21 Jun 2010
Some of the best Rieslings I’ve ever had were tasted last week! I say that with the disclaimer that I’ve had Riesling from Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and a few from Germany. I’m not a Riesling authority, but from what I know about wine, from what I understand of my palate, from what I tasted, the six New York Finger Lakes Rieslings presented during #FLXwine were top notch in consistency, quality, clarity, balance, and flavor! What I find odd is that when I traveled 2800 miles to the largest city in the US, no one had Finger Lakes wine on the menu. None of the three wine bars we visited showcased their state. These wines had to travel 2800 miles to me. Because of our nations screwed up distribution system, I’ll be hard pressed to ever see any here in Spokane, but trust me, I’ll ask around!
The #FLXwine tasting was organized by New York champions Lenn Thompson and Evan Dawson. According to stats from WTHashtag.com there were over 600 tweets by 80+ people. I was honored to be one of the few representing from the West Coast. The wines were graciously provided by six Finger Lakes region wineries. With over 100 wineries sandwiched between Syracuse and Rochester, Finger Lakes is putting New York on the map for fine wine. Visit www.fingerlakes.org for all kinds of info on the area. Stay connected to www.newyorkcorkreport.com winery stories, wine tastings and info on all of New York’s wine regions.
The video is a quick snapshot of the tasting. You’ll get my initial reactions to the wine including color, aroma and flavor. I’ve also included my tasting notes and score for each wine below. I highly encourage you to seek out the ones that would fit your likes. Each of the wines was on the dry to medium dry side.
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling (estate grown); aged in stainless steel, 1% residual sugar, 12%ABV
- The Swirl: Pale honey color with great yellow diamond and pearl tones
- The Sniff: Slightly shy nose that came out to play as the wine warmed up closer to room temperature. Hints of petrol and minerals on the nose with a subtle citrus note.
- The Sip: The palate is intriguing and complex. Quite a bit happening from the range of a palate puckering lemon zest to wet stone and even a touch of lemonade in a can (with the steely aspects). The acidity is strong but leaves me feeling slightly off balance. Finish trails off leaving my mouth feeling tart.
- The Score: At $30 the wine is a good complex Riesling that would most likely show well in another 3-4 years. I’m very interested to see how all the flavor components will mature and blend together over time. I score this wine a 3+ out of 5 but strongly encourage a food pairing if drinking now.
Overheard on Twitter
|MattArlauckas:||Fox Run Reserve ’08 acidity caught me a bit off-guard, like testing a battery with your tongue. #flxwine|
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling, .3% residual sugar, 12.5%ABV, 1200 cases made
- The Swirl: Beautiful light yellow honey color, very clean and clear.
- The Sniff: Imagine you’re walking through a clothesline filled with freshly washed linen sheets blowing in the breeze. The fabric softener used had a hint of lemon in it. Throw in some river rock aroma and you have the nose of this wine.
- The Sip: A very nice balanced mix of soft grapefruit, pear, apple, and a hint of lemon zest. The acidity is perfectly balanced and leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and not tart.
- The Score: At $16 (incorrectly listed in the video), this wine delivers on both the quality and value fronts. A solid effort with a score of 4 out of 5. I highly recommend this wine for summer sipping or pairing with shellfish, halibut, lobster, crab, spicy fair, etc.
Overheard on Twitter
|vcuspoon:||Ravines Riesling = arrowhead found in a riverbed with fresh squeezed lime juice drizzled on top #flxwine|
Scored 90pts in Wine Spectator
2006 Sheldrake Point Reserve Riesling
- The Stuff: 100% estate Riesling, .6% residual sugar, 12.2%ABV only 291 cases produced
- The Swirl: Lighter in color than traditional Riesling. Reminiscent of water with a hint of lemon coloring. Clean and crisp!
- The Sniff: Soft aromas on the nose with beautiful apples, orange blossoms and linen. Very floral.
- The Sip: Nice complexity as the wine is starting to show the age ability that Rieslings can demonstrate. A great soft feel in the mouth with a hint of sweetness on the tip of the tongue that quickly jumps to a wonderful expression of green tea, apples and almonds. The finish showcases a perfectly balanced acidity with hints of orange and herbs.
