherries, and plum aromas. Gorgeous in the mouth with rich waves of flavors: ripe plum, blackberries, warm spices, and a bit of earth. Round flavors and feel in the mouth with a nice, long finish. Solid tannins. Alcohol is beginning to balance with some bottle age. Perhaps better with another 5 years in the bottle. The group liked this wine very much.

$36.99 purchased at the winery in 2007