Posts tagged Russian River Valley
Jordan Takes Another Step to Further Its French-Forward Identity

Jordan Winery has always embraced French wine principles, from its grape varieties and its terroir-led winemaking philosophy to its beautiful Sonoma County château. Just one factor in Jordan's red wine production that was distinctly different was its use of American oak…. After a four year ramp up that began in 2011, the 2015 is the first release of Cabernet Sauvignon aged entirely in French oak barrels. 

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Trading a Plane Ride for a Pinot Noir

I love airplanes. So when I was invited to take a ride on The Spirit of Benovia, the renovated C-53 World War II aircraft that participated in the D-Day invastion, I was beyond excited. Then, realizing that other commitments wouldn't allow me to participate sent me into a tailspin.  At least I had the chance to savor the wine crafted and named in honor of the plane to be released for the 75th "vintage" commemoration of that heroic WWII campaign to liberate France.

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Rodney Strong Over-Delivers on This Quintet

This array of Rodney Strong wines over-delivers for its price points. Per my previous post, this isn’t surprising. They have a smartly balanced oak influence, meaning that any new oak flavors present are well-integrated and don’t over take the fresh fruit nuances. They also do a terrific job of showing regional and varietal typicity. I’ll gladly endorse these, especially the Chardonnay Chalk Hill and the Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley.

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The Engaging New Releases from sidebar cellars

sidebar cellars 2016 Zinfandel Old Vine Russian River Valley: Plumped with spicy fruits, this wine is gregarious on the nose. It's hard not to love the combo of sumptuousness and structure here! Hailing from the century-old Alegria Vineyard, this is actually a field blend and includes about 10% Alicante, 10% Petite Sirah and 2% of a dozen (!) other varieties.

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385 Notes & 501 Scores on Sonoma Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

These Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tastings were primarily conducted in Sonoma over the course of two visits (one for ten days, one for three days). My ten-day visit was thorough, covering eight hundred and four miles (1,294 km) and 39 winery appointments.

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Harmony, Grace & Thoughtfulness - Man & Bottle

I often think can find the winemaker in the wine, and yet again, that is the case with David Ramey’s 2016 Claret. On paper this bottling looks like a precise, acrobatic exercise in blending…. Yet from the first to the last drop, this fusion radiates harmony, grace and thoughtfulness, just like the man behind the juice. 

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A Surprise Arrival from Rodney Strong Vineyards

I was surprised and delighted to see a set of wines from Rodney Strong arrive the other day. I used to buy this family-owned winery’s juice in considerable volumes as the National Wine Director of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, and I have always felt the wines represented good value for the money.

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Joseph Wagner’s New Projects: Böen and Elouan

Joseph Wagner grew up in a Napa Valley family legend in-the-making, Caymus Vineyards. In establishing his own brands, he has impressively translated his understanding of “what the consumer wants” into a series of “must haves” that have largely been based on Pinot Noir rather than Caymus’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Staking out on his own, Joseph previously created the much-loved Belle Glos Pinot Noir line-up as well as Meiomi, the latter now under the ownership of Constellation Brands.)

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sidebar: David Ramey Navigates a New Course

David Ramey launched sidebar Cellars in 2014 to push boundaries. He and the next generation of Rameys, Claire and Alan, are exploring new grape varieties and wine styles. They are making not only Sauvignon Blanc but also Zinfandel, rosé and…Kerner! From the taste of things, sidebar will be much more than its diminuitive name suggests.

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Under $25 Pinot Noir Values from Sonoma

Pinot Noir isn’t an easy grape to grow and it isn’t an easy grape to vinify either. Combine those two points with low yields and you have a wine style that tends to be pricey, wherever it hails from. Plus, Sonoma isn’t an appellation known for its bargains, whatever the grape variety may be. So, when I recently purchased a dozen Sonoma Pinot Noirs under $40, I was particularly pleased to find these three bottlings under $25.

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Pinot Noir: The Gypsy

Last week I met Davis Bynum. Davis was one of the modern pioneers of Russian River Valley. (The Russians who settled there in the early 1800s planted vines before the Gold Rush of 1849.) In fact, Davis was the first to produce a single vineyard Pinot Noir from the area AND indicate its origins on the label.

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Cross-Comparison of Pinot Noir Clones

Figuring out where these clones come from is a bit like researching a family tree before the internet. There’s a fair bit of uncertainty amongst the researchers themselves, so where does that leave the rest of us? Luckily, the chart makes it pretty easy to cross-reference with its column titled “Also Known As”, in which almost every clone other than the Dijon clones show at least one other name. From the US Perspective, the source of Martini 58 is Louis Martini in the USA. From the New Zealand Perspective, the source of Clone 13 is UC Davis, USA. The Australians indicate two origins for their G8V3: UC Davis, USA and Switzerland. Now that we’ve figured that one out, let’s look at the David Bruce Clone. Apparently it was cultivated first by Paul Masson and then by Martin Ray in the US…but way back when, it immigrated from somewhere in the Côte d’Or.

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