Color mark from Crayola "Scarlet" cr...

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At first opening I couldn't get past the idea that this was 100% Burgundy barnyard! I figured I must be in for a treat! lol. But the taste and the nose were quite different, and there was no barnyard in the taste whatsoever! As it opened up and had a chance to breathe the nose dissipated and became quite fruit forward, but clearly with other components too. Black fruits predominated, along with some wet rock minerality, and a bit of oaky spice and burnt wood. Super deep, almost burnt red. (Sorry Crayola, don't know the appropriate 128 color box color!) 

Mid-weight, great initial approach with good fruit, acidity, balance of all the components. Dark cherry, currant, cola, spicy white pepper, great mid-palate and extremely long finish for Pinot. Love it. As per usual, from The Wine House in Manlius. Really great selection and knowledge there. About $60 on the shelf as I recall. 

2009 Ridge Geyserville Zinfandel, Sonoma County

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Black tea, menthol, black licorice, dark berry and dark cherry nose. Sweet fruit, juicy, mild pepper and spice, a bit jammy (which I liked), mid-bodied but plush, terrific front and mid-palate fruit, long finish. Tannins are soft to not present. Terrific, mouth-watering acidity from first sip to finish. Perfect wine for summer grilling, enjoyable sipping alone. About $30. And I admit I found this one at Liquor City since I couldn't get it at my favorite retailer. (sorry!)

Nice writeup of older Geyserville vintages and a tasting:
Deep color, dark red, bright, but opaque. Dark fruits, cocoa, peppery oak on the nose. Nice round wine, soft, dark cherry, cocoa, spice, fresh dark fruits, nice acid on the mid-palate, lingering finish. Well done blend, perhaps more typical of Washington state blends than Sonoma, and I enjoyed it a lot. About $45 to $50, and found it at the Wine House in Manlius. (They did a recent tasting with this wine and sold out most of it quickly. So ask if you want them to get it for you!)

Cep Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2008

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Beautiful red, bright,with  smoke, anise, white pepper, red berries, red cherries on the nose. It's a mid-weight Pinot, nice mouth weight, flavorful cherry, with some pepper spice, licorice, and a long, slightly bitter finish. I like the Peay's acidity a bit more than the Cep in comparison, but it's a great wine, and definitely a value. Sonoma Pinot is something I like quite a bit, a bit more American than the Oregon style in some ways. Between $25 and $30 depending on source.

2006 Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon

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California Cabernet done well. Deep purple, with a bit of translucency. Good nose, blackberries, blueberries, cassis, forest floor. The taste adds pencil lead to the rest, as well as a bit of spice, black licorice maybe. Intense fruit, great depth, good concentration of flavors. Terrific balance, well made, though it's high in alcohol for a Cab at 15.4% you can't tell. It's got medium length of finish, 20 to 30 seconds, lingering with mouth watering components. Great wine if you find it at the right price. As per usual, I found it at The Wine House in Manlius.

Rodney Strong's website:

The data sheet for the wine:

Wine Spectator liked it enough to make it a wine of the day last year: 

Torbreck The Steading 2006

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A blend from Australia, 60% grenache, 20% mataro and 20% shiraz, very reminiscent of southern France GSM blends. Dark, deep red. Earthy, dark red fruit, a bit of spice on the nose. Mid-weight on the palate, it's exceptionally well balanced. Nothing bitter, no intrusive tannins, alcohol is at a pleasant level. Spice, black fruit, lingering dark cherry, and a bit of acidity on the front of the tongue. It's definitely a wine that would pair well with a steak! About $35 on the shelf in upstate NY, as per usual at The Wine House in Manlius.


Torbreck's collection of The Steading reviews



2007 Gorman The Pixie Syrah

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Deep, intense garnet red, gorgeous in the glass. Smokey, bacon fat, dark fruits, pepper, and some floral notes on the nose. It's full body, dense, but a bit bitter on the front when popped and poured. It evolves a bit in the glass with some of the bitterness dissapating. Fruit, alcohol, some acidity, and the finish is very, very long.

