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Betz Family Domaine de Pierres Syrah 2016

With our long history of making single site syrah's in Washington, it made sense for us to venture into the Rocks District of Milton Freewater in the Walla Walla Valley to bring you our newest syrah, "Domaine de Pierres."

The Rocks AVA produces syrah that shows a distinct character, separating it from any other site in Washington State. One thing in particular that has drawn people here is the gallet stones present throughout the valley. They are very similar to the pudding stones that are found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and can be anywhere from golf ball size, to softball size or larger. Since we purchased the vineyard in 2014 we have been tilling the earth multiple times every season to expose these rocks. The gallet stones act like a heat sink, giving a little extra push to help ripen syrah in an area with marginal heat accumulation. 

In the glass, Domaine de Pierres stands out from our other syrah's because of its incredibly savory profile. Notes of roasted meat, fresh herbs, olive tapenade, tobacco and graphite are supported by dark fruit, espresso, and lavendar. The wine has a lower acidity and higher PH than our other wines, which contributes to a velvety, full bodied mouthfeel. Even in the cellar, we immediately noticed a difference in the color, aromatics and flavor that these syrah grapes were able to express. 

The other big reason that we are so excited about the wine from this particular AVA, is that the history of the Rocks is happening right now! Our vineyard, “Ancient Stones,” has only been planted there since 2007, and the beginning of the Rocks as a wine growing region only really started in the 1990's. There is a lot of energy and exploration going on, and it has been a fun experience for our team to be a part of it.  We still have so much to learn about this region and it is very exciting to feel like we are on the upward swing!

Review:

"This has strident peppery notes with a layer of sappy whole-cluster fragrances and complexity as well as fresh charcuterie meats, smoky notes and graphite. Red plums and blackberries lurk beneath. The palate has deep chocolate and cherry fruits. Very suave, supple tannins carry dark plums, dark chocolate and energetic freshness to the finish. Give this 2-3 years to integrate."
- James Suckling (2018), 95 pts

 95 Points
Betz Family La Cote Rousse Syrah 2014

Sweet, savory aromas lead the way, sort of a mineral-laden black fruit---dark berries and plums. Smoke, dried herbs, violet, meat, wet stones and a hint of ironstone complete the package. It penetrates yet is a broad fragrant expression. I've always felt the aromatic range of this wine has its foundation in the four clones we use.

The black fruits continue on the palate, with black cherry, dark plum and spices echoing the aroma. While it's rich, almost luxurious, there's a tannic foundation and a structured acidity. Floral and earthy, the dried herbs and stones emerge here too, along with tobacco, thyme and lavender. This is a food-lover's Syrah, with weight, brightness and dimension.

(Clones 174, 383, 99 and Phelps) Vineyards: Ciel du Cheval Ranch at the End of the Road Classic Red Mountain character defines the Syrah La Côte Rousse, despite being the product of a cooler vintage. The warm site vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road accumulated more heat than our other sites and ripened the four Syrah clones to a greater extent; we’ve never seen Red Mountain deliver less than full physiological maturity, every vintage. Nevertheless this vintage retains a vibrancy and energy that isn’t often found on Red Mountain.

 


Review:

From the hot, windswept slopes of Red Mountain, the 2014 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a serious, tight, backwards effort that won’t be for those looking for instant gratification. Possessing classic Red Mountain red and black fruits, dried earth, pepper, dried spice and black olive characteristics, it’s full-bodied, beautifully textured, has flat out awesome purity and impeccable balance. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following decade or so.

While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines. 96 Points Wine Advocate

 Wine Advocate: 96
Betz Family La Cote Rousse Syrah 2015

Sweet, savory aromas lead the way, sort of a mineral-laden black fruit---dark berries and plums. Smoke, dried herbs, violet, meat, wet stones and a hint of ironstone complete the package. It penetrates yet is a broad fragrant expression. I've always felt the aromatic range of this wine has its foundation in the four clones we use.

The black fruits continue on the palate, with black cherry, dark plum and spices echoing the aroma. While it's rich, almost luxurious, there's a tannic foundation and a structured acidity. Floral and earthy, the dried herbs and stones emerge here too, along with tobacco, thyme and lavender. This is a food-lover's Syrah, with weight, brightness and dimension.

