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2010 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc

2010 was the first vintage of Tablas Creek’s Patelin de Tablas line. It is intended to offer fresh tasting, ready-to-drink wines of very high quality with a retail prices of just $20. I was impressed by the wines when I first tasted them in November of last year and realized today that I’ve not written about them.

The Patelin de Tablas wines differ from Tablas Creek’s other bottlings in that the Patelin are not made exclusively from estate fruit. In the 2010 Patelin de Tablas Blanc for example, a total of five vineyards were used with 16% of the fruit being Tablas Creek estate. The 2011 (just released) includes grapes from eleven vineyards. [The 2011 vintage was a brutal one for Paso Robles Viognier yields. A late frost destroyed almost the entire crop for many growers, hence the need for so many sources for the new Patelin de Tablas Blanc.]

I revisited the 2010 Patelin de Tablas Blanc yesterday. The color is still lemon-green and the aromas fresh. I smelled lemon zest, ripe green apple, white flowers and chalk. The wine is supple and medium-bodied with acidity that is food-friendly but still suitable for by-the-glass drinking on it’s own. Flavors were similar to the nose with ripe green apple, citrus rind, a subtle hint of tropical fruit and chalky minerality. The finish is medium-plus in length and lightly mouth-watering with persistent minerality. Recommended+.

This wine is no longer available from Tablas Creek directly but is still available from some retailers. I have not yet tried the 2011. I plan to do so in two weeks. However, if you see some it at retail, I think you can buy it with confidence.

2010 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc
PatelinBlanc2010_size_1Rating: Recommended+
Drink: Now through 2013
Bottling Date: February, 2011
Closure: Screwtop
Production: 2,700 cases
Retail Price: $20.00

Winemaker: Neil Collins
Blend: 50% Grenache Blanc, 33% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, 7% Marsanne
Origin: Paso Robles AVA - Edward Sellers Vineyard 30%, Chequera Vineyard 29%, Tablas Creek Vineyard 16%, Catherine’s Vineyard 13%, Dawson’s Creek Vineyard 12%
Fermentation: Whole cluster press, fermented in stainless steel with native yeast

Aging: None Alcohol: 13.5%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not required
Temperature: 48º - 52º F

Food Pairing: White fish or scallops with fresh herbs

The wine above was purchased for review.

If you like Rhone-variety wines, don’t miss the upcoming Hospice du Rhone on April 27 & 28: Looking Forward to Hospice du Rhone 2012

For more about HdR, take a look at these articles too:
Interview: John Alban on the 1st Hospice du Rhone and the State of Rhone Variety Wines in 1993
Interview: John Alban on the Evolution of Hospice du Rhone and the Market for Rhone Variety Wines
Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day One
Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day Two

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Syrah Napa Valley

Cornerstone’s Stepping Stone label is intended to offer wines that are ready to drink upon release but don't compromise regional and varietal typicity. The 2009 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Syrah does exactly that. The wine includes Grenache (10%) from Red Hills but is really a showcase for Carneros AVA Syrah. Those grapes come from a north-facing slope with shallow soils of clay and volcanic rock in the respected Truchard Vineyard. The facing adds emphasis to the already cool-climate of Carneros, Napa Valley’s chilliest AVA.

The Carneros AVA is the coolest in Napa Valley. Morning fog creeps in from San Pablo Bay, blanketing vineyards. In the late afternoon, cold winds rush across the water bringing grape temperatures down, occasionally even curtailing development of sugars for the day. Farther north, some growers drop fruit to maximize ripeness. In Carneros dropping fruit is often necessary to reach the minimum level of acceptable ripeness. That said, Carneros is not as frigid as some areas of the Sonoma Coast so, while this wine bears the obvious hallmarks of cool-climate Syrah, there is also richness to the fruit and the tannins are fully ripe.

The 2009 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Syrah has medium-plus intensity of color with a ruby-purple hue. It offers aromas of black and white pepper, blackberry, purple flowers and a suggestion of meaty smoke. Flavors match the scents but feature more focused fruit and somewhat less pepper. The palate is silky with medium-plus body and very fine, powdery tannins of moderate intensity. There is excellent balance between tannins, fruit, alcohol and acidity — the latter being sufficient to provide a slightly juicy finish. Highly Recommended.