- The Score: This wine has me transfixed on what Riesling can be in New York. A highlight of my tasting line-up, the wine scores 4 out of 5 ($26). If you can find this wine at under $20 buy a case.
The 2006 Sheldrake Point Reserve Riesling is a showcase of quality for Finger Lakes Riesling. A balance of complex green tea, tart apple, almonds and herbs pair perfectly with a crisp acidity that leaves you longing for another sip. $26 (4 out of 5)
Overheard on Twitter:
|swirlsipsnark:||wow – not used to tasting orange in wine – but really digging the novel experience with this sheldrake #flxwine|
Cellar Tracker Scores of 87 pts
Wine Spectator Score of 87 pts
2009 Lamoreaux Landing Yellow Dog Riesling
- The Stuff: No detail provided other than 100% Riesling; 11.8%ABV
- The Swirl: A very light pale honey and lemon color. Seems to present slightly more viscosity
- The Sniff: Ouch, I just got smacked in the nose with peaches. After wiping the peach juice away more undertones of sweet pears and slight steel.
- The Sip: More fruit forward and presents itself being slightly more sweet but still on the dry side. Feels more full bodied in the mouth. A good flavor of passion fruit and minerality with medium acidity. Simple, straight forward wine.
- The Score: Provides a great nose and good flavor but lacks the complexity that is notorious with Riesling. At $20 still earns a solid quality score of 3+ out of 5
Overheard on Twitter:
|Evandawson:||This LL is an obstreperous, recalcitrant child. Acerbic, but then sweet. Young, over-eager. Will mature|
2007 Heron Hill Riesling
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling from Ingle Vineyard, 1.44% residual sugar, 12%ABV
- The Swirl: Very light in color with only a hint of yellow hue
- The Sniff: Distinct petrol and a hint of mint. The sniff presented a slight tinge on the upper register of my nose. Not sure what caused it, possible alcohol or sulfur.
- The Sip: A fantastic display of character on this wine. Wonderful flavors of honey, granola, and peach make for a very enjoyable experience. A touch of sweetness balanced with good acidity make this an elegant mouth feel that begs for more.
- The Score: At only $15, another fantastic display of quality and value from Finger Lakes. Easily the best Riesling I’ve had from the region scoring a 4+ out of 5.
The 2007 Heron Hills Riesling is a lesson in quality and value for the region. Classic Riesling aromas of petrol, mint, and citrus translate into elegant medium-dry flavors of honey, granola and peach. A fantastic showcase that scores 4+ out of 5 ($15)
Overheard on Twitter:
|canapes45:||RT @pinotblogger: Heron Hill! Wow petrol. I’m smitten. Perfumy fruit balancing it. Off dry, great acid, long finish. Price is right. A fav! #flxwine|
Cellar tracker score of 88
2009 Swedish Hill Riesling
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling, 2.5% residual sugar, 12%ABV, 900 cases produced
- The Swirl: Pearls, champagne and pale honey colors
- The Sniff: Reserved nose that lacks clear distinction of aroma (even at close to room temperature). Slight floral aroma with moderate undertones of sweet peach
- The Sip: A crowd favorite due to the moderate sweetness. Fantastic sipping wine that has nice flavors of peach and a hint of spicy white pepper and citrus. The acidity provides a nice balance to the sweetness and is overall a solid medium dry wine for those that want a hint of sweet.
- The Score: Balance is the name of the game here. What the wine lacks in aroma, it makes up for in flavor and balance. A fantastic deck wine to cool off with on a hot New York night. I score this wine 3+ out of 5 (price not known).
Overheard on Twitter:
|nectarwine:||I’ve got to say, I’m completely and totally impressed with #flxwine – You popped my NY cherry tonight and I shall never forget you!|
16 Jun 2010
Exploring new wine is one of the greatest joys of being a wine lover. When it comes to beer, 90% of the beer sold in the US is Bud, Coors and Miller. There are about 1500 breweries in the US, but there are more than 4000 wineries and each of them produces several grape varieties and blends. To top it off, each year the process starts over again with new vintages and the subtleties that come with the new year. Possibly 250,000 different wine products are produced annually. You could drink a case of different wine every day and still only make it through 5000 of those products in a year. Are you up to the challenge?
