This one-hundred-percent Merlot has really nice, bright red fruit, rose petals, and a richness on the nose. Flavors of plum, mountain strawberry and mocha come together with a balanced mouth feel and a long finish. Though it was a cooler vintage, I feel we have still captured the powerfully elegant style for which we are known.
"The 2014 Columbia Valley Merlot (100% Merlot) is a ripe, black fruit, plum, leafy herbs and mineral-scented effort that has medium to full-bodied richness, moderate mid-palate depth and tons of upfront charm. It's going to drink nicely through 2024."
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #231, June 2017), 90 pts
"The aromas bring notes of dried herb, vanilla bean, wood spice and black cherry. The flavors are rich and luscious, supported by plump ripe tannins. The finish lingers."
- Wine Enthusiast (June 2017), 91 pts
Amaren Rioja Barrel Fermented Blanco is made from 85% Viura and 15% Malvasia
The demanding level that is set in Amaren requires that all the wines are produced in limited quantities. Vine plants are composed of small clusters which make perfect ripening possible with a high concentration of nuances. A wine with great aromatic intensity and elegance.
Color: Straw-yellow in color.
Nose: High aromatic intensity, blended nuances of syrup fruit and cake.
Palate: In the mouth it is smooth and round, with a high complexity of citric flavors (lemon peel), hints of pineapple, pipe tobacco and aromatic plants with a mineral and extremely elegant finish.
Grenache speaks loudly in the Bésoleil with notes of pomegranate, red raspberry, and strawberry leaf. The Counoise and Cinsualt bring bing cherry fruit and blueberry notes to the table, complicated by pepper and garrique. Mourvedre donates a wild meatiness to the blend, and a purple hue. Syrah rounds things out, adding texture, and flesh to the palate.
"Always an enjoyable, outstanding effort, the 2014 Grenache Besoleil offers classic notes of cherries, herbes de Provence, red plums and pepper in a fine, elegant, medium to full-bodied style. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 91 pts
Medium red. Sexy, high-toned red cherry and red berry aromas showcase the wine's Grenache component (but this vintage features the lowest percentage to date of this variety). Bright, ripe raspberry and cherry flavors are complicated by smoky and peppery nuances. A very graceful red blend with sweet tannins and excellent persistence.
-- Stephen Tanzer 91 Points
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
Yasa Blanco Calatayud 2014 is made from 100% old vines Macabeo (50 years of age or more) planted at an elevation up to 1,000 meters above sea level. This clean, crisp and fresh fruit-driven wine displays ripe tropical fruit aromas, rich flavors and a long lasting finish.
The Yasa Estate
Founded in 1954, Virgen de la Sierra is a grape growers co-op with 579 members, and 710 hectares (1,753 acres) of vines growing at 750 meters above sea level. The average age of the vines is close to 40 years. The principal grape variety is Garnacha (60%). Others include Macabeo or Viura (20%) and Tempranillo (16%), with the remaining 4% being a mix of experimental varieties: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
The Yasa Vineyards
The region's semi-arid climate and high altitude make for ideal growing conditions for quality Garnacha and Macabeo grapes. Hot dry summers, with a sharp shift in daytime to nighttime temperatures let grapes reach full ripeness, while maintaining good levels of acidity. The red iron-rich oils are rocky, with a mix of sand and gravel and a low amount of organic material. A thick clay subsoil helps retain moisture through the long dry summer months.
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.
Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc is made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc.
The Kasteelberg range of wines celebrates the discovery of the Riebeek Valley and the Kasteelberg mountains in 1661. Kasteelberg stands sentinel over the fertile valley below. From the slopes of the mountains, hand-selected grapes are expertly crafted with care to produce rare and expressive wines.
Limited release, single-vineyard Chenin Blanc from hand-selected grapes from the foothills of the majestic Kasteelberg Mountain, Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc embodies excellent craftsmanship that transforms the harsh Swartland terroir into the pinnacle of our winemakers’ art.
Together with the age-old tradition of Dry Land viticulture, it resulted in an elegant, aromatic and richly textured wine, with characteristics typical to Chenin Blanc grown under these conditions. Citrus, lemon zest, ripe apple and tropical flavors are only some of the flavors that charm the nose. The palate follows through with flavors of melon, a touch of spice and well-integrated wood for exceptional balance and a luxurious, lingering finish.
Once harvested, the grapes are hand-sorted, de-stemmed & crushed into temperature-controlled gravitational drainers. Only the free-run juice is chilled and settled overnight. The juice is then racked off into new, 300 L, oak barrels (50% French oak, 50% Hungarian oak) and wild yeast fermented in the barrels. Fermentation is temperature controlled and lasted around 22 days. The wine is then matured in the oak barrel on the gross lees for 12 months before being racked off, filtered and bottled. After bottling the wine is further bottle-matured for at least 6 months before release.
"This old-vine Chenin is made with fruit from a 1982 vineyard on the lower slopes of the Kasteelberg. Rich, leesy and slightly dominated by its 50% new wood, but this has the concentration and focus to age well in bottle. Honeyed, spicy intensity is complemented by racy, chiselled acidity. 2021-25"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Report), 91 pts