2009 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Syrah Napa Valley
09_Stepping_Stone_Syrah_photoRating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2016
Bottling Date: June 2, 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 398 cases
Retail Price: $25.00

Winemaker: Jeff Keene
Blend: 90% Truchard Vineyard (Carneros AVA) Syrah, 10% Red Hills AVA (Lake County) Grenache
Origin: Napa Valley
Fermentation: Long (3 -4 weeks) and cool (~80 degrees) with gentle cap management

Aging: 18 months in French oak, 100% new

Alcohol: 14.25%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not required but give it 15 minutes of air in your glass
Temperature: 61º F
Food Pairing:  Try filet mignon or a braised lamb shank.

The wine above was received from the winery for review.

If you like Rhone-variety wines, don’t miss the upcoming Hospice du Rhone on April 27 & 28. For a taste of HdR, take a look at these articles too:
Looking Forward to Hospice du Rhone 2012
10 Big Wine Events to Look Forward to in Early 2012

Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day One
Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day Two

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

rhone rangers panel cool climate north facing slope at Truchard, even less sun, will drop fruit to compensate, shallow clay and volcanic rock, goal is to have a wine that drinks easily upon release foggy morning, windy afternoon, limited heat spikes lavender, violet, blackberry, black pepper due to area 09 consistent growing season, long Indian Summer, wind shuts the vines down, maintaining acidity long, cool 80 degrees fermentation for freshness and silky tannins, 3 -4 weeks, gentle cap management to not over-extract climate 18 mos barrel

2009 Fisher Vineyards Syrah Hidden Terrace Vineyard Sonoma County

Fisher Vineyards’ Hidden Terrace Vineyard is part of their Sonoma County estate which is located on Spring Mountain benchland off of St. Helena Road. The winery is a good half mile or so from the main road and this particular vineyard is “hidden” even farther back. However, if you visit the winery, you can’t help but see the steep and rounded hill on which Syrah is planted in widely-spaced terraces

Hidden-Terrace-Vineyard
The dome-shaped Hidden Terrace Vineyard at Fisher Vineyards in Sonoma County. The soil has an unusual volcanic composition.

terraces-at-Fisher
From the side, you can see the steepness that necessitates hand-farming despite the wide spacing.

view-from-Fisher-Hidden-Terrace
Turning left from that vantage point shows the vineyards altitude and clear, western exposure.

The 2009 Fisher Vineyards Syrah Hidden Terrace Vineyard has the spirit of a Northern Rhone red but it’s own, terroir-driven personality. The body is on the generous side of moderate, as are the ripe, pleasantly chalky tannins. There is briary blackberry on the nose and chewy black fruit on the palate. That aside, the wine is savory: black pepper, black olives, garrigue and dusty trail. The 2009 Fisher Syrah is very good now, but will be even better with a few years of bottle age. If you drink it now, decanting may unlock additional flavor but is certainly not required. This Syrah will be a versatile food wine, but goes down well on its own. Drink now through 2020. Highly Recommended.

2009 Fisher Vineyards Syrah Hidden Terrace Vineyard Sonoma County
2009-fisher-syrahRating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2020
Bottling Date: July, 2011

Closure: Cork
Production: 190 cases
Retail Price: $65, available direct through the mailing list

Winemaker: Whitney Fisher
Blend: 100% Syrah
Origin: Hidden Terrace Vineyard (estate), Sonoma County
Fermentation: whole berry fermentation in new French oak barrels and open top tanks, bottled unfiltered
Aging: 21 months on primary lees in French oak barrels, 50% new
Alcohol: 14.1%

The wine above was purchased for review.

If you like Rhone-variety wines, don’t miss the upcoming Hospice du Rhone on April 27 & 28. For a taste of HdR, take a look at these articles too:
Looking Forward to Hospice du Rhone 2012
10 Big Wine Events to Look Forward to in Early 2012

Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day One
Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day Two

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Photos by Fred Swan. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2009 Quivira Mourvedre Wine Creek Ranch Dry Creek Valley

Mourvedre is a very late ripening variety. In Dry Creek Valley, with its sun, warmth and relatively dry Autumns, the grapes can ripen fully in most years. It’s Mourvedre wines shows better balance between savory and sweet than is found in wines from many of its French growing regions. The 2009 Quivira Mourvedre is a fine example.