(Clones 174, 383, 99 and Phelps) Vineyards: Ciel du Cheval Ranch at the End of the Road Classic Red Mountain character defines the Syrah La Côte Rousse, despite being the product of a cooler vintage. The warm site vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road accumulated more heat than our other sites and ripened the four Syrah clones to a greater extent; we’ve never seen Red Mountain deliver less than full physiological maturity, every vintage. Nevertheless this vintage retains a vibrancy and energy that isn’t often found on Red Mountain.

Review:

The 2015 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a blockbuster Syrah from Red Mountain that’s from the Ranch at the End of The Road and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. It’s a mix of four different clones and is brought up in barrel. This deep, inky, seriously black Syrah gives up Hermitage-like notes of scorched earth, charred meats, graphite and licorice. It’s a big, concentrated effort that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and keep through 2035. Robert Parker 96 Points

 


 Wine Advocate: 96
Betz Family La Cote Rousse Syrah 2016

Sweet, savory aromas lead the way, sort of a mineral-laden black fruit---dark berries and plums. Smoke, dried herbs, violet, meat, wet stones and a hint of ironstone complete the package. It penetrates yet is a broad fragrant expression. I've always felt the aromatic range of this wine has its foundation in the four clones we use.

The black fruits continue on the palate, with black cherry, dark plum and spices echoing the aroma. While it's rich, almost luxurious, there's a tannic foundation and a structured acidity. Floral and earthy, the dried herbs and stones emerge here too, along with tobacco, thyme and lavender. This is a food-lover's Syrah, with weight, brightness and dimension.

(Clones 174, 383, 99 and Phelps) Vineyards: Ciel du Cheval Ranch at the End of the Road Classic Red Mountain character defines the Syrah La Côte Rousse, despite being the product of a cooler vintage. The warm site vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road accumulated more heat than our other sites and ripened the four Syrah clones to a greater extent; we’ve never seen Red Mountain deliver less than full physiological maturity, every vintage. Nevertheless this vintage retains a vibrancy and energy that isn’t often found on Red Mountain.

Review:

"The 2016 Syrah La Cote Rousse is built around clone 99, all from Red Mountain, that saw 45% whole clusters in the fermentation. This cuvee, which is also moving more and more toward Ciel du Cheval, is 88% from this terrific site. It’s another inky purple colored red with a beautiful bouquet of black raspberries, toasted spice, dried herbs, and mineral aromas and flavors. This full-bodied, ripe, layered Syrah needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for 15+ years." 95+ pts - Jeb Dunnuck

"The 2016 Syrah La Côte Rousse reveals notes of purple flowers, crunchy dark berry fruit and cracked pepper, followed by a medium-bodied, youthfully chewy but fine-grained palate that's bright and chalky. Taut and concentrated, it will require—and reward—some patience." 94+ - Robert Parkers Wine Advocate

"So much spice and mineral aromas here with hints of cloves and white pepper. Full body, ink and dark fruit and some black olives. A solid and chewy syrah with so much strength yet form." 94 pts - James Suckling

 


 Wine Advocate: 94 95 Points
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah 2014

Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah

La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.

An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.

2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.


Review:

 "The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"

- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts

 Wine Advocate: 93
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah 2015

Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah

La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2015 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.

An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.


Review:


"This has terrific plum and boysenberry aromas with attractive wet earth and deep plums, violets, hard brown spices and dark stones. The palate has bright yet precise dark-plum and blackberry fruits, spiced dark chocolate, stony elements and a long, succulent finish. Brilliant wine in a very early stage of its life. Drink 2020 through a decade or more."
- James Suckling (December 2018), 96 pts - #88 - TOP 100 AMERICAN WINES OF 2018


 Wine Advocate: 94 96 Points
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah 2016

Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah

La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.

An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.


Review:

"The 2016 Syrah La Serenne saw plenty of whole clusters as well as 11 months in French oak, 40% new. It’s deep inky colored with a smoking bouquet of blueberries, spring flowers, gunpowder like minerality, and liquid violets. With classic gamey Syrah character, plenty of pepper, medium to full-bodied richness, and a heavenly, silky texture, this might just be the finest vintage of this cuvée to date." 96 pts - Jeb Dunnuck

"The 2016 Syrah La Serenne hails from two acres within the Boushey Vineyard and was fermented with between 66% and 100% whole clusters. The wine is already very complex, wafting from the glass with notes of grilled meat, dried lavender, pepper and candied peel. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and lavish, with a layered mid-palate, fine-grained structuring tannins, sappy acids and a sapid, saline finish." 95 pts - Robert Parker

"Dark, brooding and modern, this has pepper, cherry liqueur and chocolate plus exotic spicy flavors that extend through to the palate. Assertive, forthright finish." 95 pts - James Suckling


 Wine Advocate: 95 96 Points
Betz Family Pere de Famille 2015

Winery SALE! 

