Here are the noteworthy wines of Summer/Fall 2014!
Van Ruiten Family Winery 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel
Hand picked from head-trained vines on Lodi’s east side, this wine exhibits powerful aromas of cedar and plum. On the palate, this wine is luscious and juicy with layers of currants, black cherries, and sweet tobacco. It was aged in American Oak to round out the mid-palate and soften tannins. A touch of Ancient Vine Carignane brightens the fruit flavors and adds a touch of dustiness to the finish.
The Lucas Winery 2011 ZinStar Zinfandel
Born in the 80-year-old ZinStar certified organic vineyard, ZinStar is 100 percent unblended and hand-harvested Zinfandel. The 2011 vintage reflects a cooler-thanaverage growing season and the good hang time it can bring. It was definitely a year when Mother Nature had her say and helped create a dark, voluptuous wine that nearly broke the ZinStar mold. Aged 14 months in French Oak for years of enjoyment.
This convivial Southern Rhône style blend is fragrant with spices and heavenward with flavor. The trio of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre produces both wild and polished notes of strawberries, blackberries, and cassis. Mesquite and kirsch accentuate the mid-palate and fine, but sustained tannins hold the profile together, giving way to a smooth texture. An exquisite finish with hints of black tea and ganache.
Here’s how Winemaker John Kane describes this inky black wine: “It offers the double whammy of ancient, old vines and rugged, mountain character.” The wine opens with a powerful combination of dark fruits and fragrant smoky-spice aromas. Blackberry and cassis dominate the palate, layered by black pepper, tobacco, and oak. The tannins are firm, holding the decadent flavors into a long and luscious finale.
Harney Lane Winery 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel
Beautifully balanced, this concentrated Old Vine Zinfandel offers lush aromas of raspberry jam, anise, and fig compote. Sourced from Harney Lane’s 110-year-old estate vineyard, the wine is structured with deep, sweet flavors of currants, nutmeg, and warm cinnamon. Lizzy James is an elegant wine from a cooler vintage that will age gracefully. Gold Medal 2014 American Fine Wine Competition.
Vina Robles 2010 Suendero
Suendero (swen-dé-ro) is a Meritage bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Its name celebrates the wine’s origins amid the magical terrain of Adelaida Springs Ranch in the rugged coastal mountains west of Paso Robles. The ranch’s small vineyard is planted in calcareous soils, and touched by reliable marine breezes. Blueberry and cedar with hints of spice and rich tannin textures ideal for aging.
Dutcher Crossing Winery 2012 Maple Vineyard Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
Some of the best grapes grown in the Dry Creek Valley were used to craft this dense, seductive wine. Its aromas have a strong core of black cherry and red fruit highlighted with elegant vanilla notes. Some spice and white pepper are also at work here. On the palate, velvety fruit and barrel spice accent the youthful acidity. This wine will only get better as age allows it to come into its own.
Westerly Wines 2010 Fletcher’s Red, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Structured and balanced, the 2010 Fletcher’s Red is a beautiful example of why the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA is quickly becoming recognized as a perfect place to grow Bordeaux grape varieties. Composed of 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 percent Merlot, 23 percent Petit Verdot, and 4 percent Cabernet Franc. Rich layers of dark black will evolve with time. Drink at its peak from 2015 through 2020.
Wente Vineyards was the first California winery to produce a wine labeled as Chardonnay in 1936 and Riva Ranch Vineyard has been growing Chardonnay since the 1960s. This vintage has a rich, golden color and aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, honey, cinnamon, and light floral notes, balanced by subtle oak, butter, and vanilla from barrel aging. It has a round mouthfeel and a long, fruity finish.
An intriguing white blend, The Whip is Murrieta’s Well’s tribute to the great white blends of the world; a sophisticated yet approachable blend of aromatic white grapes. This carefully crafted wine was fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and neutral barrels. It displays full-bodied aromas and flavors of white peach, honey, butterscotch, and jasmine with an extended and balanced finish.
