Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pedroncelli Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfandel Celebrating 90 Years #PED90th


Another memorable tasting with the great folks at Pedroncelli Winery as the celebration of 90 years of making delicious affordable wines continues. Tonight along with a few friends across the country and the scoundrel duo of Ed St John and Robert Larsen, we tasted the 2015 Bench Vineyards Merlot followed by 2015 Block 007 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon then ending the evening with the 2015 Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel. The later paired with the lasagna recipe provided by the winery. All 3 are really nice wines and the comment "wowzer" may have been uttered after a few glasses (no singing but there is a relic of some "guy" holding a glass with a commemorative 90th Anniversary hat on).

Normally I would write about the history of the winery, the family involved in a post but since I have included in prior tastings lets change up things and talk about the vineyards and the wines themselves. For those wanting to revisit Celebrating 90 Years With Pedroncelli please click the link.

Starting with Bench Vineyard located in Dry Creek Valley. The location is perfect for growing and exactly the type of grapes needed to produce this luscious Merlot. The vines themselves were first planted in 1990 and over the next 5 years. Think about the maturity of vines 22 to 27 years old and the fruit they have produced over the years. The soil is gravely/rocky and the vineyard rises into the hillside. I picture these majestic rows of vines which have produced countless tons of grapes as I pour my glass of nectar. The 2015 Merlot grapes were harvested late August, cold soaked in stainless steel tanks for 48 hrs with daily pump overs and finally aged 11 months in American Oak. The nose  shows character with dark plum and spice with hints of red fruit and a faint nuance of oak. The mouth is full of rich fruit and succulent. Bold dark plum with a nice warm spice and hints of red berry clusters. Allow the wine to open and a nice vanilla toasty oak compliments the fruit. Gentle tannins on the finish. One you must taste.

Block 007 (Bond, James Bond but no connection I just like saying that with my hat on) located on the eastern bench of the vineyard, produces quality fruit each and every year. The block was planted in 1992 on the Scott Henry trellis system which allows the cordon arms to split into tiers with the top producing 3 ton and the bottom 2 ton. Another aged vineyard and starting to see a pattern as to quality and consistency. These grapes were harvested mid September, cold soaked 48 hrs and fermented in small temperature controlled steel tanks. Aged 16 months in French and American Oak barrels. The 2015 Cabernet nose shows nicely with blackberry and raspberry fruit followed by currants, dried herbs and a hint of earthiness. The mouth is full of ripe fruit with red raspberry, dark cherry and blackberry. Herbs and earthy notes intermingle with the fruit and the finish is long but very soft for a cabernet. A real beauty.

The Bushnell Vineyard located on the eastern hillsides of Dry Creek Valley on 22 acres, John Sr purchased this property in 1943 so it has been in the family fold for many years. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane have been planted on the property with Zin and Petite Sirah grown today. Grapes for this wine were harvested the first week in September, fermented in stainless steel tanks with daily pump overs to enhance color and flavor with aging 16 months in American Oak barrels. The nose exhibits clusters of dark fruit and cracked pepper spice with a hint of smokey oak. Full bodied with the dark fruit, pepper spice and big tannins. Let this open in the glass and the profile changes a bit where the fruit and layers of spice and oak becomes more defined. Paired so well with the lasagna.

A bit sad that this is the last taste up celebrating the 90 Years Of Pedroncelli. It has been wonderful tasting these hand picked wines and recipes. Ed, Julie and all the family thank you for a year long tasting of exquisite wines in your portfolio. Robert Larsen as always thank you for including me as well. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Make sure when in CA wine country a stop at Pedroncelli is on your list of tastings.

Cheers
Dan

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

2016 Attune Pinot Noir Rose Carneros Sonoma County


Sometimes you find these "hidden gem wines" or someone with excellent wine knowledge introduces you. In my case the latter is truth and thank you Martin Cody. If not for your vision and passion to bring small producers in touch with wine lovers across the country I would not even know Attune existed. Thank you Attune for making what I call "drop dead great juice."

Fans of Attune know the story which seems to be repeated over and over with small production boutique producers. Friends with a passion for wine share many a bottle with great conversation which leads to let's make wine. It may not be that simple but the results are the same. For Attune the story started with wine, a property which turned into a home and vineyard, which brought a winemaker who produces world class wines. Today's those friends are still the backbone of Attune Wines.