Olson Ogden is a small winery in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Olson Ogden is a partnership of veteran wine maker Tim Olson, marketing professional John Ogden, and former AOL communications and marketing manager Margaret Ryan. Olson Ogden produces Pinot Noir and Rhone varietals with emphasis on single vineyard Syrah (1200 cases per year).
- The Stuff: 100% Marsanne; 17 months in Stainless Steel and French Oak; 14.7%ABV; 144 cases
- The Swirl: Light golden honey with a thick viscosity
- The Sniff: A bouquet of flowers, peaches and stone fruit. Very lively and fragrant
- The Sip: Open up, squeeze in a honeydew melon, add three drops of peach concentrate juice and finish it off with a twig. The 17 months in 28% new oak come through with a creamy spice and oak. The mouth feel is full and rich.
- The Score: At $35 this is a very dynamic wine with a huge amount of flavor. The price may put it out of reach for the average drinker but I can comfortably score this wine a 4 out of 5.
The Olson Ogden Marsanne is a refreshing departure for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc drinkers. If you’re looking for something new to explore, enjoy the rich complexity of aroma and flavor that is found in Margaret’s Mandate. You’ll enjoy semi-sweet peach, stone fruit and a hint of spiced wood with a creamy lingering finish. Pair with scallops, mild creams sauce, and liver pate.
- The Stuff: 100% Manchester Ridge Pinot Noir; aged 17 months in 44% new French oak; 14.2%ABV, 112 cases produced
- The Swirl: Burnt crimson color slightly watery toward the edges. The color looks aged (even though the vintage is 2008)
- The Sniff: An earthy presentation of prunes and boysenberry fruit. There was a little hint of Christmas tree on the nose too.
- The Sip: Definitely not your cherry cola Pinot Noir. I love the maturity of flavor that this wine offers. I can immediately pairing this with lamb, turkey, ham and more. The flavors in the wine seem to provide a huge variety with each sip. They range from subtle spice to bacon, smoke, stewed tomatoes, and cranberry. There is a slight off minerality on the finish that leaves me a little longing.
- The Score: I love the complexity of flavor that this wine has to offer. The food pairing potential is endless. At $38 this is a fairly affordable Pinot and scores 3+ out of 5.
- The Stuff: 13% Grenache, 6% Marsanne, 12% Pinot Noir and 69% Syrah aged 17 months in 44% French oak; 14.5%ABV; 1406 cases produced
- The Swirl: Dark cherry color with deep purple tones. Complex jewel tones with color trending to pink hues along the edge.
- The Sniff: Elegant aroma of smooth red fruit, slight oak, and milk chocolate. To achieve this aroma, decanting is recommended. The initial aroma of the wine was heavy oak and cork initially out of the bottle.
- The Sip: The nose deceived me. I hate when that happens. The flavors were more thin on the palate and presented weak dark fruit, black tea and subtle cocoa. A decent acidity brightens up the finish saving this wine from being disappointing.
- The Score: At only $19 this is a quality offering from Sonoma that brings a good amount of flavor and character. I score it 3 out of 5.
*Wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
14 Jun 2010
Don’t be such a sissy, it’s okay to drink pink wine! In fact if dudes were smart, they would jump on board the pink parade for one reason…the ladies dig pink. We’re not talking about your sweet and fruity Sutter Homes White Zinfandel kind of pink, we’re talking real, masculine, dry, flavorful, intense Rose of Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and more. Gaining an appreciation for pink will open up your palate to a whole new tasting experience.
Rosé is made from red wine grapes. The most common method of production is leaving the skin in contact with the juice for 2-3 days and then discarded as fermentation continues. The skin imparts a pinkish (sometimes salmon or orange) color to the juice. Dry rosé tends to provide a much more sophisticated taste because there is little to no residual sugar. Rosé makes a perfect spring time and summer sipping wine because it is refreshing, crisp, and light. The perfect accompaniment to a day at the beach, lake, or…on a boat!
