5/27/2014

Quick Sip: Noble Family Wines 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Noble Family Wines’ 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I discovered this boutique producer through the good folks at Cellar Pass. Proprietor and vintner George Noble's foray into wine-making began with a move to the Napa Valley in 1999 and making Merlot with friends in a garage. By 2003, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon piqued his interest and Noble Family Wines was founded with consulting winemaker David Lattin of Kuleto Estate. In addition to the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve reviewed, I tasted the producer’s well-structured, dark fruit driven, and chocolate bark accented 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and an assertive Petite Sirah that begged for grilled red meat.

Stylistically, all three wines were ripe, robust, and well-balanced. All of George’s wines are barrel aged for upwards of 33 months and based on what I tasted, the fruit can more than handle the oak regiment. One area that sets Noble Family Wines apart from many producers is how long their wines are held back before release. Typically, bottle aging is left up to the consumer. The 2007 vintage represents their latest release of Cabernet Sauvignon. Until George believes his wines are relatively well-integrated and ready to be enjoyed, they are reserved. The Noble Family Wines' 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking nicely right now but will benefit from short-to-long term cellaring. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Noble Family Wines 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon


Review: Noble Family Wines 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $80): This wine is deeply colored with ripe and opulent layers of plum, crème de cassis, and licorice aromas and flavors that are nicely interwoven with pretty oak-driven mocha-vanilla tones and brown spice notes. The palate is concentrated and mouth-filling with a well-defined structure, rich mid-palate, and dusty tannins, ending in a generous and lasting finish. I suggest letting this wine breathe in a decanter for over an hour -- sniffing and sipping small amounts every 15 minutes or so. Over time, you will discover like I did, that the wine opens up quite nicely. Approximately 446 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Napa Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 14.8%, fruit source: 22% Pritchard Hill, 24% Rutherford, 54% St. Helena, 5% Petite Sirah added, barrel matured for 33 months, cork enclosure). 93 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Happy Sipping, my friends!


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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5/19/2014

Recent Sips: Judd's Hill 2012 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip segment features Judd’s Hill 2012 Viognier and 2010 Cabernet Franc. Judd’s Hill is located in California’s Napa Valley and is owned and operated by two generations of the Finkelstein family. Founders, Art and Bunnie Finkelstein, started producing wines in the area with the creation of Whitehall Lane Winery in the 1970s. After leaving Whitehall Lane in the late 1980s, Art established Judd's Hill to focus on quality over quantity. Today, the winery specializes in small-batch, finely-crafted wines with an annual production of less than 3,000 cases.

While Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are Napa Valley’s most widely planted varieties, it’s always fun to discover small lots of varietal wines you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the region (like Viognier and Cabernet Franc). And just as fun – not to mention, interesting – is how the lay of the land, Mother Nature, and the influence of the winemaker comes together to express those wines in the bottle. Both of these wines were recently tasted by a small group of friends and me while we watched a live broadcast of CellarPass TV. Debuting on CellarPass TV was Art and Bunnie's son, Judd Finkelstein, who is involved in every facet of the family business. Judd, along with a pirate, a ukulele, and a cyclist, made for the most entertaining episode of CellarPass TV I think I’ve ever watched. Click here to check it out. Most importantly, the wines were pretty tasty, too!  For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Judd's Hill 2012 Viognier


Review: Judd's Hill Winery 2012 Viognier (SRP $34): This Viognier is pure and fresh with succulent yellow-fleshed fruit on the entry alongside stone fruit and trailing white flowers. It has nice weight in the mouth with a tangy, mouthwatering acidity, running through an elegant texture with a vibrant, persistent finish. The producer suggests pairing a bottle with “baked tilapia with tomato and basil, butter poached shrimp scampi with linguini, or coconut curried salmon on a bed of Israeli couscous.”  All three food pairings are on point and sound wonderful! The fruit for this wine was sourced from a site with a relatively cool micro-climate, which has allowed the wine to maintain a delightful and bright character from start to finish. Approximately 125 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Napa Valley, California. 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Judd's Hill 2010 Cabernet Franc


Review: Judd’s Hill Hampton Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Franc (SRP $48): This is a small-production Cabernet Franc that shows shades of its more popular off-spring, Cabernet Sauvignon. It opens with a relatively full and luscious palate of ripe blackberries, blackcurrant, and plum aromas and flavors that are followed by (dried) red fruit undertones and violet notes over a velvety texture, ending with a touch of anise on the lasting finish. Overall, this is a fairly rich and fruit-focused example with seamless tannins and soft but balanced acidity that’s a fine solitary sipper or a good match for grilled red meats. Approximately 48 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Napa Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 14.4%, cork enclosure). 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friends: American Goldfinch


About CellarPass TV: #CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website, CellarPass.com, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country. To view this episode of CellarPass TV, click here.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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My Vine Spot

5/13/2014

Recent Sips: Youngberg Hill 2012 Aspen Pinot Gris and 2012 Cuvee Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

I recently had a chance to connect with Wayne Bailey, proprietor and winegrower of Youngberg Hill, during his visit to the DC Metro area with his wine savvy daughter, Natasha. A small group of friends and I tasted through four of Wayne's wines from the 2012 vintage while he told us about his hilltop property, wine-growing philosophy, and vineyard in McMinnville -- a sub-appellation of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Before Wayne purchased the property in 2003, it was founded in the early 20th century and farmed by a Swedish gentleman named, of all things, Youngberg. Then in 1987, a financier took over and built a beautiful inn on the property’s rolling hills. In 1989, well-respected winemaker Ken Wright saw potential in the land and planted Pinot Noir, using the fruit for his Panther Creek wines.

