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

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

CTS Wine Ministry 2009 – Overview

Wine Ministry

It was a great week at CTS with a community of friends, some good theological thoughts, and plenty of wine flowing. Thanks to all who participated in the fellowship of the overflowing chalice!

I will post a bit more information and reviews of each of the wines we tasted, but for now here is a listing of the four tastings we shared. Leave a note on this or the other postings to let me know your favorite wines as well as your memories of the week we shared. Check back soon for the wine notes…

Monday, July 6, 2009
Theme: Warming Up the Palates

1 – 2008 Total Depravity Riesling [Ohio/Washington] $priceless
2 – 2007 Clean Slate Riesling Shared by Stephen [Germany] $9.99
3 – 2007 Total Depravity Pinot Noir [Ohio/California] $priceless
4 – 2002 Pillitteri Estates Gamay Noir Family Reserve [Canada] $32.99
5 – 2002 Kacaba Vineyards Meritage [Canada] $36.99

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Theme: Vertical Tasting of California Rhone Varietals

1 – 2005 Zaca Mesa Syrah [California] $23.00
2 – 2004 Zaca Mesa Syrah [California] $23.00
3 – 2006 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $24.00
4 – 2005 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $24.00
5 – 2004 Gainey Vineyard Syrah Limited Selection [California] $38.00
6 – 2002 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $22.00

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Theme: The Variety of White Wines – Find One for Your Palate

1 – 2008 Black Mountain Pinot Grigio Shared by Stephen [California] $5.99
2 – 2008 Greenhough Sauvignon Blanc [New Zealand] $15.99
3 – 2007 Shoo Fly Buzz Cut (white blend) Shared by Lisa [Australia] $10.99
4 – 2006 Sonoma Vineyards Chardonnay (unoaked) [California] $14.99
5 – 2007 Newton Chardonnay Napa/Sonoma Counties [California] $18.99
6 – 2007 Domaine Pichot Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette [France] $14.99
7 – NV Botter Prosecco Vino Spumante [Italy] $14.99
8 – 2008 Ceretto I Vignaioli Santo Stefano Moscato d’Asti [Italy] $24.99

Bonus Wine:
9 – 2008 Project Happiness Chardonnay Shared by Bryan [California] $5.99

Preview of Thursday’s blending seminar:
10 – 2003 Clos du Bois Marlstone (Bordeaux style blend) [California] $39.99

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Theme: Bordeaux-Style Blending Seminar

Prelude
1 – 2008 Total Depravity Riesling [Ohio/Washington] $priceless
2 – 2008 Muga Rioja Rose [Spain] $12.99
3 – 2005 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donis Barrica Shared by ??? [Spain] $12.99
4 – 2006 Domaine “la Garrigue” Côtes du Rhône [France] $15.99
5 – 2007 Layer Cake Primitivo Zinfandel Shared by Lisa [Italy] $13.99
6 – 2006 Santa Rita Merlot Reserva Shared by ??? [Chile] $9.99

Samples of Bordeaux-Style Blends from Around the World
7 – 2001 Rosemount Traditional [Australia] $29.99
8 – 2001 Creekside Laura’s Blend Meritage [Canada] $18.99
9 – 2002 Chateau Peyre-Lebade (Rothchild) Bordeaux Haut-Medoc [France] $24.99
10 – 2006 Steltzner Claret [California] $16.99

Blending Wines (components of Bordeaux/Meritage):
11 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (barrel sample) [California] $23.00 (prerelease)
12 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Merlot (barrel sample) [California] $19.00 (prerelease)
13 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail
14 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Malbec (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail
15 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Petit Verdot (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail

Prize Wine & Finale Tasting:
16 – 2001 Le Sillage de Malartic Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan [France] $29.99

Extra – Just for Fun
17 – NV Riondo Prosecco (with a sliced strawberry in the glass!) [Italy] $12.99

2005 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz

2005 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz
Australia, South Australia

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2008.07.02
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Wednesday, Wine No. 3

We didn’t have the luxury of a decanter and that fact really diminished this wine. It is young, brash, and huge. It needed some breathing time and space to be tamed for our glasses, but we were impatient and forged ahead. This might be the strongest and most interesting Bin 389 in several years.