Betz Family Pere de Famille is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, and 4% Merlot

This initial question raised by this vintage of Pere de Famille is how this wine, with such a depth of color, aromatic complexity and balance of the Old World. The answer isn’t precise, but is a reflection of a remarkable Columbia Valley vintage, plus small changes in maturation and the varietal concentration of the final blend. Its inky purple color, muscular structure and plush texture all point to its New World origins. But the aromas of pure, layered black fruits, graphite, crushed rock and lavender (think St. Julien?) lead me back to the Old World. The 2012 Père de Famille has the highest level (90%) of Cabernet Sauvignon that we’ve ever used in this wine. Add to that the high concentration of Red Mountain grapes (84%), deep and structured, and it yields a wine as generous as any Cabernet we’ve made. It showed such density in barrel that we added three months barrel aging to resolve the tannins and body. It’s weighty and yet balanced, fleshy yet fine grained, powerful yet polished. And unabashedly Cabernet Sauvignon, with its black currants, anise/thyme, savory mouth feel and dusty finish. Its dimension and precision indicate long aging ability, but you might be tempted far earlier.

Review:

The 2015 Père de Famille is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, and 4% Merlot that's mostly from Red Mountain aged 20 months in 70% new French oak. This inky colored effort is packed and stacked, with deep blackberry and currant fruits intermixed with lots of graphite, crushed rock, and minerals as well as smoky, violets aromas and flavors. This full-bodied beauty has gorgeous purity and elegance. It needs 2-4 years of bottle age and will keep for two decades. -Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points


A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille exhibits complex aromas of pencil lead, inky dark fruit, wild blueberries, black truffle, incense and anise. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and very concentrated, with a deep core of sappy fruit, rich structuring tannins and a long, penetrating finish. This will need some time in the cellar, but it's very complete and full of promise. -Robert Parker 96 Points
 Wine Advocate: 96 97 Points
Black Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

The Black Oak Cabernet Sauvignon is garnet red in color, refreshing and inviting to the palate. The wine’s aromas are layered with rich plum notes and a warm cedar component. The ripe, dark cherry flavors, are reminiscent of decadent blackberries with a nice sprinkling of dried herbs. With a mellow tannin structure, this medium-bodied wine is delicious and well-integrated.

Black Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

The Black Oak Cabernet Sauvignon is garnet red in color, refreshing and inviting to the palate. The wine’s aromas are layered with rich plum notes and a warm cedar component. The ripe, dark cherry flavors, are reminiscent of decadent blackberries with a nice sprinkling of dried herbs. With a mellow tannin structure, this medium-bodied wine is delicious and well-integrated.

Black Oak Pinot Noir 2016

The Black Oak Pinot Noir is a glowing example of what they do best in Puglia, make great wine. Deep ruby in color with a lovely bouquet of sweet spices, even a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. The flavors are flowing with ripe black cherry. This medium-bodied wine with its fresh acidity will complement many meal selections.

Boich Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Boich Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

22 months in French Oak- Taransaud and Darnajou

Thick, dense and expansive, the Missouri Hopper shows dark fig and cassis preserves, dried cherry and strawberry. Clone 337 from this historic site in southeast Oakville, a touch of molasses and stick spices linger throughout. Despite its saturation and size on the palate, the flavors roll perfectly together through a long and inky finish. This wine has the ability to taste great upon release and cellar well beyond while building complexity and nuance.

Vintage Notes – The fifth consecutively exceptional year for Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 growing season brought early bud break and spring rain. Temperate summer conditions allowed the fruit much needed time to naturally mature on the vine. A near perfect vintage, most vineyards saw slightly lower than average yields, but this coveted crop shows tremendous quality.

Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper – One of Napa Valley’s oldest vineyards, Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper yields ripe fruit full of balance and power. Perfectly trellised vines soak up morning fog from the San Pablo Bay, while the robust foliage of the vines protect growing clusters from summer heat.