This ideal summer sipper is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir “free run” juice that has naturally pressed in the picking bins. It’s a beautiful wine—juicy and succulent with just the right amount of bright acidity and aromas and flavors of strawberry, fennel, vanilla, watermelon, and spring bouquets. Enjoy as an aperitif, with cheese platters, Mediterranean cuisine or during a summer picnic or barbeque.
With the release of this exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, the Mettler family honors 100 years and five generations of farming in Lodi. The size of the crop, the time spent on the vine, and the many months aged in French oak barrels all reflect the care the family took to fully express the potential of these very small and unique portions of their vineyards, each planted and trellised to suit its site.
Anaba Wines 2011 Turbine White, Sonoma Valley
Sourced from two family-owned vineyards, this wine, composed of Roussanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc, has dominating floral notes of orange blossom and white flowers that are countered with aromas of fresh stone fruits and subtle steeliness. The wine fills the palate with flavors of almond, lemon meringue, pear, and a hint of wet slate. It is mouth watering and juicy with a surprisingly long finish.
By breaking tradition and blending the best of Bordeaux and Rhône, this wine was created. Aromas of vanilla, ripe blackberries, mocha, and walnuts accompany lively flavors of fresh red fruit, black cherries, and bittersweet chocolate. The firm structure and strong finish ensures that this unconventional blend will age beautifully for many years. Chorum pairs with foods that are as rich and flavorful as the wine.
Complex layers of Bing cherry, Burgundy plum, and blueberry, with hints of green tea and sun-warmed rose, weave through the aromas and silky flavors of the Acacia Lone Tree Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir. Lone Tree Vineyard provides a selection of Pinot Noir clones to this wine’s beautiful array of flavors, while its vibrant, balanced acidity comes from the cool, foggy climate of the Los Carneros region.
Castello Di Amorosa 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Don Thomas Vineyard
Don Thomas Vineyard lies in the rolling hills that define the Western border of Rutherford in the Napa Valley. The impeccable fruit from this sought after hillside vineyard was handcrafted by Winemaker Brooks Painter into a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon of purity and opulence. At every point in the life of this limited release wine, special consideration was given to showcase its unique terroir.
Harvested at optimal ripeness, this wine leaps from the glass with an intriguing mix of strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry flavors layered with pepper and Chinese five spice. These aromatics lead to a richer palate, textured with layers of ripe red fruits overlapping complex spices derived from fine French oak. Opulent yet fine, this wine will cellar for a decade or at least until the next dinner party.
This exclusive bottling of Chenin Blanc comes from a venerable, head-trained vineyard planted in 1919 on Chalone’s isolated mountain estate. This truly amazing Chenin Blanc brims with juicy pineapple and Fuji apple. Jasmine and mineral notes add complexity, while balanced acidity focuses the flavors and enlivens the finish. Crisp and dry, it pairs deliciously with pan-Pacific fusion and Thai dishes.
Known for taking the road less traveled, Michael David Winery has always stood apart from the crowd, and this wine showcases just that. The fruit for this brute of a Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the original “super freak,” Michael Philips Vineyard. This big, juicy, full-bodied wine saturates the mouth with abundant notes of roast espresso, melted chocolate, and cassis. 89 points, Robert Parker.
Tò Érgon means “the work” or “the deed.” This Reserve Series wine is the ultimate expression of the low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines on Berger Vineyard, located next to the famed Laurel Glen Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. Intensely dark in color, an alluring bramble character, and concentrated in the mid-palate. A broad-shouldered, rich, muscular wine. Aged more than 24 months in barrel.
Hahn Estate 2012 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
Hahn’s SLH vineyards are planted on a narrow bench at elevations from 200 to 1,200 feet. Here, the morning sun is plentiful and the soils drain beautifully, helping to create concentrated fruit flavors. This Pinot offers soft tannins, delicious plum and cherry aromas and flavors, a hint of allspice, and an underpinning of earth. Without a doubt, the defining feature is its irresistibly silky, velvety texture.