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.
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
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.
"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
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.
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
Finca Sobreno Ildefonso Toro is made from 100% Tinta de Toro
Very Old Vines (Minimum 80 years of age)
Aged in 100% new French Oak Barrels for 18 months + 12 months in the bottle
The wine is produced in very limited quantity from the estate's oldest vineyards (80 years old vines) and is fermented in 2,000-liter open-top fermentation vats. Our winemaker punches down the cap by hand three times a day using the traditional pigeage method to ensure optimal extraction.
The name of the wine is the surname of the San Ildefonso family, father Roberto and daughter Paloma, and represents the apex of their winemaking tradition.
Deep cherry color.
Very expressive, elegant and complex with ripe fruit, mineral notes, sweet spices, chocolate aromas and intense toasts.
Powerful, tasty, round and very smooth. We find again black berries, mineral notes, chocolates with roasted aromas. Very long after taste.
The soil is formed by sediments of sand, clay and limestone, which produce a dark lime-bearing topsoil, with fine and coarse sands.
This year we had low rain falls getting very healthy bunches. Besides, cool nights and not very hot days at the end of the cycle were excellent for a complete ripening of the grapes, full of nuances.
Winemaking and aging
The fruit is manually selected and picked in small cases. After destemming the grapes are stored in 2.000 liter open fermenter tanks and cold maceration at 8ºC during 8 days. Three times a day the cap of the skins is submerged manually (pigeage) and after the alcoholic fermentation is finished at a controlled temperature, the wine is macerated until the wine maker determines the appropriate extraction polyphenols. The malolactic fermentation is carried out in new French oak barrels. The wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 16 months, followed by another 12 months minimum in the bottle.
Ideal for red meats, lamb, roasted meat and strong cheeses
"The 2014 Finca Sobreño Ildefonso is a Tinta de Toro selection from 60-year-old vineyards fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in oak barrels for 18 months with rackings every six months. It's serious and combines power and elegance, it shows very good balance and freshness and fine-grained tannins. Great showing. 50,000 bottles were filled in May 2018. - Luis Gutierrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #238, August 31st 2018), 91 pts
"The tiny production 2014 Ildefonso Toro is also all Tempranillo that spent 16 months in new French oak followed by a year in bottle before being released. It has more black and blue fruits, with subtle violet and chocolate notes, medium to full body, a stacked mid-palate, and a big finish. It’s a rich, powerful wine that has loads to love. It too should easily keep for 10-15 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 91 pts
Laird Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet.
This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from three vineyards: Mast Ranch, for its earthy and robust structure, Flat Rock Ranch, for its fruit-forward characteristic and silky structure, and Linda Vista Ranch, for its juicy and vibrant approach-ability.
Tasting Notes: Opaque ruby color with a tinge of purple introduces developing aromas of blackberry jam, cranberry, and acacia flower. This medium-bodied red wine expresses flavors of ripe black plum, walnut, and cassis on the front of the palate, and is complemented by chewy tannins and juicy cherry on the finish.
Vineyard: 42% Mast Ranch + 35% Flat Rock Ranch + 23% Linda Vista Ranch
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
"A rich, unctuous wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is sweet, layered and enveloping in feel. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, cloves and new leather are all fused together. This is an especially intense, flamboyant expression of the vintage."
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (September 2016), 90 pts
"Aromas of blueberries, currants, spices and concrete. Medium to full body, firm and chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Needs time to soften but so pretty already. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (January 2017), 93 pts
As enticing on the approach as it is satisfying on the finish, Intrigue lives up to its name. Ripe, red fruit at first sip, with dark bing cherry, roasted coffee notes and succulent tannins washing over the palate. This is a full bodied wine that drinks nicely now, but promises even more for the future. A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot, aged for 22 months in 80% new French oak.
350 cases produced
Bottled unfiltered and unfined
Trespass Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are the result of a dedicated collaboration between husband and wife, Dana and Don Gallagher, a renowned winemaker and one small vineyard situated at the base of Spring Mountain in the Saint Helena Appellation (AVA) - Napa Valley.