I recently participated in a rosé tasting with Paul Gregutt and Randall PR. Paul is the Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and writes weekly columns for the Seattle Times. While Paul and several wine writers tasted through eight dry rosé from a houseboat in the Puget Sound, the event was broadcast live over the internet including great interaction through tweets and TasteLive.com
I received three of the eight wines being tasted and added one more to make for a beautiful bouquet of blossoming aroma and flavor. Listening to Paul and his guests talk through the wine tasting was quite a treat. It is pretty clear to see why Paul is such a respected member of the wine community.
Things overheard on the Twitter Machine
|SeattleWineGal:||On the boat at #WARose trying not to laugh at the Ride The Ducks noises. Listen hard to hear the occasional quacking!|
|clivity:||Tyler I’m as masculine as they come & I drink #warose like its my job|
|RandallPR:||James Mantone: “this #Rosé is in direct response to our fascination with hedonistic country wines?” http://tiny.cc/vxlvi #WARose|
|nectarwine:||Paul keeps talking about lipstick for #warose. Is there something we should know about @paulgwine?|
|winebeerWA:||Winemakers in the room nodding in agreement that making rose wine is more technically difficult than white and red wines #WARose|
|imonaboat:||TWEET! #imonaboat:-> Oh my #WARose party is getting crazy with I’m on a boat. Yes I am talking crazy and looking at … http://ow.ly/17H087|
- The Stuff: 100% Rose from Sangiovese from Stone Ridge Vineyard
- The Swirl: Strawberry rhubarb color with average clarity
- The Sniff: Light scents of under-ripe strawberry and hints of peach.
- The Sip: Trying not to overuse the stereotype strawberry flavor, this wine comes across as a very bold offering with a fantastically long and crisp finish. Other flavors of peach and white flowers grace the tongue prior to being whisked away by the ample acidity.
- The Score: At $17, the Skylite Rosé is full of flowery fruit and strawberry spice. I can score this wine a 3+ out of 5 and would certainly recommend it.
2009 Barnard Griffin Rosé
- The Stuff: 100% Sangiovese; 12.4% ABV
- The Swirl: Light amethyst in color with shimmering jewelry quality. Also seems to display a slight effervescence of bubbles that dissipate a few minutes after the pour.
- The Sniff: A restrained strawberry with white pepper on the nose. Very reminiscent of a raspberry flavored tootsie pop (similar to that in color too).
- The Sip: At first taste I picked out a tart orange rind flavor that lightly gave way to a wash of cantaloupe and other melons. The effervescence continued in the mouth reminding me of strawberry flavored Nerds candy. A hint of residual sugar gives just a small touch of sweetness.
- The Score: At only $12, this is some serious QPR summer drinking. While the flavor is not as intense in the other Rosé tasted, I score this a solid 3+ out of 5 for value.
While eight wines in total were reviewed and the entire program will hopefully be uploaded to the Randall PR YouTube channel, the last two of my Rose tastings were tasted by Paul Gregutt and Sean Sullivan of WAWineReport.com. I embedded this video below so you could see these two Washington Wine powerhouses at work.
2009 Waters Winery Rosé
- The Stuff: 75% Syrah from estate vineyards and 25% Viognier. The two were co-fermented; 185 cases produced
- The Swirl: Pale orange hue with salmon color infusions. Elegant color with eye catching clarity
- The Sniff: An orchestra of beautiful flavors with solo performances by tropical flowers, light sweet perfume, and peaches.
- The Sip: As I mentioned in the video, this wine could potentially be mistaken for a white wine in a blind tasting challenge. The Syrah makes an appearance by presenting a nice round light sweet strawberry and firm finish that shows a beautiful hint of white chocolate. Other flavors are a subtle tart presentation of rhubarb and flowers.
- The Score: At $18 this was the first bottle to be emptied. I score it a 4 out of 5.