Oakville AVA – Lying along the valley floor, Napa Valley’s Oakville AVA brings the best of climate, soil and topography to wine growing. Beyond terroir, Oakville is lined with family-owned vineyards, meticulous farmers and winemakers. Fertile soils promote world-class grape growing conditions, while warm summers and dry, cool autumns are perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Review:

From another great site farmed by the famous Beckstoffer, this is grainy, textured and robustly ripe. Powerfully built to age and impress, it offers a wealth of lush, layered blue fruit and black licorice, as well as impressive structure. Enjoy 2026–2031. -Wine Enthusiast 94 Points

 Wine Enthusiast: 94
Boich Wall Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Boich Wall Road Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pure dark fruits, plum preserves and dried blueberry notes are knit together with ribbons of crushed mineral and floral undertones, the palate is mouth coating and highlighted by ripe tannins and dense dark fruit and mineral notes. A long finish with wisps of pipe tobacco finish this exotic and expressive mountain Cabernet. Two hundred and twenty cases produced.

Vintage Notes – Marked by California’s ongoing drought, the 2014 vintage was notably early, garnering fruit with intense flavor. While vineyards throughout the valley reported pick dates up to three weeks ahead of schedule, moderate summer temperatures allowed grapes to ripen to perfection with outstanding quality and structure. Aromatic, luscious and fruit-forward, the wines of 2014 are proving ideal.

Wall Road Vineyard – This three-acre gem is located at the northern tip of the Mount Veeder AVA, due west of Oakville and the To Kalon vineyard. True to the Veeder AVA, this site delivers both the power and elegance we strive to achieve in our Mountain Cabernets. The elevation, slope orientation and well-drained soils yield fully ripened small berries with concentrated flavor.

Mount Veeder AVA – Known for its acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, this illustrious appellation produces graceful, expressive and world-renowned wine. Limited by nature, Mount Veeder’s rugged mountain terrain, high elevation and cooling influence from the San Pablo Bay allows for a long growing season that returns low, sought after yields. This results in powerful fruit with distinct berry flavors.

Review:

This is a thick, layered and leathery wine, with ample spice and complexity. Cinnamon, toast, clove, red currant and black cherry tones highlight a full-bodied robust experience of impressive integration and tamed tannins.  -Wine Enthusiast 94 Points

 Wine Enthusiast: 94
Boich Wall Road Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Pure, powerful and polished, the Wall Road shows immense aromas of black currant, blueberry, blackberry preserves and hints of sweet dark herbs. The palate is fully developed and well-structured with firm yet ripe tannins and layers of dried red fruits and currants. There is a forest and sweet herb quality that hints at the signature terroir of this Mountain gem. The finish is long and lingering and lifts the layers of fruit on the palate perfectly.

Vintage Notes – An unseasonably warm start to 2015 brought early bud break and bloom for Napa Valley. Vines began to show fatigue as they entered their fourth year of drought, resulting in lower crop yields than years prior. Unexpected heat meant an early harvest for the valley, one of the earliest on record. Ripened fruit proved to be of tremendous quality, while Cabernets are deep and decadent in color with great balance in tannin.

Wall Road Vineyard – This three-acre gem is located at the northern tip of the Mount Veeder AVA, due west of Oakville and the To Kalon vineyard. True to the Veeder AVA, this site delivers both the power and elegance we strive to achieve in our Mountain Cabernets. The elevation, slope orientation and well-drained soils yield fully ripened small berries with concentrated flavor.

Mount Veeder AVA – Known for its acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, this illustrious appellation produces graceful, expressive and world-renowned wine. Limited by nature, Mount Veeder’s rugged mountain terrain, high elevation and cooling influence from the San Pablo Bay allows for a long growing season that returns low, sought after yields. This results in powerful fruit with distinct berry flavors.

Review:

"This is some very serious stuff. Aromas of tar, vanilla and cloves. But the fruit is delicious with notes of boysenberries, blackcurrants, oranges, lavender, herbs and baking spices. The palate's rich and warming but also calm and composed. Layers of blue fruit, ripe yet integrated tannins, a fine line of acidity and a long finish. The broader style remains so elegant. Drink in 2022."
- James Suckling (May 2018), 95 pts

 95 Points
Bonny Doon Clos de Gilroy 2018

Bonny Doon Clos de Gilroy is made from 88% Grenache and 12% Mourvedre.

For a long time Randall Grahm went to bed aïoli, clovèd in nothing but the barest essential oils. The Wine Formerly Known as Clos de Gilroy (TWFKaCdG) pays homage to the quaint, rustic town of Gilroy, the spiritual locus of all matters alliaceous. However, note well, the fruit for this wine does not, despite its name, derive from Gilroy, but instead primarily from the vivaciously scented Alta Loma vineyard in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County, accompanied by equally expressive Grenache from Rancho Solo, located just outside the wind-swept, tumble-weeded town of Soledad. (Il faut souffrir.) Grenache is really the star of the show, and it exhibits all the hallmarks of exceptional coolth—bright raspberries, red fruit, esp. black currant, with a strong suggestion of black pepper and mint, a whiff of dark earth, and a supple, lingering finish.

