Tasting Notes Week of January 5, 2011


Aurielle 2008

A very smooth and well balanced California cab marked with “restraint” in terms of keeping med+ acid, smooth tannins, richly concentrated fruit in balance. The use of oak is only apparent from its benefit in terms of giving oxygen to the wine (new french oak and used). Lots of Bordeaux cherry, some zesty cranberry, and interesting layers of flavor.

N.V. Pommery Champagne POP Earth (France, Champagne)

bubbles: gorgeous, fast moving, tiny … beautiful to behold
nose: med+ intensity, brioche, toasty, very delicious
palate: dry … seems like at least under five grams/litre RS, possible just 2 or 3, acid is med tannin is low body is med alc is 12 estimate finish is med with minerals, citrus notes, hazelnut skin …

Style note: The gorgeous light gold color, fountain of bubbles, and aroma make a gorgeous presentation. The palate is medium bodied with citrus as well as brioche and baked apple. Good with dessert. By Josh Raynolds
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, December 2009
(NV Pommery Pop Earth Brut) ($55; made from sustainably grown grapes; L91870) Bright yellow with a strong bead. Orange rind and green apple aromas are straightforward and fresh. Juicy orchard fruit flavors become drier in the middle palate and pick up a hint of white pepper. Pleasantly bitter and refreshing, with good finishing clarity, spiciness and a slightly hard edge. This wine has a dosage of 10 g/l, which is far lower than that of the other current Pop bottlings. 87 points

Wilson Winery Carl’s Vineyard 2009 Zinfandel

Interesting story about this spicy delicious Zinfandel … the vineyard is named after Ken Wilson’s father, an electrical engineer … a vineyard named after his mother, Dorothy, is nearby. The wine is very well made, medium-bodied yet rich and extremely well balanced at the same time, with layers of flavor and a medium + finish. Perfect with grilled lamb.

596 Cases, $34

2009 Black-Sears Vineyard Zinfandel Howell Mountain V. Sattui Vineyard

Coming from the highest vineyard in the Howell Mountain sub appellation, this gets more sunlight yet has cooler mountain air, so the wine is full and rich yet has bracing acidity and a long finish. The rocky porous volcanic soils provide excellent drainage.

Winemaking: Grapes de-stemmed without crushing the berries, fermented in stainless steel, racked to French oak barrels and aged for 18 months. Only 329 cases produced $42. Wine is extremely well balanced without being too jammy, very elegant with lots of finesse. $42

2009 Crow Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel Russian River, V. Sattui Vineyard

White chalk soil from volcanic ash deposits is one of the more unique aspects of the terroir. The wine is very old world in style, with excellent balance, med+ acidity, and med+ length. Aged 18 months in 20% new American oak and 70% new and seasoned French/American oak. 727 cases produced. Delicious. $37.

2009 Quaglia Vineyard Zinfandel St. Helena V. Sattui Vineyard

This plot used to be where Italian growers planted “field blends” and you can still detect some Petite Sirah and Carignane in this delicious spicy wine. This was barrel-aged for 18 months in both new and seasoned American and French oak barrels. 446 cases produced. $39.



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