Part of a select group of boutique California wineries, with only five acres of wine grapes that are divided between Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, our vineyard is a true labor of love, with virtually every aspect of vineyard management and wine making done by hand. This dedication has allowed us to handcraft wines that reflect the unique character and intensity of the terrior. The vineyard is located just off Madrona Avenue on the northwest side of St. Helena, adjacent to many other acclaimed Napa Valley vineyards.
The wine making is a team effort for the Gallagher's and is overseen by Kirk Venge, a second generation Napa Valley winemaker. His knowledge and experience has helped to guide the development of the wines into the elegant and refined vintages for which Trespass has become known.
Landes Cuvee Prestige Lussac Saint Emilion is made from 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc
Color: deep dark ruby intense color
Aroma: racy and aromatic nose with aromas of ripe red fruit, floral notes, wood and spice with a touch of vanilla.
Taste: this wine has a good structure and some powerful aromas of raspberries, blackcurrant, vanilla and it is powerful with a complex finish. The oak is present but not dominant. The tannins are quite well integrated already.
Average age of the Vines: 60 years Yield : 50 hectoliters / hectare. Grape picking: harvest by machine. Vats: Stainless steel thermoregulated and computerized. Fermentation: 45 to 50 days with a final 35°C warm steeping. Winemaking: Malolactic fermentation in new oak barrel. Ageing: 16 months in new French Oak barrels from Allier and Limousin. Annual production: 10,000 bottles. (833 cases)
"A selection of 100% Merlot aged 16 months in new French oak, the smaller production 2016 Chateau des Landes Cuvée Prestige is a solid step up from the Cuvée Tradition and offers medium to full-bodied richness as well as fabulous notes of crème de cassis, spice, tobacco, and subtle earthy characteristics. It has notable purity and freshness, fine tannins, and shows the style of the vintage beautifully. Drink it any time over the coming decade."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 27th 2019), 91+ pts
James Goddard was an ancestor of the Clarke family. Born in West Sussex, England in 1823, James spent his 74 years as a sailor, a whaler, a bullock driver, farmer, prospector, miner and hotel keeper. From an illiterate runaway living rough on the streets of London, he became a rich, successful and admired pillar of South Australian society.
James arrived in Adelaide in 1839 as a 16-year-old sailor. Twelve years later, his life changed forever with the news of gold findings. For the next 20 years, James roamed the country learning the geology that improved his chances of prospecting.
James Goddard Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz.
In 1870, he tried his luck near his farm in the Barossa Valley and discovered the region’s first gold deposits, creating the prosperous Lady Alice Mine. The Lady Alice Mine, though it is no longer operational, was & still is the most successful gold mine in South Australia. From these roots, the Thorn-Clarke family has been connected to the region for the last 150 years.
James Goddard Shiraz is a blend Shiraz sourced from the Milton Park vineyard in the north of Eden Valley, and the St Kitts vineyard in the far northern area of the Barossa. Fruit is harvested in the cool of the night to maintain maximum flavour and freshness and it is fermented for 8 days. The ferment is pumped over twice daily to extract the colour and flavour from the fruit. Once finished fermentation the wine was then matured in a blend of French and American oak for a period of 10 to 12 months depending on the vintage.
Deep vibrant red with purple hues to the rim. The nose shows lifted plums, vibrant purple berries and a delicate spice note. The palate has concentrated satsuma plum, blackberry with lovely charry oak in the background. Long, juicy and even with plush fruit on the finish.
“Blended from two estate vineyards, St. Kitts and Milton Park, this shiraz offers its richness without any aggression or overt perfume. It’s just lush and delicious, a friendly embrace of firm tannins and purple-red fruit. The texture and flavor combine in a saturated meatiness, for Korean barbecue.”
- Wine & Spirits Magazine, 92 points
Thorn Clarke Shotfire Shiraz is made from 100% Shiraz.
Striking deep red-purple in color. A rich, voluptuous wine with aromas of blackcurrant and mulberries accompanied by notes of smokey oak and hints of cloves. The palate is filled with dark fruits and chocolate backed up by taut tannins and lingering oak.