Bonny Doon Vineyard aims for weapons-grade fruit from their sundry Grenache vineyards, with the intent of producing killer Cigare, but sometimes they end up Clos (but no Cigare). A somewhat more elegant Clos de Gilroy than one has typically seen in years past, this wine has the elegance of a Proustian madeleine, and supports the notion that Grenache is the stylistic analogue (writ South) of Burgundian Pinot noir. This wine is exceptionally spicy, peppery and perfumed, and pairs exceptionally well with a range of dishes, not the least being peppered ahi tuna steak. Best served with a slight chill, especially as the weather warms up.

Bonny Doon Vineyard’s winemaking practice is exceptionally light-handed, with minimal intervention and manipulation. The 2017 Clos de Gilroy was created from grapes deriving from three cool climate Monterey County vineyards as well as one warmer (but older and wiser) side in Contra Costa. The fruit was hand-sorted, gently destemmed, and cold soaked to enhance flavor and persistence.

Varietal Blend: 88% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre.
Vineyards: 34% Alta Loma, 39% Rancho Solo, 15% Ventana, 12% Del Barba
Appellation: Monterey County
Alcohol by Volume: 13.6%
TA: 5.5 g/L
pH: 3.72
Production: 2,425 cases
Serving Temperature: 53-55º F
Optimal Drinkability: Drinkable upon release, 5+ years ageability

Pairs exceptionally well with a range of dishes, not the least being peppered ahi tuna steak. Best served with a slight chill, especially as the weather warms up.


Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Cuvee Oumuamua 2018

Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Cuvee Oumuamua  is made from 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 13% Syrah.

As our story unfolds, we learn that with the 2018 vintage, there has been a fundamental change in the style of Le Cigare Volant. Not that there was anything at all “wrong” with the thirty-four vintages preceding the current one, mind you. For a number of reasons, mostly, alas, drearily fiscal/economical, the older style of Cigare has unfortunately proven to be a not particularly sustainable proposition at least from a financial perspective. The “new” Cigare, with a re-adjustment of the encépagement, by which we have dropped Mourvèdre from the mix and elevated the percentage of the (greatly underappreciated) and quite brilliant variety, Cinsault, creates a style of wine far more approachable and seductive in its youth.


“Cuvée Oumuamua?”
We call this cuvée, “Oumuamua,” (or “scout” in Hawaiian), so named in light of the recent mysterious cigar-shaped object/visitor to our solar system, initially imagined to be some sort of asteroid, but believed by none other than the chairman of the Astronomy Dept. at Harvard University to possibly be a sort of probe, perhaps a solar-powered light-sail, sent on a kind of reconnaissance mission to check us out. (Ok, this last part is a bit of interpolation.) Anyhoo, it has been agreed that this was a very, very strange object that recently came to visit. And it appears that it may have arrived in the very nick of time, to bring a sort of much-needed revitalization to our planet, and by metaphoric extension, to the Cigare brand itself.


TASTING NOTES
 The color is a deep, vivid violet-red, owing in part to the lower pH of the wine. On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch nose (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruit (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. My colleague, Nicole Walsh and I toil away at the Cigare blend every year, and while the blend will change (sometimes radically, as it has this year), we share an idea of the Platonic form of Cigare, and the ‘17 certainly embodies that form. It goes something like this: Juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness. I realize I’m not speaking orthodox wine parlance. We look above all for balance and for liveliness, for vinous qi. This wine is still incredibly young and just wants to jump out of its shoes.


INEYARD | PRODUCTION NOTES
The Alta Loma Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County, was planted years back to one of the earlier selections of Tablas Creek Grenache clones, typically not a great selection for imparting real backbone or structure to the wine, but capable of making a wine that is enormously pretty and fragrant; in cool years, the fragrance of cassis or black currant is almost overpowering; most surprisingly, the Grenache in cool years from this vineyard is profoundly black in color. The Cinsault was sourced from the Loma del Rio Vineyard, a vineyard, under a previous nom de guerre (San Bernabe), we know quite well. This was the first year of production for the Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that we were able to coferment the Cinsault with Syrah from the equally cool Mesa Verde Vyd. in the Santa Ynez Valley. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color, and in general, insures that the blend will not evanesce tout de suite into the aetherial plane. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault.