This wine is dark ruby in color and opens with aromas of leather, black pepper, savory spices, black cherry and black berry. The palate follows suit but emphasizes the dark fruit and non-pepper spice. With a little time breathing in the glass, and perhaps rising a degree or two in temperature, the leather and black pepper dissipate almost completely. Chocolate emerges in their place. The tannins also evolve. Out of the bottle they are very fine but grainy. Later, or with a bite of meat, they are pleasantly powdery and add depth to the wine’s body. The 2009 Quivira Mourvedre is a very good, modern Mourvedre focused on spice and fruit with hints of the grape’s wild background which make it interesting but don’t compromise approachability. Decanting is not required. Drink now through 2015. Try it with smoked duck breast. Highly Recommended.

2009 Quivira Mourvedre Wine Creek Ranch Dry Creek Valley
Screen_Shot_2012-04-09_at_12.33.03_PMRating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2015

Release Date: October, 2011
Closure: Cork
Production: 294 cases
Retail Price: $32.00

Winemaker: Hugh Chappelle
Blend: 88% Mourvedre, 12% Grenache
Origin: Dry Creek Valley
Fermentation: 100% destemmed (but not crushed), native yeast, small open-top fermenters
Aging: 18 months in French oak puncheons (500 liter) and foudres (600 gallon)

Alcohol: 14.3%

The wine above was received from the winery for review.

You may also enjoy this article:
I Want Mour(vedre)

If you like Rhone wines, don’t miss the upcoming Hospice du Rhone on April 27 & 28. For a taste of HdR, take a look at these articles too:
Looking Forward to Hospice du Rhone 2012
10 Big Wine Events to Look Forward to in Early 2012

Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day One
Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day Two

 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

2008 Von Holt Syrah Old Lakeville Vineyard Sonoma Coast

The Old Lakeville Vineyard, named for the highway that borders it, is subject to two major cooling influences. Morning fog creeps in from the San Pablo Bay just one mile to the south. In the evening, ocean breezes sweep across the vineyard, coming through the Petaluma Gap and over the bay. The Old Lakeville Vineyard and it’s neighbor across the street, the Griffin’s Lair Vineyard, are well-located for the growing of Syrah with leanings toward that of the Northern Rhone.

In keeping with the wines of that region, the 2008 Von Holt Syrah Old Lakeville is on the savory side. There are aromas of blueberry and blackberry in the ruby-purple wine, but they are the opposite of jammy and easily matched by notes of black pepper, leather, clove and allspice. Wood provides a subtle backdrop. The palate is medium-plus in body and flavor intensity with moderate, integrated tannins. The flavors are less spicy than the bouquet. There are blackberry and black licorice with undertones of dark chocolate. The finish is generous. No decanting is required. Highly Recommended.

2008 Von Holt Syrah Old Lakeville Vineyard Sonoma Coast
VonHoltOldLkSyrahFrontRating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2016
Bottling Date: August 24, 2010

Closure: Cork
Production: 75 cases
Retail Price: $30.00

Note: When I contacted Von Holt for fact checking, they let me know that the wine is available via the Von Holt online store and offered free shipping on this particular wine to my readers for one week from today. Note that I’m not compensated in any way for wine sales of any sort. Use discount code: NORCALWINE

Winemaker: John Fones
Blend: Syrah
Origin: Old Lakeville Vineyard (aka Fredrick Ranch Vineyard), Sonoma Coast
Harvest Date: September 27, 2008
Fermentation: 80% whole cluster with native yeast

Aging: 21 months in French oak barrels, 33% new

Alcohol: 14.3%

 

I have also reviewed the 2009 Von Holt Pinot Noir Suacci Vineyard.

If you like Rhone wines, don’t miss the upcoming Hospice du Rhone on April 27 & 28. For a taste of HdR, take a look at these articles:
10 Big Wine Events to Look Forward to in Early 2012

Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day One

Recap of Hospice du Rhone 2011 - Day Two

The wine above was provided for review.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.