Having a splash of Youngberg Hill Pinot Gris


Today, the property serves as an inn, tasting room, winery, and vineyard – and Wayne now has ten harvests under his belt. Much like the early Oregon pioneers of the 1960s and many grape growers thereafter, Wayne had a European experience and fell in love with Pinot Noir. He looked for a place to grow it and make wine and by 2003, the Willamette Valley had a sterling reputation for having the potential to produce world-class Pinot Noir. So making Oregon home was a no-brainer.

Youngberg Hill is a 50 acre estate with 21 acres under vine – 5 acres of Pinot Gris and 16 acres of Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir plantings from 1989, which account for 12 of the acres, are own-rooted and planted on two distinct blocks that are named after Wayne’s daughters; Jordan and Natasha. The other four acres of Pinot Noir were planted in 2008. Since farming the property in 2003, Wayne and his team have practiced organic farming (LIVE certified) and are moving towards employing some biodynamic practices. In this blog post, I’ll review Youngberg Hill’s Aspen Hill 2012 Pinot Gris and Cuvee 2012 Pinot Noir; both of which I recommend. The 2012 Natasha and 2012 Jordan single-block Pinot Noirs show good character, complexity and depth and will be reviewed in an upcoming post. For further information and where you can find the Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, please see my tasting notes below.

Youngberg Hill 2012 Aspen Pinot Gris


Review: Youngberg Hill 2012 Aspen Pinot Gris (SRP $18): Medium-bodied and fresh with a vibrant tropical core that’s accented by aromas of ripe pear and muted mineral tones. The palate offers yellow-fleshed fruits framed by a slight brackish quality with a supple mouth-feel and crisp, citrusy acidity (i.e., tangy) that carries through from start to finish. Overall, a delightfully pleasing, food-friendly wine that’s ready for spring or summertime sipping. Approximately 107 cases of this wine were produced. Region: McMinnville, Oregon. (Other info: ABV 13.7%, 100% Stainless, screw cap enclosure.) 88 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Youngberg Hill 2012 Cuvee Pinot Noir


Review: Youngberg Hill 2012 Cuvee Pinot Noir (SRP $30): This ‘Cuvee’ is an appellation blend produced from mature (average age 25 years old) vines in the Willamette Valley’s McMinnville and Amity-Eola Hills sub-appellations. Deep garnet in color, this wine features aromas and flavors of black cherries, blackberries, and purple stone fruit with appealing brown spice and mineral notes. On the palate, ripe fruit flavors are supported by well-balanced acidity and soft round tannins that melt into a textured, lingering finish. You generally get what you pay for with Pinot Noir, and this is well worth the asking price of $30. Approximately 290 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon. (Other info: ABV 14.5%, 25% new oak for 14 months, screw cap enclosure) 89 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Look! Wayne's first #selfie


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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My Vine Spot

5/06/2014

Quick Sip: Deering Wine Russian River Valley 2010 Pinot Noir


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Deering Wine’s Russian River Valley 2010 Pinot Noir. I was recently introduced to Deering Wine’s portfolio through Cellars of Sonoma's tasting room. The shop's proprietor, Scott Jordan, stocks the shelves with limited-production wines from small Sonoma-based producers and Deering Wine is the latest addition. Todd and Blair Maus, owners of Deering Wine, both come from farming families. With an appreciation for good food and wine, relocating to Sonoma County in 2004 to pursue their passion and open a boutique winery seemed natural. This bottling marks the couple’s first vintage of Pinot Noir. In addition to California staples like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel, the couple also does a Grenache Blanc and Chenin Blanc – two under-appreciated grape varieties (in the US) that have the potential to produce very good wines. For further information and where you can find this Pinot Noir, please see my tasting notes below.

Deering Wine RRV 2010 Pinot Noir


Review: Deering Wine Russian River Valley 2010 Pinot Noir (SRP $50): The Deering Russian River Valley 2010 Pinot Noir is elegant and focused with inviting aromas of pretty red berry fruit, notes of floral perfume, black tea nuances, and slightly muted earth tones. The red fruits continue on the palate, framed by fresh, food-friendly acidity, a satiny texture, and a pleasing, medium-length (baking) spice tinged finish. This wine is thoroughly enjoyable on its own but would pair wonderfully with dishes like lamb, salmon, or grilled portobello mushrooms. Region: Russian River Valley, California. (Other info: ABV 14.2%, cork enclosure). 91 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Sip Up!



About Cellars of Sonoma: Cellars of Sonoma is a wine bar and tasting room located in the heart of Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square. They specialize in featuring select, hand-picked wines from small production Sonoma producers (with few exceptions). Co-owner, Scott Jordan, and staff host an entertaining live streaming broadcast every Tuesday at 9PM EST. The broadcast showcases some of the small artisan boutique producers whose wines are poured and sold in the tasting room. The show also features local chefs and people in the hospitality business. I recommend tuning in if you have the time. Click here to visit the show's website and follow the comments on Twitter by using hash-tag #TVTuesdayLive. Cheers!

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

My Vine Spot

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