Appellation: Monterey County
Vineyards: 48% Alta Loma, 35% Loma Del Rio, 6% Mesa Verde, 6% Zayante, 4% Rancho Solo 1% Lieff
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
TA: 6.1 g/L
pH: 3.62
Production: 11,500 cases
Cellaring: Drinkable upon release (6/19) with ageability of 7-10 years



Bonny Doon Old Telegram Mourvedre 2018

Bonny Doon Old Telegram Mourvedre is made from 100 percent 100% Mourvedre.

Like the Rhone classic, it is produced from grapes which the label identifies as Mataro, an alias under which thick-skinned, late-ripening Mourvedre sometimes goes. From the nose, one scents licorice, blood(!) (make that very rare meat), blackberries (both berry and leaf), wet earth. There is a definite scent of beef bouillon, one of the absolute true signifiers of (proper) Mourvèdre. On the palate, the tannins are very plush and soft, almost a sense of sweetness (emphatically no R.S. in this), but with a really vibrant acidity and very great length. We somehow skirted the peril of over- ripeness and raisination, which is always a bit of a peril in the sunny climes of Antioch, CA. The wine is rich but also quite elegant at the same time.

Pairs with Wine-braised lamb shanks with herbes de Provence. Enoki mushroom tempura with soy-based dipping sauce. Hoisin-marinated chicken breasts served with wild & brown rice medley. Wild mushroom & thyme pizza. Pork shoulder. Beef short ribs.

Boxwood Estate Reserve Red 2015

A powerful red wine representing the best of the vintage. Blend: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

Boxwood Estate Topiary 2016

Boxwood Estate Topiary is made from 71% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot.


The Topiary is a dark garnet color. A delicate floral nose of violet and lilac lingers through to the palate, blooming into plush dark flavors of blueberry, blackberry and plum. A strong fruit character leads into woody tannin and subtle hints of graphite, challenging the norms of Merlot-based Bordeaux blends with its lively fruitiness and a lengthy and full-bodied finish.

Hand harvested, triple sorted, destemmed, gravity fed into open-top stainless steel fermenters
• 15% bleed, whole berry fermentation separate by varietal
• Pump over, 100% manual punch down, 8 day fermentation 14 day post fermentation maceration
• Pumped into barrel, free run separated from press wine (1st press only)
• Malolactic fermentation in barrel
• Aging in French oak barrels for 12 months, 33% new / 33% 1 year / 33% 2 year
Review:

"A ripe and polished Bordeaux blend showing ripe redcurrants and blackberries, plus savory and herbal notes. At once creamy and dry with a long, even finish. A blend of 71 per cent merlot, 23 per cent cabernet franc and six per cent petit verdot. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (October 2018), 91 pts

 91 Points
Boxwood Estate Trellis 2016

Boxwood Estate Trellis is made from 73% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

The  Trellis has a bright cherry color. The nose is expressive with aromas of red cherry, raspberry, tobacco, and dried herbs. The pallet is balanced with medium acidity and a medium body. There is prominent raspberry and pomegranate on the pallet. Light dusty tannins fill out the finish of the wine.

Hand harvested, triple sorted, destemmed, gravity fed into open-top stainless steel fermenters
20% bleed, whole berry fermentation separate by varietal
Pump over, 100% manual punch down, 21 day total maceration
Pumped into barrel, free run separated from press wine (1st press only)
Malolactic fermentation in barrel

Aging in French oak barrels for 12 months, 12% new, 44% one year and 44% two year


Bressia Conjuro 2014

Bressia Conjuro 50% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot

Aged in 70% French oak (Taransaud, Mistral, and Radoux), and 30% American oak.

This wine is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the Tupungato Valley, Mendoza, at 1,100 meters above sea level.
Its elegant, expressive aromas prepare us to drink a full-bodied, broad wine, very elegant and with a long, unctuous finish that leaves us with a seductive, pleasurable sensation. This wine comes from high quality grapes grown in the Uco Valley and was aged for 18 months in new French and American oak barrels, then in bottle for 24 months

 



"Sourced from a single vineyard in Gualtallary, Conjuro is a cuvée of Malbec with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot that spends 18 months in new French and American oak. It’s a stylish, intense, spicy wine with deftly handled oak and layers of red cherry and blueberry fruit. 2019-26"

- Tim Atkin (Argentina Special Report 2018),94 pts


 94 Points
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