The 09 Waters Winery Rosé is as stunningly beautiful on the palate as it is on the eyes. The mix of light orange and salmon colors will dance in the sunlight of a hot summer day by the water. The crisp and abundant flavors of tart rhubarb relax to a gentle wash of juicy strawberries and tubarose flowers. A sophisticated dry wine to cool down a hot summer day.
2009 Dusted Valley Ramblin’ Rosé
- The Stuff: 52% Mourvedre, 29% Counoise, 16% Syrah, 2% Viognier; 14.2% ABV; 273 cases produced; Screw cap enclosure
- The Swirl: More jewelry in a glass with this Rosé. Subtle orange and salmon hues provide richness to the glass.
- The Sniff: Very dynamic nose with aromas of sweet strawberry, raspberry, and steely minerality.
- The Sip: Very soft and balanced with a flavor that starts with flowers and opens up to raspberry. The finish is dry without being tart, but the wine seems to lack some acidity. A lot of fruit flavor without coming off like candy.
- The Score: At $18, the flavor and aroma of the Ramblin’ Rose are dynamic and forward. I score it 3+ out of 5. The seeming lack of acidity knocked this down from being a 4. Pick this wine up for under $15 and you have yourself a bargain.
Bonus pic with Clive Pursehouse “on a boat”
* Wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
25 May 2010
Spokane’s Barrister Winery has released four new wines for 2010. These new releases are a showcase for why Barrister is getting worldwide attention for their consistency of quality, character, structure, and flavor. When co-owner and co-winemaker Greg Lipsker asked if I was interested in previewing the new releases, I had to calm myself before answering with a resounding YES! Greg and Mike are responsible for some of my favorite wines. Their Rough Justice blend was my January wine of the month.
Barrister is located in an historic 100 year old building in Spokane’s downtown core (Railroad Ave, west of Jefferson). The 25,000 square foot facility houses production, a large single stack barrel room, storage, and an expansive tasting room and event facility. Barrister offers a unique space to host your wedding, reception, corporate event, or special family dinner. Barrister is also the best stop on the First Friday Art Walk in Spokane. Check out my previous video tour of the facility and interview with Greg.
The key to Barrister wines is good fruit, patience and attention to specifics. The wines reviewed below are from some of Washington’s most prestigious vineyards, Sagemoor, Weinbau, Dwelly, Kiona and Koinonia. As you’ll note in the video, Greg and Mike take a vintage by vintage approach to their wine making, adjusting blends and barrel routines as appropriate to showcase the fruit. Their attention to detail shows in the finished product.
2009 Barrister Winery Riesling
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling from Koinonia Vineyards, 0% residual sugar, .8% acidity, 14.1%abv, 136 cases produced
- The Swirl: Light and nearly clear in color, thin viscosity, clean and clear
- The Sniff: Floral aromas of white flowers, pears, and perfume. The nose offers a tight bouquet but is still elegant and fresh.
- The Sip: In agreement with Greg, this wine is summertime on the lips. A bone dry presentation that allows the crisp fruit to be front and center. Your mouth is greeting with a kiss of pear and wet stone and says goodbye with a well balanced acidity. The wine is not tart and in spite of being bone dry, doesn’t leave you feeling parched.
- The Score: At only $17, this is one of the most refreshing and well balanced Rieslings that I have discovered. With only 136 cases made, you won’t want to delay to get yours for the upcoming summer season. Drink now or store for 3-5 years. I score this wine a 4 (out of 5).
The 2009 Barrister Winery Riesling is a superb value and an amazing demonstration of Riesling fruit from Koinonia Vineyards. The bone dry finish leaves you longing for more without a tartness that leaves you parched. Pair this wine with summer, grilled vegetables, shrimp salad, light pasta, and fruit. DrinkNectar highly recommends this wine.
2008 Barrister Winery Sangiovese
- The Stuff: 100% Sangiovese from Kiona Estate Vineyards. Aged 15 months in used French oak, 14.5%abv, 149 cases produced
- The Swirl: Deep burgundy color that is 60% opaque and mellows out to bright ruby tones on the edges.
