Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kramer Vineyards Single Block Pinot Noir Virtual Wine Tasting

Kimberley Kramer winemaker periodically holds virtual tastings showcasing Kramer Vineyards Wines. A 2 hour block was scheduled to discuss 2 of her 2010 single block Pinots.....Rebecca's Reserve and Cardiac Hill with several wine lovers across the country. Kim in my opinion is one of the best when it comes to engaging her audience. We talked at great length about soil characteristics, vine spacing, climate, harvest, location of the vineyards and the evolution of the wines. You can really tell she loves her job and understands the technical aspects of wine making. Not a dull moment in the whole time slot.

We started with the Rebecca's Reserve a 100 case production from vines planted in 1992. The spacing on these vines are 4x4 and with the increase in vine density comes stress resulting in unique characteristics in the wines.  The wine was aged 18 months in french oak prior to bottling. A nice lively nose on this wine that kept changing as the air opened the wine up. We commented how the fruit to spice dominant aromas kept reversing over the 2 hrs of tasting. As I first opened the wine earthy characteristics along with the bing cherries fills the nose. Continue to swirl and raspberry, plum with a big cassis notes followed by cloves/cola. Like I described before 30 minutes into the taste the aromas flipped and the spice was dominant and wait another 30 and back to the fruit coming to the front. The wine was very delicious. Cherry, raspberry with hints of earthiness along with the cloves. Towards the middle even a hint of herbs (thyme) along with plum. Nice long finish. I kept going back to this wine and like the aromas the flavors also flipped more towards spice dominant. The wine is good now and you can cellar for 10 years (I'm lucky to let wine age a year due to no patience) and lets see how many of you can allow that to happen. Great start to the evening.

Hour 2 brought us to the Cardiac Hill another 100 case production wine with the vineyard named for the steep clay hillside where the grapes are grown. The wines from this site tend to be floral and elegant. I would agree with my fellow participants that this wine was the more aromatic with the ripe red cherry and wild violets notes. As the wine was introduced to more air fresh cut rose pedals and hint of forest along with  red raspberries/dark licorice made an appearance. The floral and fruit character of this wine was so pleasing and then toss in some spice and you could swirl and sniff this baby all night. The flavor was equally outstanding with loads of fresh cherry, raspberry followed by cola and spice notes. Still get a little hint of the earthiness with this wine as well but the finish with all that is going on complexity wise, is soft and elegant. Really beautiful bottle of wine. Guess what.... this one can age for 10 years too (insert again Dan has no patience).

Great wines start in the vineyard and these 2 bottles this evening were no exception. There is a lot of handcrafted love in each wine and bravo to Kim both in her wine making skills and customer engagement. Her passion comes out loud and clear as she talks about the wines produced and the vineyards which allow these super delicious wines. I believe my comment "Kramer Vineyards produces drop dead delicious wines" was very appropriate for this evenings taste. Or as my buddy Dezel Quillen would say "It's OMG juice" Kim thanks again for including me in tonight's discussion. I learn so much from these sessions and instills my love of small production wine. Stop by and visit with Kim and the staff and see for yourself what many of us are enjoying.


Monday, November 18, 2013

2002 Eric Ross Russian River Valley Saralee's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Just what the doctor ordered to bring me out of the fog I was in. Over the last couple months I've just been drinking wine, not giving much thought to the grapes or the winemaker, how the wine aged or even where it originated. One email I received asked if I had given up tasting and sharing my thoughts. No inspiration maybe, or just a chance to step back and evaluate why I started this blog, who reads it and why. So I surfed the cellar and grabbed the oldest bottle of Pinot Noir I owned a 2002 Eric Ross RRV.

I imagine your asking yourself how can a Pinot be 11 years old and still drinkable. After all shouldn't one drink them up to 4 years past their birth? When you know the winemaker and the quality of the wine they produce, opening an aged bottle is a treat.

First thing I notice is the color. Deep maroon as if the wine was just bottle 6 months ago. Black cherry and cranberry with huge cola and cinnamon notes treat the nose. Hint of dried herbs and plum. Amazing how the fruit and spice blend so well together to create this beautiful bouquet even after all these years.

Eric Ross is why you should drink small production wine. Cherry and tart cranberry with crushed clove and cinnamon. Plum and cola notes round out the soft finish. Still shows an elegant character and a nice complexity. The wine has aged nicely Eric. Well done.

I want you to open the oldest bottle you own and treat yourself this week. Let's see who wins the "I drank the oldest bottle this week" contest. Make it a small production wine will you.