Mercer Estate Part 2

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“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell

Mercer Estates Part 1

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“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell


Wines Tasted # 2

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Here are some quick wine notes…. I drink a lot of wine. No scores just my thoughts! 

Smokescreen Chardonnay 2011
great mineral, crushed hillside, surlie, light malolactic, some untoasted French oak, very soft oak

Smokescreen Pinot Noir 2011
Anderson valley sweet cherry, very nice plum on the finish.  Light ruby color, nice body, and good fruit.

Plum, date, fig, lisove[?], no rim variation, baked plum, very young

Forefathers Sav. Blanc
Herbs and earth, nor tropical

El Pasaro Rojo
Coffee grounds, char old[?], Dried violets, good tannins, very soft plum

Lan Rioja  Reserva 2005
Bright and supple, tart cherry, blueberry, acid, spice on berry

LeCole  Chardonnay 2012
Very nice, good fruit, acid, minerals, apple, apricot

Taft Street PN. RR
Robust good structure, picot fruit

Left Foot Charlie – Riesling
Very interesting, good soil, decors[?] Structure

Robert Reynolds Chard 2012
Lodi Rocy’s Block
Not so much on the nose, but some

Ant Moore N2
Pinot Gris Malbac
Good silt, some stone fruit, tropical notes, baked tropical fruit custard

Schwibinger Riesling 2011
Bone dry minerals on the nose
Grass, some herb on the nose
Honey dipped stone fruit, some earthiness

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

Wines tasted # 1

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Here are some quick wine notes…. I drink a lot of wine. No scores just my thoughts! 

Quintan Petite Pierre 2009
Fleeting finish, not bad

Histoire Chapter 4 Cabernet
Aleyaber[?]  Sonoma County 2011
Young, lacking structure

Vending Machine Chard
Loula’s Revenge

Double Shotgun Cab Franc
Petit verdot.  Great do

Kuentz Bas Pinot Gris 2009
Tons of stonefruit on the finish, very clean, cotton candy

Artesa Meritage 2009
Soft tannins, soft chocolate, good stuff

Anaroo[?] Shiraz 2008
Silk wool and smoke and very fleeting finish and leads to soft plum

Giornata 2008 Barbera
Dates, figs, not much to the mid palette, no finish

Redcar Sonoma Coast Chard 2010
Nice malo, slight oak, red, stonefruit

Domaine de Pond Pinot Noir
Very nice, forward on nose[?].  Dry finish, excellent fruit, [?]

Slang Pinot 2012 Argo
herbaceous acid on  [?]
soft  fruit on the palette

Cypher Paso Robles, the Peasant
Nice body, good fruit, soft cherry, currant[?], blue-berry

Kenefick Ranch 2008 Napa
Chris Cuver – wow, what a gorgeous blend, tannins

Sierra Batyco – Reserva
Pinot Noir 2011, earth, berry forward, light fruit, good finish, soft tannins

Jane Ventura 2010 Vintage Cava
Riserva musica $10, biscuit, clay, flint

Madeby G. Sparkling Gamay
Very sweet, soft berry, nutmeg, baking spice

Genslabi[?] Cab Clarksburg 2010
Earthy, funky, dried leaves
great body, good tannins

White Oak 2007 Napa
86% Cabernet, 11% Merlot, Cab Franc 3%
Supertannic, soft fruit, very closed down

Montanori 2003
Amarone – Very Nice,  violets

Purple Malbec Cohors 2011
Full body, notes of baked mushroom, earth, dirty bark door

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

Maestri Vignaioli Chicago Feb 11th

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                The Maestri Vignaoili, or “Master Winemakers,” is a group of wine making families in Italy who have joined together based on their shared outlooks on wine production, each showcasing the distinct flavors and styles from their respective regions.  All the member wineries are independent and family owned and operated, and focuses on producing small batches of high quality wines made in traditional styles.

Meeting with this group of fine winemakers in Chicago and tasting through the wines was an quite an experience. The room was a little cold, given that the tasting was during the polar vortex, but it was still an amazing opportunity to taste some great wines. Marco Sebellico, who facilitated the seminar, was late in typical European fashion, which made the day even more interesting. He was charismatic, funny, and made attendees believe that winemaking really could come from the soul.

