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2012 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County Burnt chocolate with a licorice twist, fig, mild woodspice and moderate dark fruits are what you’ll find in this restaurant-ready wine which should complement a wide array of dishes, including a basic steak-and-potatoes meal. The finish fades ...
2011 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Nearly opaque dark ruby in color, this Napa Cab exudes warm earth tones and high-toned spice, along with a varietal note of bell pepper — a classic red Bordeaux profile. Mix in some Rutherford dust, cedar, clove, red currant and a hint of polished leather, and you have a classic, Old World, Claret-style gem, rarely seen in California today.
2012 Freemark Abbey Merlot, Napa Valley Opaque dark purple in color, lightening at the rim, this wine represents the older style of winemaking — rustic and pure. Notes of lavender soap and vanilla cream mix nicely with ample black currant fruit, zippy blackberry, nice spice notes and smoky oak. Grainy dark chocolate ec ...
2012 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Merlot, Sonoma County Nearly opaque dark ruby in color, this wine has a perfumed nose full of roses and violets. There’s some nice forward fruit — cherry, currant, black plum — joined by cinnamon, nutmeg and clove notes, striking a nice balance between the wood components and the fruit.
2012 Pedroncelli ‘Block 007’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley Opaque purple/black in color, this concentrated Cab has a nose with some definite high notes, full of fleshy black cherries, baking spices, lavender/field herbs, mocha and a note of shoe leather. It’s a layered wine with a rich mouthfeel and young, ...
2012 Pedroncelli ‘Three Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley Nearly opaque dark ruby in hue, this wine exhibits an initial impression of tar in the nose, followed by ample red currant fruit and some spicy eucalyptus/mint notes. With time in the glass it mellows out, showing a hint of shoe polish, a sense of vanilla roundne ...
2012 Pedroncelli ‘Bushnell Vineyard’ Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley When first opened, this wine shows menthol/eucalyptus, a touch of shoe polish, root beer and paraffin. After aeration, additional notes of red berry fruit, white pepper and vanilla emerge. The finish has a lot of silty, medium-grained, earthy tannins.
2012 Murphy-Goode ‘Homefront Red,’ California Nearly opaque dark ruby in color, this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cuvee is brimming with spicy fruit. An effusive nose full of briary raspberry, black pepper, mint/eucalyptus and a pleasant earthiness leads to dusty earthiness in the mouth. The initial entry is more sedate, even Claret-like — echoing the Bordeaux varietals in the blend.
Old Friends: Sonoma-Cutrer and Winemaker Mick Schroeter By Glen Frederiksen For thirty years, I have followed my wine muse. She has taken me to wine education classes, to wineries all over the world, to numerous wine clubs and tasting groups, to dozens of wine dinners, and many wine tasting events. I began my own wine education group and held monthly tasting seminars.
NV J Vineyards and Winery Brut Rosé, Russian River Valley This sparkler sports a brilliant salmon hue, with a persistent, fine mousse. The fruit-driven nose exhibits ample red berry and cherry aromas, along with citrus, cream and sweet bread notes. It is lively on the palate, where fresh raspberries come to the fore.
NV J Vineyards and Winery Cuvée 20 Brut, Sonoma County Pale straw color with a slight bronze glint. It has a finely beaded mousse. Aromas of fresh lemon and green apple are followed by richer, fleshier fruit (apricots?) and, finally, notes of cream, bread, and nuts. It is lively and crisp in the mouth, showing a sweet-tart juiciness.
Holiday Wines, Part 1: Sparkling Wines By Glen Frederiksen The 2014 harvest is now complete in California, and all indications are that it will be a successful one, landing somewhere between the brash fruitiness of the 2012 vintage and last year’s more structured wines. The months of November and December are a traditionally celebratory period in Northern hemisphere culture ...
MacPhail Tales: Chasing the Muse of of Terroir and Noir By Glen Frederiksen In the world of wine, Pinot Noir has a reputation as a fickle grape, capable of sublime complexity and, conversely, sour, vegetal displeasure. The road to Pinot Noir perfection is fraught with missteps and pitfalls, enough to drive a winemaker over the edge.
A Window Into Tuscany: Castello di Gabbiano By Thomas Madrecki A note in advance — I approach any and all media trips with a bit of skepticism, in no small part because I make a living in the world of public relations. It takes a great deal for me to be impressed, and there’s a sort of natural apprehension about “giving in” too easily. You don’t want to be that wine writer.
2011 Matanzas Creek Merlot, Sonoma County Nearly opaque dark ruby/purple in hue, this wine has a dusty minerality in the nose, with whiffs of smoky oak, pencil shavings, coffee, blackberry and currant. In the mouth, the fruit impressions are both ample and balanced, and the medium-grained tannins suggest that the wine could evolve in the bot ...