"Destemmed, pressed approximately 7 days later, 14 months in American oak (40% new). Rich, layered, mocha/chocolate overtones to the black berry fruits are obvious."
- Halliday Wine Companion (August 2020), 92 pts
When the Clarke forebearers discovered gold in 1870 at the Lady Alice mine in the Barossa goldfields, so began a family dynasty intrigued by geology. A fine legacy that is reflected today in the terroir of our vineyards. The Shotfire range immortalizes the Shotfirer's hazardous job of setting and lighting the charges in the mines.
Fran shares his story on how he discovered Thorn-Clarke:
"It was October 2001 and I was searching for and sourcing for Australian wines, as it was clear that Australia was going to become the "next big thing." After tasting about 100 assorted wines, I decided I liked the style of Barossa, Shiraz best - chocolate, cherries, mint and eucalyptus - so I started focusing on Barossa growers (years later, Barossa Shiraz would develop its reputation as the Icon Shiraz for Australia).
Late on a Thursday afternoon, the carrier delivered a beat-up box of 12 bottles from Australia, 10 of which were leaking. The box was from a guy named Steve Machin, who had just left Hardy's and was beginning work with the Clarke family on setting up a possible new brand. The samples were sticky and messy, but I popped the corks anyway ..... and I was glad that I did. The wine inside tasted like Christmas - mint, eucalyptus, camphor, and evergreen aromas. Great acidity, color, flavor and length of finish - very tasty. These samples were so good and so exciting, especially compared to what I had tasted prior, that I immediately called the number on the card. I didn't realize that it was a Perth number (Western Australia) and it was actually 3:00 in the morning. It turned out I was calling the residence of David and Cheryl Clarke, where a sleepy Cheryl answered the phone. I told her, you don't know who I am, but we are going to be doing business together very soon, and lots of it! After a few months of talking, faxing (yes, faxing) and sorting out the details, I began importing their wines.
That super-star wine from the busted box of samples is the wine we know today as Shotfire Shiraz. It was originally called Stone Jar, but fortunately we came up with a better name. Many years and vintages later, I'm still glad to be importing Shotfire Shiraz and other Thorn-Clarke selections .... and I'm still glad that Cheryl Clarke woke up for that phone call."
Philippe Milan Pommard AOC is 100% Pinot Noir
This wine has been aged in Oak (25% new Oak)
This is a little more structured and the style goes more toward the "vin de garde", or wines meant to age. This wine needs some food, or sometime in the decanter right now. It is well structured and reminds me of a Volnay. As a matter of fact, the parcel is located right next to Volnay. The finish is long and still quite juicy with chewy tannins lingering.
Fresh with an intense fruity character. Very mineral wine with notes of apple, plums, peach, combined with a still dominant citric profile. Magnificent volume with an elegant and delicious unctuousness. Fantastic finish, long and aromatic. Very good balance between acidity and dryness/sweetness although the wine almost doesn’t have residual sugar.
Alcohol content: 12.5 % Vol.
Total Acidity: 6 g/L tartaric acid
Volatile Acidity: 0,36 g/L acetic acid
Average age of the vines is 20 years old, all planted on alluvium (stream deposit) consisting in gravelly and sandy soils.
Grapes were transported to the winery immediately after the harvest in small size boxes. They were smoothly pressed before fermentation in stainless-steel tanks, with temperature control. Selected yeasts were added for the fermentation.
Fish and seafood are strongly associated to the white wine consumption. With Reguengo de Melgaço Alvarinho wines it’s not different. They usually make wonderful pairings with fish and seafood main courses.
However, other pairings are also recommended.
Salads, fruit, white meats, are also great companions for Reguengo de Melgaço Alvarinhos. The volume, attack and intense flavour of these wines allow even more unconventional pairings for white wine, such as heavier meat plates.
"The 2015 Alvarinho is dry and comes in at 13% alcohol. This is nicely structured, but it is most impressive for its expressive fruit. Ripe and delicious, with a solid mid-palate and crispness on the edges, this is a beautifully crafted Alvarinho. It should hold for several years, but it is hard to resist now. - Mark Squires"
- eRobertParker (Issue #225, June 2016), 90 pts