A great show, all in all.  Here are the wines that we tasted:

Dal Din Spumanti                                                                                                      Veneto

Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Vidoro  Crisp and clean, with fruit forwardness, melon skin, with a quick fading finish

Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Floral and dry, super crisp, 100% prosecco

Massimo Pastura – Cascina La Ghersa                                                             Piedmont

Colli Tortonesi Timorasso Timian 2009  Pale gold color, with some rim variation, full and rich complexity, good acid, a little lacking in fruit, but good aging potential

Barbera d’Asti Sup. Vignassa 2010 Dark ruby color, with very little rim variation, smoked meat, minerality and great acid, and some clay soil which gives it a beautiful nose

Bario Stroppiana                                                                                                   Piedmont

Barolo Gabutti Bussia 2010 Young vineyard, color of rust, amazing acid and minerality, round tannins, with spice and berry

Barolo San Giacomo 2010 52 year-old vines, full tannins and minerality, perfect for long term aging, the finish is bone dry, finish lasts forever

Rubinelli Vajol                                                                                                           Veneto

Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. 2009 Blue rim variation, dried fruit, dirt, soil, and clay, but surprisingly juice

Valpolicella Cl. 2012 Perfect color of dark purple, bright and fresh acid, with soft baked fruit

Fattoria di Rodano                                                                                                  Tuscany

Chianti Cl. Ris. 2007

Chianti Cl. 2008

Terralsole                                                                                                                 Tuscany

Brunello di Montalcino Ris. 2007 Milk chocolate, with creamy tannins, berry forward, full and bright, with dark fruit on the pallet

Brunello di Montalcino 2008 Meant to age, very bright, full tannins, forest floor on the nose

Guado al Melo                                                                                                         Tuscany

Toscana Rosso Jassarte 2006 Soft and dried fruit, very nice

Guado al Melo Bianco 2011 Wow!  Beautiful bright fruit, green apple, made in the old world style

Trappolini                                                                                                                      Lazio

Lazio Rosso Paterno 2010 Ruby color, perfect fruit balance, raspberry, and excellently structured  tannins

Lazio Grechetto 2012 Soft, pale straw color, citrus notes, clean and crisp

Conti Malacari                                                                                                          Marche

Conero Ris. Grigiano 2008 Funky socks, augusta, lush berry, this is an awesome monte pulciano

Rosso Conero Villa Malacari 2009 Good tannins, with a fruity structure

Cantine del Notaio                                                                                                Basilicata

Aglianico del Vulture La Firma 2010 This wine is closed down.  Very little fruit, but some floral and spice notes

Basilicata Rosso L’Atto 2012 Wheat, cherry, raspberry, milk chocolate, very jammy

Ferreri & Bianco                                                                                                           Sicily

Sicilia Nero d’Avola 2012 Roasted game, gamey, smoky, not very giving on the fruit

Sicilia Catarratto Brasi 2011 Some white floral notes, lemon peel, crisp and almost clear

Check them out below and be on the lookout for their handcrafted wines…


Categories: Wine

How Wines are rated on this site…

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How the rating system works:
Each product is tasted twice to ensure that no external factors influence the score.  Products are tasted under the same conditions; using the same glasses and the same light.  Nothing is different that can be helped.  It is very important that scores from any website or magazine not stop you from buying a bottle. While reviews may help influence which products you try, please make the final decision yourself.
There are those who think the 100 point scale is inadequate and lacking any sense of creativity.  For the most part I am among them.  What is important is that, when tasting wine, it helps to have a rubric to assist you in finding what you’re looking for, and to enhance your enjoyment of the sample.  I strongly encourage people to host their own tastings with friends and use this rating system as a guide to pick favorites.

KEEP IN MIND that scores are not the only way to determine a product’s worth.  As the old adage goes “if you like it, drink it!”

100 point scale

Nose=25 Points   Body=25 Points    Balance=25 Points Finish= 25 Points

                                 Total =100 Points

95-100 exceptional – highly recommended

89-94 superior quality –distinctive, recommended

80-88 good value – definitely worth trying

70-79 nothing special but try it

69- Or below may lack balance, and character but don’t let it stop you from trying a bottle

Nose:  Look for the aromatic notes that tell you the story of each bottle, and even each sip.  Scent tells the life story of the liquid

Body:  Texture, how it feels in the mouth, and richness

Finish:  How the flavors fade away on your tongue and how it feels going down

Balance:  How complex the flavors are, and how the balance of acid, alcohol, and sweetness combine to make a great sip

Color:  This is a much bigger deal with wine than it is with spirits. It can indicate age, complexity, and quality.

Categories: Wine

It’s Zinsanity, It’s Zintastic It’s ZAP!!!!

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Recently I spoke with Rebecca Robinson who is the Executive Director of ZAP which stands for Zinfandel Advocates and Producers a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the Zinfandel Grape. My Kind of organization.

They specialize in getting people educated and excited about Zinfandel by showing the unique history of the grape that made California.

Rebecca was especially excited to tell me all about the Zinfandel Experience, which I am sadly miss by one week.

The event is all about education, passion and drinking an abundance of Zins.


January 23 – 25


The Presidio and Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco

The schedule includes trade only tastings, winemaker dinners, pairing classes, tasting tracts and flights. All about Zinfandel, all and all not a bad way to spend a few days.

The winemaker dinner includes, Braised Oyster Mushroom Risotto and Slow Cooked NY Strip and Short Rib I am guessing paired with some amazing Zins.

Now those reading this, if you have the same love of Zinfandel that I do, please go to the link below…Join and become an advocate.


Categories: Wine