Domaine Chandon 2011 Carneros Clone 667 Pinot Noir

IMG_0964I have posted before about having a gift certificate to the restaurant at the winery at Chandon.  The restaurant closed and we were left with a gift certificate that had no value.  That is until we called the winery.  Chandon honored the gift certificate with wine.  What a great deal and we joined the wine club and doubled our value.

Sandra and I have had a few different bottles of Chandon’s wines.  I normally associate Chandon with sparkling wines.  They do some really nice sparkling wines.  The Pinot clones (They have several) are very good examples of what can be produced on the Napa valley floor.  We have enjoyed Pinot Nior’s clones 667 and 777.

To the wine:

The nose on this Pinot Noir was strong with dark cherry and muted plum notes.  I found the nose to be very nice and a good start to a good glass of wine.

The tasting phase.  During the tasting phase I received tobacco, and smoke.  I found this to be very different from the Pinot Noir’s from the Carneros area.  The tasting notes faded slowly.

The finish to this Chandon Carneros Pinot Noir had a small warmth to it.  There was a pull on he front of the tongue.  The finish stays with you for a while.  All and all, this was a nice finish to this wine.

Conclusion:  I like this wine and since we are in their wine club, I am sure we will be seeing more of this.

Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 4 2009

IMG_0962Sandra and I stopped by Beaulieu Vineyards tasting room (George de Latour) back around a year ago and were surprised to walk into a library vertical tasting of George de Latour.  We sampled George de Latour from the early 80’s to present.  This was a very interesting experience and we have never been able to sample vintages like that.  Both of us loved the experience, but vintage wines is not something we are going to invest in.  Since we were able to do the library tasting for no cost, it was an easy sale to join their wine club.  They just asked us to get a minimum of two wine shipments.  This bottle was part of one of those wine club shipments.

This bottle of Beaulieu Vineyards, Rutherford, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 4, stood out to us, when we tasted it at the winery.  Sorry for the choppy sentence.  What Clone 4 is, is a clone taken from Argentina and then grown in Rutherford AVA (Valley floor) in the Napa Valley.  Spoiler alert….this is a great bottle of wine.

To the wine:

Nose:  The nose on this Cabernet Sauvignon was full of plum and cherry notes.  I would rate the nose to be medium in intensity.  There was a hint of spice notes here.

Taste:  During the tasting phase I received plum and cherry notes with a very tangy spice notes.

Finish:  The finish of this Cabernet Sauvignon was full of fruit notes.  There was also a medium warmth to the finish that stayed with you.    The finish had a nice spice note and the finish was quality.

Alph Omega Malbec 2013

IMG_0954I am a huge fan of Alpha Omega winery.  I think that they are producing some of the best wine in the Napa valley.  Since Sandra and I are members of their wine club, this wine was picked up as part of a wine shipment.  We also both enjoy the grounds of Alpha Omega and if you get a chance, you should stop by.  This Malbec is a new varietal for Alpha Omega as per my understanding.  We sampled this wine at the winery and looked forward to enjoying it at home.

To the wine:

Noes.  The nose on this Malbec was light with berry and fruit notes.  This is not normal for a Alpha Omega wine.  Normally, Alpha produces “Statement” wines, with strong nose.  I would have liked a little more nose on this wine.

Taste:  During the tasting phase I experienced a berry and spice notes, that pull from the middle of the tongue.  The spice notes were very distinctive and welcomed.

Finish:  The finish on this Malbec left me with spice and fruit notes.  I also could sense the tannis in this wine.

Conclusion:  This may surprise you, since I am such a big fan of Alpha Omega, but I do not think this wine is up to the standards of Alpha Omega.  Now the bar is set very high for anything they produce, so I am not saying this is a bad bottle of wine.  I am saying just the opposite.  This is a pretty good bottle of wine, it just is not at the same level as the rest of the Alpha Omega wines.  Yes I am being picky here, but I am also being honest.

I look forward to going back to the winery and talking to them about this wine.  Maybe sample some more.

Stepping Stone By Corner Stone Cellars Syrah 2010

IMG_0944Corner Stone Cellars is a tasting room that Sandra and I have visited several times.  The other night we were looking for something good and dusted this bottle of 2010 Syrah.  The bottle was sourced at the tasting room and this trip was a really nice trip, as everything was available to taste.  They have a walk in cellar that is walled in with glass.  I noticed some wine that I have never seen before.  I made the simple statement of “if you let me taste it, I might just buy it.”  I did and everyone was happy that their expensive wines were open for sampling.  Good times.

To the wine:

Nose:  This Syrah had some very nice spice notes and nothing else.  Yep, all spice.  There was no detraction from the wine and I did not miss the fruit or strawberry notes.

Tasting Phase:  During the tasting phase I was pretty surprised.  I tasted this wine at the tasting room, but I never thought I would get spice, cherry and plum notes.  This was unique.

Finish:  the finish continued with the spice notes that stayed with me for a long time.  There was a strong warmth that I thought was a little aggressive, to the finish.  I did receive a slight plum note on the finish, but it was very lite.

Edmeades 2010 Zinfandel

IMG_0942This bottle of Edmeades 2010 Zinfandel, from the Samrock Vineyard, in Mendocino County, was sourced on our latest trip to Mendocino County.  We visited many wineries while we were up there and had a good time.  Edmeades is on a hill off the main drag and they had a few good bottles of wine.  We were tasting toward the later part of the day, so we were ready to be done for the day.  The tasting room was pretty interesting, because of the views and we were the only people in it.  The winery was well worth the visit and I do recommend dropping in for a tasting.

To the wine:

Nose:  The nose on this Mendocino Zinfandel was very lite, with spice notes.  I had to swirl vigorously to get a full sampling of the nose and the spice notes were interesting, in a good way.