Meticulous about the fruit which represents each bottle of Attune, you will see the winemaker and vineyard workers dropping fruit not worthy. At harvest time, grapes are picked by hand, carefully brought to the winery to continue their journey eventually ending as "nectar of the gods." Once in the barrels, the juice will age and mature from 5-15 months finally reaching adulthood and bottled.

The 2016 Rose is easy on the nose with hints of young fresh cut rose pedals, cantaloupe, a faint hint of ripe cherry and a crisp citrus zest. So appealing to the senses and a lovey light coral hue. The mouth I agree explodes with juicy strawberry and fresh sliced apricots with hints of honeydew melon. Nice acidity and what a beautiful long juicy finish. A grand total of 165 cases produced.

Act fast my rose and wine loving friends as these wines will not last long!

Cheers
Dan



Thursday, September 7, 2017

2014 Campesino Cellars Syrah Los Carneros Las Madres Vineyard


It's harvest time in the valley and what better way to honor one of my favorite winemakers by opening his 2014 Los Carneros Syrah. When Macario and Griselda offer these wines, one must grab quickly. This particular varietal yielded a mere 50 cases.

Campesino Cellars owned by the dynamic duo of  Macario and Griselda Montoya, was born out of their love and experience with wine. Both grew up near the vineyards, experienced wine firsthand and have relatives who have worked in the industry. The Campesinos (fieldworkers) who they pay homage to are just as important to wine making as the winemaker themselves. See these field workers are in the vineyards nurturing no matter if the temp is 100 or freezing. While here to make a living, they also wish to make a better life for their family. I've watched them work the fields and truly amazed at their work ethic and dedication. So how was the wine you ask.....here we go.

Aromas of dark, red and blue fruit fill the nose with clusters of greatness. Ripe blackberry, red raspberry with hints of blueberry, black olives, wild violets and cinnamon spice. The mouth is medium bodied but allow the wine to open and the tannins are soft and delicate. Raspberry and blueberry followed by blackberry with hints of earth and leather. The finish is long and berry driven. Nicely done Macario. Your bottles never disappoint my palate.

Do not miss a chance to taste these wines. Sign up for their mailing list by clicking the link and filling out the form.  I can't wait to see what they are releasing this year!

Cheers
Dan

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Martin Ray Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir


*Samples Received*

Let's call these a couple screw cap beauties from Martin Ray Winery located in Santa Rosa Ca. Quality juice and very easy on the pocket book. They have wines which will please both the novice and the advanced palate.

I started off with the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley and immediately smiled as this nectar touched the lips. A citrus party to start with pineapple, passionfruit, hints of nectarine and lemon/lime zest. The nose says welcome to a tropical paradise my friends. The mouth is so juicy with the tropical fruits and a very distinct lemon zest finish. Clean refreshing and a wine you just might want to sip daily.

Second up the 2014 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley and for the 1000th time my favorite varietal (I have others but just something about good pinot). The nose exhibits aromas of bright cherry, orange peel, cola with hints of earthiness and cloves. The mouth is loaded with tart cherry, cranberry and hints of pomegranate followed by a splash of orange peel and spicy clove. Nice layers of both flavor and aroma. Nicely done here as well.

Stop by and pick up a few bottles of your own and taste the quality of Martin Ray Wine portfolio.

Cheers
Dan

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2013 Mulvane The Cypher Proprietary Red Napa Valley


Let me start by saying I would have never been introduced to this wine without Cellar Angels and their discovery of these boutique small production gems. If you enjoy wines with limited production, most only sold at the winery or on the winery website then join today. Sadly owner Rocco Califano due to a personal issue closed his winery. He only produced 50 cases of tonight's wine. I would have loved to taste his entire portfolio.

The nose is beautiful with ripe red berries, fresh black tea concluding with a nice earthy dried herb character. The mouth is fantastic with juicy cherry, a hint of raspberry and plum, a splash of dried cranberries along with a bold currant spice and mocha. For such a big wine the smooth finish is jaw dropping. Such a shame this wine will never be produced again.

Watch every Friday evening as Martin Cody brings you #NoDumpBucket live from the home office of Cellar Angels (more like the dining room table but who notices LOL) as he tastes and talks wine. Informational, interactive and a blast.

Cheers
Dan