2006 Wattle Creek Alexander Valley Malbec

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Some friends brought a bottle of the Wattle Creek for New Years, she found it while visiting Ghiradelli in San Francisco, and they shared it with us. Terrific depth of purple and red, great nose with black fruit, spice, and great Malbec flavors.The flavors followed the nose, with blackberry, black currants, licorice, and some smokiness. Good flavors, good intensity, and a long finish. This is the first California Malbec that I've had, and it was excellent.

Wattle Creek's website:

A good friend brought a bottle of this amazing Schaefer Auslese to share last night. Golden color. Incredibly rich nose, floral, tropical fruits, pineapple in particular. The taste was beautiful, nice acidity, rich, rich fruit and the mouth feel was interestingly balanced between fruit, peaches, nectarines, apples, some wood spice components. Crisp, long finish.

Snowden Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch 2008

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Snowden Vineyards

Image of Snowden Vineyards via Snooth

The Snowden Ranch Cabernet 2008 is a challenging wine. I want to love this wine, and the 2008 is very good. But it isn't the 2007, which was perhaps one of the finest California Cabs at a reasonable price. But this is about the 2008 not the 2007, so on with that!

It's got good fruit on the nose, currants, dark fruits, almost a Cab Franc darkness (not surprising - they do Cab Franc). It's dark purple, absolutely opaque. The fruit on the palate is terrific blackberry, sweet tannins, a tiny bit of oak, excellent balance, but not complex at all. It's simple wine, but tasty, sweet, fruit forward, well balanced, and nice.

Regardless of the terrific wine that's in this bottle, I pine for the 2007 vintage. Amazing wines, Parker called it as a fabulous winery, fabulous vineyard, in and excellent location in the Napa Valley. Snowden says this wine should be drunk young, and I agree. About $40.

Snowden's page:


Detert Family Vineyards Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

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Good California Cab from a stellar vintage. Rich nose, black fruit. Very sweet fruit on the palate, black cherry, blackberry, cassis. The oak is there, tannins well integrated, terrific balance, nothing out of place. It's a bit less complex than some other California cabs. Very enjoyable way to have fruit from vineyards that have contributed to other well-known Oakville Cabs prior to their beginning their own winemaking. About $70.

On their history "As a component of the original To Kalon Vineyard wines, the Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet and Opus One wines, fruit from the Detert vineyard site has been a component of the valley's most prestigious cuvees since the history of winegrowing in Napa Valley began."

Vineyard site:

Release notes:


Tenuta di Nozzle Il Pareto Cabernet 2004

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Deep, dark opaque purple. Backberries, cassis, dark fruits. Herbs. Old world, but plenty of fruit. Nice body, tannins pretty present, lots of wood influence. Good Tuscan cab, but other years might be better. Or a few more years might be needed. About $70 at The Wine House. The closing wine for the tasting.

The Wine House has a terrific Italian selection, and the sommelier, Matt, knows the Italian portfolio inside and out.

Tenuta di Cabreo/Folonari Il Borgo Cabreo IGT 2007

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Map of Italy showing the Tuscany region in red

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Earthy, minerality, rustic, leathery, probably awesome with steak, but it also went well with goat chees. It was a mid-weight Tuscan wine. Dark berries were there. Good acidity. About $60 locally.

Agricola Punica Barrua IGT 2006

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Very interesting bottle of wine - mostly Carignan which is pretty uncommon as a primary wine, usually smaller percentages as a blending grape. It was a deep, dark purple, had dried fruit, figs, plum and more on the nose, cooking herbs, nicely balanced, lots of dark fruit. It was medium weight, and went well with charcuterie. About $50.

Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto IGT 2008

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Opaque, purple, lots of tobacco, spice box, cigar humidor, and then the taste is sweet, dark red berries, licorice. It spends a year in older Sassacaia barrels I understand. Maybe some declassified Sassacaia as well according to a Sommelier I know. Very enjoyable wine, particularly if you like tobacco in your wines. I was surprised by it since there isn't any Sangiovese in it. About $55.

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