- The Sniff: An amazing presentation of big bright cherries, spice, vanilla, and hints of cinnamon.
- The Sip: Hold on Antonio, this is not your father’s Italian Chianti / Sangio. This medium bodied wine is a showcase of the hot weather from Red Mountain that produces amazingly bold fruit. In this limited tasting there was all bright cherries and hints of toast. A nice firm tannin and lingering tart finish rounded out the beautiful wine. Not representative of the variety, but made in a strong new world fashion.
- The Score: Loving the presentation of fruit and big finish, this $25 wine scores a solid 3+ (out of 5).
2007 Barrister Winery Merlot
- The Stuff: 86% Merlot from Dwelly Vineyards and 9% Cab Franc, 5% Cab Sauv; 14.8%abv, 271 cases produced
- The Swirl: Elegant bright plum colors that are about 70% opaque. Spectacular color structure that suggests quality and high extraction
- The Sniff: A Merlot worthy of putting Miles (from the movie Sideways) in his place. Fantastic aroma of smooth cocoa and berry – imagine cherry cocoa puffs with a hint of pipe tobacco smoke.
- The Sip: The very front palate of this wine is a semi-sweet medium cherry flavor that presents hints of baking cocoa on the mid-palate. A bright hint of blueberry jumps out at the back end as you begin to swallow the wine. A surprisingly strong and well structured finish complete this well crafted Merlot.
- The Score: At $25 this Merlot can compete among the ranks of wines twice the price. I score this a 4+ (out of 5) and put it up there with the top 3 Merlot I’ve had in 2010.
The 2007 Barrister Winery Merlot is a showcase of what Merlot can be. With smooth elegant cherry and cocoa flavors the addition of Cab Franc and Cab Sauv bring to light a bright blueberry spark and a strong finish. This wine could be a casual sipping wine and would stand up well to grilled burgers, BBQ ribs, and a mild red pasta dish. DrinkNectar highly recommends this wine as one of the top Merlots of the year.
2007 Barrister Winery Sagemoor Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 75% Cabernet from Sagemoor Vineyards in Walla Walla, 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah also from Sagemoor Vineyards; aged 20+ months in 75% French and 25% American oak; 15.2%abv, 210 cases produced.
- The Swirl: Thick and inky with stormy night characteristics. The wine is about 90-95% opaque and is nearly black at the middle of the glass
- The Sniff: An aroma of blackberry and plum saturates the nose. A slight alcohol heat with spice accompaniment throws off the aroma profile only slightly.
- The Sip: The wine has bottle aged well and despites its youth of 3 years, is a fairly smooth offering for a big Cab (probably softened by the addition of Merlot). Big dark spicy cherries showcase the flavors with undercurrents of red raspberry and dark chocolate. Slight hints of oak, but very subtle. The finish lingers for quite some time, but presents a little burn on the swallow.
- The Score: A beautiful wine that will resonate with big Cab lovers. The high alcohol is the only moderately off-putting part of this wine. Avoid pairing this with spicy dishes which will compound the heat. At $33 I score this wine a 4 (out of 5).
24 May 2010
Believe it or not, sometimes I drink wine when the video camera is not on. For the first time, three of these wines end up in a review without the video camera. While I’m not the awesome text reviewer that my friend Steve Paulo is at NotesFromTheCellar.com, I thought I’d put the camera down and tell you about three wines that were truly special that we pulled from the cellar.
2006 Round Barn Cabernet
This wine was provided by Round Barn winery as a part of a Tweet and Taste event hosted by Michigan wine blogger MichiganByTheBottle.com. Shannon and Courtney Casey are promoting the mitten state one sip at a time. As a side note, they were robbed for not being included in the 2010 Wine Blog Awards for Best Single Focused wine blog. Their quality promotion of the wine regions in Michigan is top notch.
Round Barn produces wine, distilled spirits (vodka, brandy) and beer! It would seem that owner Rick Moersch and his two sons are never at a loss of beverage. Round Barn Winery is located in western Michigan on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, north of the Indiana border.