It is a beautiful color. Dark purple, almost like India ink. The aromas didn’t wait for the glass to reach the nose – bold fruit of black currants, blueberries, and ripe blackberries, smoky spices, and cooked fennel or licorice smells. The solid structure of the Cabernet (53%) and the exuberant fruitiness of the Shiraz (47%) meld together to make an enormous mouthful of wine. This is hearty stuff! It opens up in the mouth with spicy dark fruit, tobacco, leather, and hints of chocolate. Nice oak with cedar sweetness. The tannins are firm but not overpowering, and will certainly soften with good bottle aging. This wine will be spectacular in 10-12 years, and is really a bit young to drink for another couple of years.

This would be a great bottle of wine to start a collection with – buy it, hold on to it for a few years, THEN pop the cork and enjoy something really special.

$26.99 widely available

1997 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1997 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
United States, California, Napa Valley

Wine Rating:  90

Uncorked: 2008.04.06 – Brigid & Morgan Richardson visit to NE Ohio

Nicely bottle aged. Pretty ruby jewel color with no bronzing. Soft nose with dark berries, soft smokiness and toasted oak. In the mouth it was very smooth and richly balanced. Ripe cherry, plum, and blackberry. Some earthiness, tobacco, and smoky oak flavors. The fruit was integrated with the other flavors for good balance. The finish was a bit weak with velvety tannins.  This one benefited from nearly 9 years laying in the bottle.  A bit on the light side, but this is what a California Cab should taste like.

$30.00  (in 2000)

2002 Gainey Merlot Limited Selection

Gainey Merlot LS

2002 Gainey Merlot Limited Selection – California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley

Wine Rating: 90

Uncorked: 2007.08.19 – The Special Occasion of “Today”

See the note below about why I’m drinking this wine today. It’s a non-occasion special occasion!

I have to admit, Merlot is not my favorite varietal. Too often it is unexceptional and has become the “new pinot noir” for the masses. Gainey’s Merlot and Merlot Limited Selection defy that definition. This tastes like a wine that is “crafted” rather than “produced.” The color is stunning — ruby, almost garnet. The nose is interesting with intense dark berries, charred oak, and worn leather. In the mouth it is velvety with dark berries, licorace, and a slight minerality. It has a long, balanced finish with soft tanins and supple fruit. A very nice “special occasion” wine!

$35.00 Gainey Cellar Club

2004 Gainey Triada

Gainey Triada

2004 Gainey TriadaCalifornia, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley

Wine Rating:  92 points

Uncorked: 2007.01.01

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was sipping this wine while I cooked and had it with the main course, or whether it’s just a really good wine this time, but this is exactly what Triada ought to be! Nicely balanced with ample blackberry and pomegranite flavors. Medium-bodied with a soft finish. Was perfect compliment to the apple-cranberry-walnut stuffed pork tenderloin that I cooked…

$26.00  Gainey Wine Club

2004 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Patrick Lesec 2004 CdP

2004 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pierres Dorées – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Wine Rating:  96     wine advocate 91-94

2007.06.26 – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Exhuberant and elegant Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Dark ruby color. Gentle nose with clear fruit (dark cherry, blackberry, even raspberry) and leathery/smoky and cedar aromas. Explodes with layers of flavor in the mouth. Fresh cherries, plum, and sweet raspberries lead to an exquisite earthy finish with woody mushroom and dark oak flavors. Hints of light smoke and tobacco on the finish. Perfectly balanced tannins. Smooth and round feel in the mouth. A real treat to drink and a great bargain for a CDR.

$32.99  Sherlocks Wine Merchant, Atlanta, GA