Tasting Phase:  During the tasting phase I received a very lite strawberry notes and and a huge spice notes.  The spice notes were strong.  This created a very nice combination.

Finish:  The finish had a lite fruit notes, but the spice notes continue and stay with you.

Conclusion:  This was a pretty good bottle of wine.  When Sandra and I make it back up to Mendocino County, we will be stopping by for another tasting.  We will buy this wine again.

Terra d’oro 2012 Barbera Amador County

IMG_0937Sandra picked up this bottle of Terra d’oro 2012 Barbera, from Amado County in California, at our local grocery store.  The bottle stood out a bit and it looked good to her.  The price point on this wine was under $10, so it was worth the risk of buying it and hoping it was good.

To the wine:

Nose:  The nose of this Barbera, was full of strawberry and fruit notes.  The nose was medium in strength and was pleasant.

Tasting Phase:  During the tasting phase, I received  black current notes with a definitive spice note.  The depth of the tasting phase was pretty strong and was defined.

Finish:  The finish of this Barbera was best described, as a little complex.  I received spice notes and a very slight berry and cherry notes.  Nice finish.

Conclusion:  For an impulse buy, this was a pretty good bottle of wine.  At an under $10 price point, I cannot complain about anything.  Sandra and I would buy this again.

The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


Sandra and I mail ordered this bottle of The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.  We used and it was pretty easy.  Both Sandra and I like Hess wines and have been to the winery. Hess has a very eclectic art collection at the winery. The flaming typewriter was my favorite piece of art.

To the wine:

Nose:  The nose on this Cabernet Sauvignon was very light on the berry and cherry notes.  I had a hard time getting any nose from this wine.

Tasting Phase:  While tasting this wine I received blackberry and plum notes.  I normally do not get plum tasting notes from a Cabernet Sauvignon.  The berry notes were very strong.  How the tasting phase was so strong and the nose was so light, is a mystery to me.

Finish:  The finish of this wine on this Cabernet Sauvignon had blackberry and  plum notes.  The finish was very warm and stayed with me for a while.  The wine really pulls off the tongue and finished well.

Conclusion:  We would purchase this wine again.

Honoro Vera 2013 Granacha

IMG_0930Sandra picked up this bottle of Honoro Vera 2013 Granacha (Spain) at our local wine super store. Sandra admitted that the label is what attracted her to the wine.  We know nothing about Honoro Vera, so this was a risk.  We consider this bottle of wine to be a splurge purchase.  The wine cost around $9 US.  We were not expecting much, but we were surprised.

To the wine:

The Nose:  The nose on this wine was very light and had very nice strawberry notes.  I have not had many Spanish Granacha’s, but the nose on this wine was pretty nice.  Again, this is a $9 bottle of wine.

Tasting phase:  During the tasting phase, I experienced some very nice strawberry and cherry notes. The cherry notes were a surprise, but they are there.

The Finish:  The finish on this Honoro Vera 2013 Granacha was big and bold.  I received some very nice strawberry notes and a good amount of warmth.  The wine pulls hard from the middle of the tongue.  All and all

Conclusion:  This wine is a winner from multiple reasons.  First is the price point.  This wine is an inexpensive bottle of wine.  Well worth the price.  The second is that it pairs well with pretty much anything.  The wine had a nice finish and both Sandra and I enjoyed it.  We will pick up more of this wine.


Bella Grace 2010 Zinfandel

IMG_0936Ok, this is not a normal post.  Sandra and I really like to talk with the vintners in the wine isle of Cosco. We gambled regularly on the local wineries, as I think our support is important.  Who knows who might be reading these posts from a good search.

Bella Grace Winery winery is local to us (within 40 miles).  Amador country produces some pretty good wine.  I am still an Anderson Valley guy, but I can appreciate what is being produced in Amador country. The Zinfandel’s in this area are really good.

To the wine:

As I stated, this wine was sourced at Costco at a very good price, with help from a person who works at the winery.

Nose:  The nose had some distinct cherry notes with a light spice notes.  I considered the nose to be pleasant and not a wall flower.  It was there, just not super strong.

Taste:  The tasting phase  had cherry and strawberry notes.  I received a medium spice note, with good warmth.

Finish:  The finish has some distinctness.  The wine pulls from the middle of the tongue.  This produces a dryness the is pleasant and adds to the finish.  I received some good spice notes that really stayed with you.  The finish is warm and just like the spice notes, it stays with you for a while.

Conclusion:   This is a good bottle of wine, that paired well with the sausages we had that evening.

Noceto OGP 2010 Zinfandel


Sandra and I were guests of a wine tasting trip to Amador county, California.  The trip went through some of  the popular wineries of Amador County.  Amador has some great Zinfandels.  This is an area that we have not tasted in.  We stopped at the Nocento toward the end of our tasting trip.  The wineries of this area are very friendly and quite big.  Both Sandra and I were surprised.  This is an area that is not irrigated, the water comes from the ground water.  Roots go down on average 35 feet and the vines are not tressled.  This creates a situation where the vines takes care of them self and are not as clean in appearance as Napa Valley.

To the wine:

Nose:  This wine had a great strawberry nose with a nice spice note. The nose was not strong, but was just enough, to get the essence of this wine.

Tasting Phase:  While tasting this Zinfandel, I experienced a very nice strawberry notes.  The sweetness of this wine had a nice sweetness, that was not overly sweet.

Finish:  The finish of this wine was warm and had no sweetness.  The wine has an alcohol level of 15.5%, so this is a warm wine.

Conclusion:  Yes I would buy this wine again.  Amador terrior and stressed vines, makes some unique wines.  I like the stress that comes from non-irrigated vines.  I found the people working at the wineries to be very nice and helpful.  They are very interested in talking about their wines and there was no hint of assembly line processing.