- The Stuff: % not listed on web site; 22 months in French/Hungarian oak (80/20); 13%abv
- The Swirl: Light bright purple color that is moderately translucent. Color moves out to clear toward the edges.
- The Sniff: Medium cherries with hints of graham cracker and cocoa. A mild whiff of smoky bacon begins to erupt from the glass when taking a deep sniff.
- The Sip: Medium body with thin under-ripe blackberry fruit and twigs. The smoky tobacco flavor continues on the palate. A good firm tannin structure on the back end. The acidity is slightly off balanced from the flavor presentation
- The Score: At $22 retail, I can score this a 3+ (out of 5) and really enjoyed this presentation of Cabernet from the Lake Michigan Shores AVA. I continue to be impressed with the improving quality out of the Michigan area.
Tweet from TTMI by @winegenie Palate = Red fruits on entry, tart cherries that turn to ripe black ones mid-palate. Silky.Powdery tannins.Drinkable & med. long.
Cellar Tracker Scores of 88.5 (with 2 reviews)
2007 Trio Vintners RIOT
Reason #1 for loving Twitter: GREAT PEOPLE. The folks at @triovintners (or @deniseslattery) are great folks. I love chatting with them and hearing about their wine making journey. I received this bottle in a shipment of three that included their Carménère and Tempranillo (reviewed here). Trio Vintners has been part of the incubator wineries in Walla Walla, Washington and is currently showcasing their third vintage of reds (along with some whites and roses). The RIOT is an uncommon blend of grapes that presents amazing character and personality. This is not your typical boring “red table wine” blend.
- The Stuff: 52% Sangiovese, 36% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre; aged 21 months in blend of new Hungarian, second and third year American, and neutral French oak; 14.1%abv; 237 cases produced
- The Swirl: Rich and thick in color. Dark plum jam
- The Sniff: A fun blend of earth, plum, cedar, and spices. Can definitely pick out the Syrah and Mourvedre components of the nose.
- The Sip: I love what the Syrah does with the Sangiovese. This is a big bold wine that has strong oak component. After about an hour the oak subsided. Nice dark berry fruit on the front of the tongue with big strong tannins. Grab a steak, sit back and enjoy! Mild cherry fruits on the mid-palate and the pepper spice was a perfect compliment without being overbearing.
- The Score: At $18 this is a wine that shines well above its price point. Don’t be fooled by the Sangio base, this is a strong wine. It comes across as slightly over-oaked but is deserving of a score of 4 (out of 5) because of the value and complexity.
2003 XSV Cabernet Sauvignon
Buried among the heart of the Woodinville Warehouse district are several gems. Within the rough exterior buildings and minimalistic tasting rooms are wine makers that are honing their skills crafting top notch grapes. With limited production many of these wineries never get national recognition or media attention. In the fall of 2009 my wife and I spent two days sipping our way through Woodinville. While several wineries stood out (Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Mark Ryan), it is the wine purchased at our last stop that now takes top honors from that trip. The XSV 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon has been haunting me ever since we drank the bottle a few weeks back. Sadly their web site is lacking in information but below is the review of an incredibly memorable wine.
- The Stuff: No info on label or web site. Assumed Cab from the LeMieux Family Vineyard 15%abv. After investigating their other wines spend about 20 months in New American Oak.
- The Swirl: Elegant dark purple and tawny port color. Nicely aged tone. The wine shows at about 80% opaque with good color to the edges
- The Sniff: Slight heat on the nose with a beautiful dried plum, cherry and raisin aroma. Subtle spices of pepper and cinnamon make an appearance as well.
- The Sip: If a wine were scored on velvet elegance, this would receive top honors. Amazing flavors of chocolate covered plums and cherries with a beautiful long smooth finish. Tight tannin without being chalky or chewy. This wine will be in its prime in 2 years but is incredibly amazing to drink now.
- The Score: At $38 (if I remember right), I can easily score this wine a 4 out of 5. If I’m ever in Woodinville again, I will certainly make a special trip to XSV again.
Scored a 3 (out of 5) on Wine Peeps in 2009